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The college basketball tournament is coming. 67 games, 179,560 heart-wrenching, bracket-busting, Cinderella-storying minutes of action – and your restaurant can’t miss a single one. With over 10 million people tuning in for each basketball game in 2022 there are endless opportunities to score big this March.
Use these tips on how to grow your business, along with Grubhub, to conveniently offer the delicious food, tasty snacks, refreshing drinks and other essentials your hungry diners need to enjoy every minute of the mania.
How to capture more customers on game days
While the college basketball teams battle it out all month long, fans are eager to build their own brackets and follow their favorite teams to the end. The college basketball tournament tips off on March 14, and in the championship game on April 3. That means you have over 20 days to reach basketball fans and encourage them to include your restaurant in their game day strategy.
1. Offer game day deals
Promotions are the easiest way to bring the fans to your restaurant and a great way to encourage on-premise and off-premise dining. An irresistible deal could influence a diners’ game decision and motivate them to order from your restaurant, especially for those balling on a budget.
Is your restaurant listed on Grubhub Marketplace? With Marketplace, your restaurant can easily deploy mouthwatering promotions. You can offer a dollar off or a percentage off an order, or gift your customers with free delivery or a free menu item. You can also use promotions to encourage diner loyalty all tournament long. While diners are watching the game and enjoying delicious food, offer them a deal on their next delivery order to enjoy the next game.
Your game day deals can encourage in-person patronage as well.
Is your restaurant located near a college or university? College basketball is a perfect opportunity to get students to stop by. Offer a student discount for those who show you their student ID. Your restaurant can even host a tournament bracket contest where customers with the closest to perfect brackets win a prize.
If your restaurant is the perfect location for game day viewing, offer deals that will keep customers coming back all month long. Go old school and give out punch cards to diners that they can bring each time they visit your restaurant. After five punches, they can get a drink, an appetizer or even a meal for free. Make sure your restaurant is ready for game day viewing – that means televisions, plenty of seating and a stocked bar. You also want to schedule your staff to cover the game time crowd.
2. Create a special game-day menu items
It’s not just the fans cheering who can have all the fun. Use the tournament to create special game-day food bundles and party packages within your delivery menu on Grubhub. Include restaurant favorites or name each combo after one of the NCAA teams playing. Appetizers are likely to be the winning item, so make sure to prepare for larger volumes of orders.
What menu deals are sure to be a slam dunk?
- Game day baskets are great additions to your take out and delivery menus. Feed a watch party with shareable appetizers and drinks.
- Happy hour deals score big during the March tournament. Start your happy hour earlier to align with game schedules.
- Team-themed drinks and dishes not only make your restaurant a big tournament contender, but also give you the opportunity to creatively rebrand your menu items all month long.
Is your restaurant located in a team’s homebase? This year there will be games hosted in over a dozen cities across the country. For the fans who made it to the watch party, offer a free drink if your team wins! Or better yet, if they lose, nothing cures the basketball blues like an ice-cold beer, right?
3. Use alcohol to increase online order sales
There’s no doubt alcohol plays a part in the madness this March. As a restaurant, this is a perfect time to promote your drink offerings.
Offering beverage delivery could be the buzzer beater shot that can put your restaurant on top. What are the top drinks during the March tournament? Beer is a must for any game day menu. Canned hard ciders and seltzers are also popular amongst fans and are easy to add to a delivery order. It’s also a good idea to offer cocktails – you can get creative and make themed cocktails based on the teams in the tournament. Take a look at more tips on how to optimize your restaurant for beverage delivery.
Adding alcohol and cocktails has become a huge opportunity for restaurants on Grubhub to easily increase the average order volume by a whopping $14-15. Read how restaurants are incorporating the latest to-go cocktail trends in their Grubhub delivery strategy.
4. Encourage diner engagement online
It’s no doubt that in order for restaurants to be successful, a strategic online presence is vital, especially during tournament season. In fact, 52% of March basketball tournament viewers were active on social media during the games last year. Twitter is a big hub for basketball fans, with tournament related topics reaching over 576,000 engagements and 1.57 billion impressions.
Does your restaurant have a winning social media presence? Easily connect with your audience online by taking part in the March mania on social media. If your restaurant has that perfect game-day setup, use social media and your restaurant’s website to promote viewing parties on-premise. Get your diners involved by creating a bracket of your restaurant’s best appetizers for hungry customers to vote on which will be half-off on their game day delivery order.
Use Canva to find tournament-themed graphics and create sharable content to get your restaurant noticed. Check out more tips on how to grow your social media presence.
No restaurant’s digital presence is complete without online ordering. That’s why many restaurants are turning to Direct, our customizable online ordering site that is completely commission-free. With the ability to download diner data and reach out to those owned customers on their own, Direct restaurants are using this data to target loyal customers and boost their orders.
Promote your online ordering platform and restaurant’s website on your social media to turn curious scrollers into raving fans of your food.
What type of tournament promotions should your restaurant run?
No matter what type of restaurant you run, there are opportunities to get in on the March tournament madness. Games begin in the early afternoon and stretch into the night, giving more chances for restaurants to get in on the tournament.
Bars and pubs are the most popular spots for basketball watch parties. The casual atmosphere, big screen TVs and flow of alcohol and appetizers make for a perfect spot to watch all the action unfold. If you run one of these establishments, encourage customers to dine in and stay awhile while they watch the game at your restaurant.
If you run a casual or a fast casual restaurant, the tournament is the perfect time to double down on delivery. While you may not have the space to host a watch party, your restaurant can still be the center of at-home gatherings if you offer to-go deals. Want to expand your delivery before tip off? Partner with Grubhub to get your to-go offerings in front of more customers.
Make this tournament season a slam dunk with Grubhub
No matter what restaurant you run there are dozens of opportunities to get in on the basketball madness this March. 92% of basketball fans said they plan to purchase food from bars or restaurants during the game. Turn customers into loyal fans by giving them opportunities to score delicious deals.
Need a teammate to help your restaurant grow? Partner with Grubhub today.