If you went to a Super Bowl party, there is a good chance that you ate pizza. According to CNNMoney, Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest day of the year for pizzerias (Pizza is king for Super Bowl bellies, Feb 4):
Super Bowl Sunday happens to be one of the hungriest days of the year for pizza-lovers, which means a nationwide windfall for pizzerias. Pie orders typically spike by 35% on the day of the championship game compared to any other given Sunday, according to Jeremy White, editor of Pizza Today, the trade magazine for The National Association of Pizzeria Operators.
That adds up to quite the feeding frenzy, as Americans consume 30 million pizzas, or 350 slices a second, on an average day, according to the association.
According to this TV report, Houston area Papa John’s were expecting to sell 20,000 pies. Furthermore, some pizzerias report that much like some Super Bowls (although not this year’s) all the action is in the first half after which demand just fades.
This obviously makes for a serious production planning problem. They know demand will be high, but it still takes a lot of preparation to make sure there are adequate supplies and personnel. The Houston area Papa John’s outlets claim that they begin planning a month out for The Big Game. Of course, a big enough snow storm can mean that all of the planning is for not (see Pizzamaker braves snow to deliver on Super Bowl Sunday, Washington Post, Feb 8).
What is interesting is that few pizza joints really uses any demand management techniques. This is a classic example of severely peaked demand. Competition is probably stiff enough that you don’t want to raise price during the peak, but surely there is someway of shifting some demand off peak or at least getting orders early. I had a student team do a class project on how Evanston area pizza shops manage the Super Bowl rush. The bottom line was that they made more dough and brought in extra drivers but that was about it. Most firms actively discouraged early orders. I suspect that early orders lead to greater dissatisfaction when the pies are late and the pizza shops cannot guarantee that they will be on time. Still there has to be a better way to manage the surge in demand.