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Foodservice gets pumped up for Super Bowl Sunday

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NFL players, fans and advertisers aren’t the only ones who have been gearing up all season for Sunday’s Super Bowl. Chain restaurants will need to be on their game this weekend, as an estimated 48 million Americans order takeout during the game and 12 million more watch the annual event at a bar or restaurant, according to the National Restaurant Association.

Chicken prices take wing

About 63% of consumers planning Super Bowl parties plan to serve wings, and, despite record-high prices, Americans will consume about 1.25 billion wings — enough to circle the earth twice, with some left over, according to the National Chicken Council. Wholesale chicken-wing prices from Georgia producers increased 52% in the past year, and consumption and price typically peak in the first three months of the year, largely driven by the big game, Bloomberg reported.

“Chickens only have two wings, so when the supply declines, the price will rise because demand is relatively inelastic,” Poultry Perspective economist Paul Aho said. “People really want wings, and the recession doesn’t seem to have an effect on demand.”

Pizza chains prepare

About 61% of football fans plan to serve pizza, and Domino’s expects to sell about 11 million slices during the Super Bowl, according to Pizza Marketplace, which ran a roundup of national chains’ game-day specials.

Papa John’s Pizza will give away a large pizza and a 2-liter Pepsi Max to Papa’s Rewards members, but only if fans correctly choose the winner of the coin toss.

Pizza Hut has a simpler offer: a pizza of any size, crust and topping for $10.

Naked Pizza invited customers to post photos of themselves wearing clothes but “living naked,” and the winner gets five free pizzas along with salad and sticks to serve during the game.

Chefs face off

Unless you run a sports bar or your restaurant will host a Super Bowl party, it’s likely business will be down Sunday. OpenTable typically books half of the number of reservations on game day that it does the Sunday before and after, The New York Times reported. “It’s a great night to get into a hot restaurant,” said Drew Nieporent, founder of Myriad Restaurant Group, which operates Tribeca Grill and Nobu New York. “It’s not a great day for a restaurateur.”

So, fine-dining chefs from New England and New York won’t be serving pizza and wings Sunday, but a handful of them still have a lot riding on the outcome of the game. Food & Wine’s Mouthing Off blog reported on the Super Bowl Restaurant Smackdown, in which Jamie Bissonnette of Boston’s Toro and Coppa; Tiffani Faison of Sweet Cheeks; Matt Jennings of Farmstead and La Laiterie Bistro in Providence, R.I.; and Gabriel Frasca of Straight Wharf Restaurant and Provisions face off against New York chefs and Giants fans Harold Dieterle of Perilla Restaurant and Kin Shop; Lee Anne Wong of Vynl; and Michael Ferraro of Delicatessen. Fans of the losing team will dress in the winning team’s colors and wear either a Statue of Liberty hat or a lobster hat for a week, and they will serve up a special dish in honor of the winning team.

How are you preparing for the big game? Tell us in the comments.