Pizza Makers Could Get Big Slice of Super Bowl Pie

Pizza makers -- the big chains like Papa John's and Domino's and the local shops -- are gearing for this Sunday's Super Bowl.
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Pizza makers could be making some serious dough this Sunday, when pandemic-bound sports fans tune into the Super Bowl, analysts say.

Covid-19 has severely curtailed party plans this year. Health officials are encouraging fans to skip large gatherings and watch the premier sporting event from the comfort and safety of their homes.

Nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans have no party plans when the Kansas City Chiefs take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, up 23 percentage points from a year earlier, according to the National Retail Federation. Some 3% planning to watch the game will go to a bar or restaurant.

These homebound football fanatics will need to be fed -- and that means prodigious amounts of pizza and chicken wings.

Americans will spend $13.9 billion for Super Bowl Sunday, the federation said, and 77% of that money is going to food and beverages.

In response, pizza makers from mom-and-pop stores to national chains like Papa John's International  (PZZA) - Get Report, Pizza Hut  (YUM) - Get Report and Domino's Pizza  (DPZ) - Get Report, are gearing up to satisfy a hungry nation.

Verizon  (VZ) - Get Report says that a survey conducted by Morning Consult found that more than half the respondents plan to order food from a local small business or a restaurant chain, up 60% from last year.

“I can’t predict a lot with the pandemic. But I have a feeling that this could be one of the best Super Bowls by a long shot that we’ve ever had,” Tom Krouse, chief executive of Donatos Pizza, told Bloomberg. Donatos, founded 1963 and based in Columbus, Ohio, has more than 250 locations. 

Krouse said he expected same-store sales to jump 10% from last year’s Super Bowl Sunday.

“The Super Bowl is the biggest day for pizza historically; this year I would expect extremely strong viewership,” said Credit Suisse analyst Lauren Silberman. 

For pizza chains, “the pandemic meeting the couch will be a perfect storm.”

Domino’s said in a statement that it has prepared for the big game by “staffing up, ordering extra ingredients and practicing the art of precision pizza-making.” 

The chain said it usually sells about 2 million pizzas during the Super Bowl, about 30% more than on a normal Sunday. The company didn’t offer a prediction for this year’s sales.