The NCAA Bowl Season is a time when folks gather to watch their favorite university duke it out for bowl supremacy. We already know that wings and football just make sense and that’s why we strongly encourage you to drive real results by offering wings as a centerpiece to your Tailgate Catering menu.

Folks are consuming food in so many different ways than in times past. With the explosion of delivery during the past year and fully prepared meals from grocery stores, operators are faced with the challenge re-capturing the business that has moved to either of these options. Catering is a perfect solution.

Frank's RedHot cajun hot sauceThe home tailgate has grown over the years with fans coming together to watch games on their own outsized TVs in the comfort of their own homes. That’s why the timing is perfect to match the preferred tailgate cuisine – WINGS — to these opportunities. Also, catering has long been a highly profitable way to drive business that doesn’t disrupt your operation.

The beauty of the chicken wing, as the anchor of an off-site catering offer, is everyone loves them. They are the perfect hand food and make for a great center of the plate option. Wings can be done in multiple varieties to ensure everyone at the party has a flavor they will like. You may even want to include some boneless options into your menu, too, for additional cost savings.

You can also include sides and other items that will complement the wing experience and add to your catering success.

Below are three simple steps you can take to facilitate success in driving your bowl game catering efforts:

Define what you are offering & market it to your guests

Among the best marketing opportunities for catering (and any other programs you are running, for that matter) is the folks that are already visiting your restaurant. In order to access that audience you must first define your offer and make it simple to convey to a guest. In this instance by creating your wing platter-based catering menu, you make it easy for the guest to envision what they will be getting by placing an order.

Be sure to include all the elements. Sure, you will describe the food included, but don’t leave out the other services like delivery (if available) and plate/service ware that come with the order.

Once you have defined the offer, you can create a simple guest check stuffer that has the wing platter menu made easy to review. You can even put an order form on the backside to encourage guests to take advantage in that moment. If you see approximately 1000 guests per week and can only encourage 1% to place an order, that is 10 extra orders for a large carryout item.

Make sure you are ready for the increased wing volume

The sports bar chicken wing programThe good news here is that we’ve already built a great primer on High Volume Wing Programs that can help ensure you are ready for revenue. This guide offers best practices advice on better ways to prep and turnout wings to maximize labor and food costs. Once you have systemized the prep and turnout, you can focus on the items that accompany your wings for the guest’s enjoyment.

First and foremost, you need an order completion checklist. If the food is leaving your building then you must include anything the guest will need to manage their event. Also, make sure you have the right containers for packaging the wings and ancillary items to make up the full catering experience. From sauces to napkins and even small paper containers for the discarded wing bones, it’s imperative you not miss any details that will impact the guest’s experience.

Communicate to your team about the catering program and how to facilitate an order

There is nothing worse than a guest asking a server about a special and having the server appear ignorant of it. Just as you must communicate to the guest what your offers are for catering, so too must you communicate to your team. By preparing your staff, they are also better prepared to advocate with guests on choosing your restaurant for their event catering. You can do this by covering it in pre-shift meetings for the day or by holding a full team meeting.

You may also want to further include them by paying a bounty for every catering event that is booked based on a server or bartender recommendation. It’s a small thing to pay a server few bucks if they sell an event for you. It also will improve your communication to your guests and amplify your marketing substantially.

By following the above steps, you give yourself the best opportunity to succeed with driving catering during the NCAA Bowl Season. With January coming, you’ll no doubt have a full dining room with everyone paying via gift certificate. Consequently, any additional sales you can generate during the season makes the upcoming month less horrifying. By making chicken wings your focal point, you stick with what you know, give the guest what they want, and ultimately make for lots of great bowl game parties.