By Kirsten Kyne
Super Bowl XLVII means different things to different people: The rise of the rookie quarterback; the retirement of a future Hall of Famer; brothers coaching against each other.
Though people don’t agree on which team to root for, there is one thing that unites most Americans watching the Sunday game between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers: food.
Pizza and Buffalo chicken wings are two of the most heavily consumed foods on Super Bowl Sunday and many restaurants offer specials on these items to attract customers.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Super Bowl Sunday is one of the biggest food consumption days in the country, second only to Thanksgiving.
Local restaurants are no exception – especially those that offer take-out and delivery.
Rush Earman, owner of the Domino’s Pizza in Lexington, said that he expects to sell twice the number of pizzas this Sunday than he does any other day of the year. “We’ll probably be making about 200 to 250 pizzas an hour on Sunday,” he said.
Along with the large increase in pizza sales, Earman said that Domino’s sells about four times the number of wings than it does any other day.
The kitchen at Domino’s will be filled with athletes of their own sort rushing to answer the phones, top the pizzas, put them in the oven, and then send them out with the drivers.
“The intensity is much, much higher,” he said. “There’s no other day like it.”
Orders start coming in typically the Saturday before the game for large orders and then the workers start gearing up for their version of kickoff.
“Between 3:30 and 4 the orders just take off,” Earman said. “All at once everybody is calling in and ordering pizzas online. It goes until about half-time of the game and then just dies.”
Though the shop can’t have pizzas premade for the game, Earman said that he will have everyone working on Sunday to try to get the pizza and wings out of the door as quickly as possible.
East of town, on Route 60, Papa Johns will be just as busy on Super Bowl as Earman and the workers at Domino’s. “The drivers are leaving the store like bees in beehives,” said Papa John’s manager Pat Coffey.
Like Domino’s manager, Coffey expects to be very busy and prepares ahead of time for the rush. “Nobody can request off on Super Bowl Sunday,” she said. “It’s just too busy.”
Papa John’s has partnered with the National Football League for the past three years as a sponsor. The company offers special promotions during the regular season and with the Super Bowl. Its Coin Toss Experience allows Internet users to vote “heads” or “tails” for the coin toss before the game. If they chose correctly, they will receive a free pizza after the game.
“We’re expecting about three times the sales,” Coffey said. “Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest day of the year for Papa John’s.”
John Gillespie, general manager of Pizza Hut in Lexington, said he hopes that this Sunday’s pizza sales will be comparable to a Friday night, about three times more sales than a typical Sunday.
Gillespie said that past Super Bowl Sundays have not always yielded booming sales.
“It’s hit and miss,” Gillespie said. “Depends on who’s playing, and who’s winning, and how many people are sitting around and watching the game.”
Locally owned Salerno’s has not seen an increase in sales on Super Bowl Sunday comparable to the other restaurants in years past because it did not offer delivery. But Manager George Roig said this year could be different because Salerno’s is offering to bring food to your door.
“This year will tell a lot about what’s going to happen in the future,” he said. “It’s the first one where we’ve delivered which I think will help us. We’ll see.”
Though people may be arguing about who is going to win the game or which team has the better quarterback, there could be a bigger argument going on: Who gets the last piece?
Information also gathered by Betsy Cribb.