February in America means two important dates for food retailers—

Valentines Day, and an unofficial holiday: the Super Bowl. Data from the National Retail Federation unveils that food and drinks are on the shopping lists of 79.3% of people who plan to watch the game. This weekend’s food and beverage sales are some of the largest of the year—not surprising since Super Bowl Sunday is the second biggest day of food consumption in the United States, following Thanksgiving.

Thus, there’s no deflating the good moods in the food industry this week. Data from the Snack Food Association expects that Americans will eat 11.2 million pounds of potato chips, 8.2 million pounds of tortilla chips and 3.8 million pounds of popcorn. The National Restaurant Association predicts that 48 million Americans will order takeout, and many of those orders will be for pizza and wings.

Super Bowl Sunday is also known as National Wing Day. According to the National Chicken Council, 1.25 billion chicken wings will be eaten on Sunday alone. That’s enough wings end-to-end to cross the nation fifty-five times between Seattle and New England—home bases of the two competing teams. Fourteen billion hamburgers are bought on Super Bowl Sunday, and Pizza Today estimates that 11 million pizza slices are sold. Super Bowl sponsor Papa John’s Pizza anticipates 1 million orders during the game.

To prepare for the mass consumption that takes place on Super Bowl Sunday, food industry leaders study eating trends all year, but the weekend surrounding the game requires special attention. Collecting data efficiently and accurately is paramount if retailers and restaurants alike want to ensure that their products will be part of the $14.31 billion dollars spent on Super Bowl-related purchases.

In order to maximize their piece of the $14 billion dollar pie, Papa John’s Pizza strategizes as a group of small stores, instead of a larger monopoly. John Schnatter, founder of Papa John’s Pizza, says this allows the company to quickly adapt to new data, and be “nimble, quick… scrappy.”

Pizza Hut works year-round to understand consumer preferences and activity, in order to provide a better experience for their customers. Pizza Huts in Oman has partnered with Capillary, a software solutions provider, to evaluate the constant influx of data. In December, Pizza Hut Oman was awarded the “Most Innovative Industry Application of Big Data” at the Customer Festival Awards. Marketing Manger Nicodemus Rozario says the partnership reinforces the company’s “focus on Big Data analytics.”

On Monday, once the Super Bowl is over, the process starts again—food retailers, suppliers and restaurants begin collecting and analyzing data with the following year in mind.

“It’s a tremendous amount of planning and execution that has to take place in ramping up for the big game,”

according to Papa John’s’ Schnatter.

“We always say the day after the Super Bowl each year [that] we have 364 days to prepare for the upcoming Super Bowl.”

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