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Calm before the storm

Pizza delivery restaurants prepare for Super Bowl Sunday

Bridget Manley

— The dining room is nearly empty.

The kitchen is quiet except for the hum of an industrial-sized refrigerator and an oven unit that turns out newly cooked pizzas on a conveyor belt.

Pizza Hut employee Jeremy Bays says this is the quiet before the storm.

The dining area may be nearly empty Sunday, he said, but the kitchen will probably be full and all staff will be on duty.

After all, it is Super Bowl Sunday.

“Everybody’s working that day,” Bays said. “That’s all across the Front Range. That came down from corporate (headquarters).”

This year, Bays’ Super Bowl Sunday won’t include an afternoon in front of the TV Instead, it likely will entail hard work and a possibility for big money, he said.

April Fread, Pizza Hut shift manager, estimated the store makes an additional $600 on Super Bowl Sunday – the day when many people order pizzas for the game that marks the culmination of the professional football season.

Some customers anticipate the rush, ordering their pizza days in advance, she said.

Pizza Hut employees begin preparing the night before game day.

“We run out of dough, no matter how much we prepare,” Bays said.

The staff also keeps nearly 12 gallons of pizza sauce on hand, Fread said.

And then there are the breadsticks – about 400 of them, which the staff prepares the night before.

To hold all the food, the staff also folds approximately 180 pizza boxes.

Another pizza restaurant also reaps benefits from game day.

“Super Bowl Sunday is definitely one of our biggest sales days of the year,” said Domino’s Pizza shift manager Amber Atkinson. “We try to have two extra drivers for that rush during the game.”

The store’s walk-in freezer is filled to capacity with extra dough, toppings, wings and sauces in preparation for game day, she said.

Although the game doesn’t start until late afternoon, the majority of the store’s employees are scheduled to arrive at the store by 3 p.m.

“That’s when pre-game starts for us,” Atkinson said.

Atkinson has worked in Domino’s Pizza restaurants for nearly six years. On Super Bowl Sunday, the tips are about the same, she said – sometimes a dollar more than the $2 average.

But tips can add up.

“One year, I made $100,” she said.

Working on the day of the Super Bowl is worth the work if you’re not a hard-core football fan, she said.

Fortunately, Bays is not.

“I’m more of a basketball person,” he said.

Still, he listened to the game on his car radio between deliveries when he delivered pizzas during Super Bowl Sunday last year.

Bays is scheduled to work in the kitchen this year, taking a break from the delivery route.

Working on delivery detail did have advantages, he said.

There were the tips – approximately $150 dollars worth.

There was the appreciation from customers when he arrived at their doors, pizza in hand.

“You’re an instant celebrity,” he said.

The advanced preparation and the increased delivery calls aside, Super Bowl Sunday is much like any other day at work, Fread said.

Bays agreed.

“It’s just another delivery,” he said.


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