Tailgating isn’t just an event where people come together to socialize over sports and bond over barbecue. It’s also an opportunity for operators to help guests plan the perfect indoor or outdoor tailgate party with food packages, customized sauces and sports-themed menu items.
Whatever your game, three operators prove how easy it is to help customers throw a tailgate party in style.
It’s all about the bundle
Today’s consumers are all about choice, so operators should offer a few different meal promotions on game day. At Two Bros BBQ Market, a Texas-style barbecue concept in San Antonio, customers can choose from four grab-and-go barbecue packages that serve up to 24 people. “The packs are pre-determined so guests don’t have to put much thought into what proteins to order,” says Jason Dady, executive chef and owner. “All they have to decide is what kind of sides and sauces to choose.”
Nedal Ahmad, chef and partner at casual street-food concept Pincho Factory, which has three units in the Miami area, prepares three bundles that range from burgers with all the fixings to create-your-own pita wraps to pinchos (skewers) as well as party platters with mini pinchos and assorted dipping sauces. All are perfect for indoor or outdoor tailgating.
But it’s not just about the food. Smart operators include utensils, plates and cups with food packages, because the last thing a customer wants to do on the way to the game is make multiple stops. “The word will spread you’re the go-to source for all things tailgating,” says Ahmad.
Additionally, investing in superior packaging that’s insulated and drip-proof can help ensure the quality, integrity and freshness of food is retained for as long as possible.
Sauces complete the party
As consumers seek exciting dining options, it’s also important to have interesting, flavorful sauces and condiments—but make sure they’re not going to kill the bottom line. Ahmad prepares eight sauces that range from mustard to mayonnaise to vinegar to yogurt. “Sauces add complexity to a meal and round it out, as well as [allow you to] express your culinary creativity,” he says.
Offering sauces that fit with each restaurant’s unique positioning can be a point of differentiation, too. For example, Dady offers three barbecue sauces: a vinegar-based Carolina style made with pickle juice; a Texas style that’s made up of vinegar, mustard powder, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and three mustards; and one made with molasses, espresso and Shiner Black Lager.
But don’t skimp on classic tailgating condiments, either. “Ketchup is one sauce that always should be offered,” Ahmad says. “Brands that can be bought from your supplier, like Heinz, are a perfect blend of flavor that’s a great sauce to serve on its own or used to customize an in-house sauce.” For example, to elevate ketchup’s heat level or add another flavor component, use a local hot sauce, chipotle or smoked onions.
And because the weather for outdoor tailgates can be uncertain and the party can last for hours, Haigler suggests serving sauces that don’t require refrigeration, such as vinaigrettes or barbecue sauces.
Localization is key to every aspect of the restaurant industry today, and it’s no different for tailgating. Operators who tailor their menus to their specific markets can more easily match the demands of local customers, according to Ahmad.
The Grand Isle in New Orleans, for example, attracts local fans by highlighting its hometown team, the New Orleans Saints, with the Raspberry Brees cocktail that honors their quarterback Drew Brees. Opposing fans can enjoy other specialties such as the Cowboy Blood cocktail (housemade sangria) or the oven-roasted Eagle, which is oven-roasted chicken. “All in jest, of course,” says Ryan Haigler, executive chef.
For more ways to boost your tailgating business, visit Heinz Foodservice here.
This post is sponsored by Heinz Foodservice