Last year, the restaurant chain sold more than 11 million wings on Super Bowl Sunday. This year, Mr. Tick said, he expects to meet or exceed that number even with his 1,200 restaurants around the country facing varying dine-in restrictions.
“We expect to see similar total demand, but an increase in off-premise ordering and, if I was a betting person, more parties of smaller size, so smaller order size as well,” he said.
For millions of people, whether football fans or not, the Super Bowl has long been an excuse to gather at a bar or restaurant or in someone’s living room to party, eat food that is not remotely healthy, throw back some beer or cocktails and laugh at the commercials. Some even pay attention to the game.
“It’s somebody’s job to bring the wings,” said Krista Millard, a self-described football fanatic who is an office manager at an architectural firm in Pittsboro, N.C. “Somebody else brings the beer. Somebody brings the kids’ food. Somebody is grilling out. There’s some North Carolina barbecue, of course, and a lot of people hanging out, but really, only four or five of us are actually watching the game.”
The pandemic has upended that ritual. David Jenkins, a pastor in Los Angeles who goes by D.J., is heeding the advice of health professionals this year. The watch party he attended the past few years, which typically draws 50 people, has been canceled. Instead he’ll watch the game from his couch, with his wife and 6-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter.
“We’ll make some sort of Velveeta cheese dip thing — a splurge food I don’t normally have — and then I’ll balance it with some celery sticks,” he said.
Mark Ridley-Thomas, a member of the Los Angeles City Council, planned on ordering his food well in advance. For the last five years, he hosted a Super Bowl viewing party for about 300 people as a fund-raiser for homelessness and emancipated foster children. This year, he’ll watch the game from his living room couch and order wings from Hotville Chicken.