You better have a game plan for Super Bowl Sunday.

This is true of:

• Participating teams.

• Pizza businesses.

• People who want to order pizza for the big game.

• All of the above.

Super Bowl Sunday is a party day for many of us, but it’s one of the busiest days of the year in the pizza industry.

How busy? Representatives of Mazzio’s, founded 59 years ago in Tulsa, provided context.

Stuart Myers, vice president of marketing and sales, said sales at Mazzio’s will be around 40% to 45% stronger than they would be on an average Sunday.

“One of the reasons why the Super Bowl is such a challenge to us and anybody in our business is that it’s an enormous volume, but it happens in a very small window,” he said. “Our restaurants just get crushed in just a very small window.”

Because of that, preparation, staffing and training are vital to the game plan.

Said Myers: “It’s what we call ‘get ready for great’ because if you’re not ready when those phones start ringing, you are never going to catch up. The Super Bowl is a massive day for us.”

Myers said Mazzio’s will go through about 10,000 pounds of flour just making dough. He said Mazzio’s expects to sell “somewhere north” of 20,000 pizzas on Super Bowl Sunday and will go through about 10,000 pounds of cheese, about 3,000 pounds of wings, more than 1,000 gallons of pizza sauce and more than 500 gallons of ranch dressing.

“People love our ranch,” he said.

And people love Super Bowl parties. About 27% of Americans plan to attend a Super Bowl party and about 17 people attend the average Super Bowl party, according to wallethub.com.

Because so many people trek to parties or stay home to watch the game, it impacts the dine-in versus eat-somewhere-else numbers for pizza establishments.

On a typical Sunday at Mazzio’s, approximately one-third of guests dine in, one-third get carry-out and one-third opt for delivery. On Super Bowl Sunday, 21% of guests dine in, while 46% get carry-out and 33% choose delivery, according to Myers.

Because so many pizzas will be headed out the door, Super Bowl Sunday is an all-hands-on-deck endeavor.

“We call everybody in,” said Lori Carver, Mazzio’s president and CEO. “We’ve got all our drivers ready. We’ve got all of our call center employees here ready to answer the phones when they start ringing. It’s really exciting to plan something in advance, have everybody show up and (work) really hard and then afterward we get to celebrate how much fun it was to get it all accomplished. It’s a really fun team-building experience for us.”

The Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will be granted an opportunity to rise to the occasion on Super Bowl Sunday. The same is true of those in the pizza world.

“Really, instead of being intimidated by it, a lot of our folks just get really pumped up and have fun and try to be great and have a successful day,” Myers said. “We try to make it a lot of fun.”

Said Carver: “It’s almost a competition with some of the restaurants to see how many of a certain item they can do and see how many wings they can get out in a certain period of time or how many hours you work prior to get it all done. It’s really kind of fun. They get excited about it.”

Myers said about 47% of orders come in via online or mobile phone. The balance will occur through a centralized call center. The call center may have twice the number of staffers on Super Bowl Sunday to handle phone calls “mostly because they are all coming in at the same time,” according to Carver.

“Everybody thinks of ordering the pizza at the time that they think that it needs to be placed to get it there on time. You see the call volumes just spike in that (time frame). Your queue will fill up fast. But our call center reps are all trained to be on it. They get on and off that call as quickly as they can while still taking care of the guests. ... But they do a fantastic job, and they are just really great with our guests and our guests really appreciate their help. A lot of people prefer to talk to a live person than to try to figure something out online because they just love that extra touch.”

The Super Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 5:30 p.m. Best advice for anyone who wants to get their pizza on time? Pre-order.

“That’s what I would do if I wanted to get it on time to take to a party or take with me,” Carver said. “If you get the order in ahead of time, then you will be guaranteed that time. If you wait until the last minute and put it in, you may get behind some others in the queue. .... Going early is definitely the wise thing to do to get it on the time that you want.”

Myers said guests can pre-order online or through the call center. “That gets them to the front of the line, and that’s a good place to be on the Super Bowl,” he said.

Is Super Bowl Sunday the busiest day of the year for Mazzio’s? In 2019, Halloween edged the Super Bowl to become the biggest pizza day of the year. It’s your move, Super Bowl.

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Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389

jimmie.tramel@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @JimmieTramel

Scene Writer

Jimmie is a pop culture and feature writer at the Tulsa World. A former Oklahoma sports writer of the year, he has written books about former Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer and former Oklahoma State football coach Pat Jones. Phone: 918-581-8389