Come Sunday, it’s game on for Maryland bars and pizzerias -- Gazette.Net


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On Super Bowl Sunday, few employees at Domino’s Pizza stores get the day off.

And they’re expected to be particularly busy this Sunday, when the Baltimore Ravens make their first appearance in the hugely popular championship football game since 2001.

“It’s all hands on deck,” said Bernie Cobbler, supervisor of nine Domino’s stores in Montgomery County.

The Bethesda store on Ridgefield Road, for instance, typically has 15 in-store and delivery employees working on a Sunday. For the Super Bowl, it could have as many as double that, Cobbler said.

“We usually sell a lot more pizzas during the first hour,” he said. “We will probably make 200 pizzas for the first hour, which is close to double what we typically do.”

Nationwide, Domino’s expects to sell more than 11 million pizza slices and 2.5 million chicken wings on Sunday. Digital orders especially are expected to increase.

The last time the Ravens were in the Super Bowl, business was a bit more brisk than during the typical Super Bowl, said Cobbler, who worked for Domino’s then.

About 179 million people in the U.S. are expected to watch the game between the Ravens and San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, about a 4 percent increase from last year, according to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association. That group is part of the National Retail Federation in Washington, D.C.

Super Bowl-related consumer spending on items such as food, high-definition televisions and team jerseys is expected to reach nearly $12.3 billion, up 12 percent from last year. The Super Bowl ranks as the seventh most revenue-generating day of the year, closely following Father’s Day and ahead of Halloween.

Boost for restaurants, bars

While about 60 million people will attend a party nationwide, some 10 million will watch the game at restaurants and bars. That means more business for establishments such as Carolina Kitchen, a Southern-style restaurant in Hyattsville.

The 325-seat, 14-television restaurant plans a Super Bowl party with barbecued wings and domestic beer specials and giveaways, said Dawn Moss, executive managing partner.

“We’re big Ravens fans, and we have a great football fan club,” Moss said. “Players (from the Ravens and the Washington Redskins) come here to eat all the time.”

Owner Lance London is friends with Ravens star Ray Lewis, she said. The restaurant has even come up with a drink to honor the linebacker, who said he plans to retire after the game.

“We expect it to be even bigger than usual since it’s a local event. Even if you’re fans of other teams, everyone wants to be affiliated with winners. We expect to see an overflow of crowd,” Moss said. “This is the place to go.”

Carolina Kitchen also plans to cater events during the game, she said. The restaurant has provided catering services to some area NFL players.

R.J. Bentley’s Restaurant in College Park plans to draw the student crowd with a small buffet at about 6 p.m. Sunday, just before kickoff, general manager Patrick Ahearn said. The nearby University of Maryland campus has a big Ravens following, he said. Bentley’s features 15 televisions and a capacity of 299 people.

“We expect a fair amount of people,” Ahearn said. “We usually do a lot around college football, and Super Bowl is average, but this should be more than usual.”

The Barking Dog in College Park will offer $2 National Bohemian “Natty Boh” beers, the traditional Baltimore beer, on Sunday and $9.99 all-you-can-eat wing specials, said general manager David Bowen. The Barking Dog seats 220 on its lower level — Bowen doesn’t expect to open the deck level — and has 13 TVs.

“Last year was not as good as expected, but we have higher hopes with the Ravens playing,” he said.

Jasper’s Restaurant in Largo also will be having drink specials and is expecting about 300 people, said co-owner Fred Rosenthal.

“It’s usually fairly busy, since we have giant TVs,” Rosenthal said. “People usually get here two hours before a game and hang around through the end.”

Lewis jerseys, team T-shirts, caps and other items associated with the Ravens are really popular at sports stores. Lewis’ jersey is the top seller at Fanatics.com this month, according to the online retailer.

“It’s safe to say the color purple is flying off the shelves,” said Patrick Donoho, president of the Maryland Retailers Association.

Super study

Meanwhile, Philip Resnik, a linguistics and computer studies professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, will be busy Sunday studying how people react to Super Bowl commercials, using mobile technology developed through his Bethesda company, React Lab.

“Our goal for this project is to build a platform that seamlessly integrates with how consumers watch and react to major media events like the Super Bowl,” Resnik said in a statement.

Consumer research company Frank N. Magid Associates will help with the project, with advertising experts who can analyze data.

The technology utilizes a mobile app that measures how users react to an event. Resnik used the technology to judge reactions during the presidential debates last fall.

kshay@gazette.net