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Most Profitable Sports Bar Foods to Help Grow Your Bottom Line

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Justin GuinnAuthor

Sports bars can be a great place to meet up and watch the big game while grabbing a bite to eat. 

Whether guests are in for a game or just to grab a bite, owners and operators can focus on the most profitable sports bar foods to help boost their bottom line.

Cost-effective ingredients, creative recipes, strategic pricing, and customer preferences play a crucial role in maximizing the profitability of sports bar menu items. Whether it's sandwiches and burgers, bar food staples, or more intricate items, the most profitable sports bar foods can help menus strike a balance between popularity and profitability.

In this article, we'll explore the key ingredients of sustained sports bar profitability, delve into individual sports bar menu item profitability, and explain how to analyze menu items to calculate plate costs, menu prices, and overall profitability.

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Key ingredients of sustained sports bar profitability

Hitting a homerun with your sports bar profitability doesn’t have to be hard. Here are the key factors to consider when developing your menu of profitable sports bar foods:

  1. Cost-effective ingredients: Like any kitchen space, breweries must utilize cost-effective ingredients. Staples like bread, produce, meat, and dairy provide a solid foundation for profitability.

  2. Quality and presentation: The appearance and taste of sports bar items play a pivotal role. Using fresh and high-quality ingredients coupled with appealing presentation justifies premium pricing and enhances profitability.

  3. Unique creations: Differentiate your sports bar by offering unique, signature creations. Integrating your beer into the recipes can help connect both sides of the operation.

  4. Seasonal specials: Adapt sports bar foods to seasonal ingredients, whether it's holiday-themed drinks or seasonal produce for salads and sandwiches. Seasonal specials can create anticipation and boost sales.

  5. Pairings and complements: Encourage customers to pair their food items with beer flights or combos specials on game days. Upselling opportunities can help improve the overall dining experience and increase profitability.

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Achieving success with strategic menu item pricing

Proper pricing is essential to ensure profitability in your sports bar. Here are some tactics to consider when setting or revamping your sports bar prices.

  1. Cost analysis: Understand the cost of ingredients, labor, and overhead to establish a baseline price. Pricing should not only cover costs but also allow for a healthy profit margin.

  2. Competitive analysis: Research local competitors to determine what they charge for similar sports bar foods and other popular restaurants around town. Price competitively while showcasing the quality and uniqueness of your offerings.

  3. Multiple price tiers: Offer a range of prices to cater to different customer segments. Include premium, mid-range, and budget-friendly options, allowing customers to choose based on their level of hunger, time at your restaurant, and budgets.

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Most profitable sports bar foods

Here are some of the most profitable sports bar foods that can elevate your sports bar's success and boost your bottom line:

  1. Fried goods: While not the healthiest options, fried foods can be great high-margin options for your sports bar. Fried chicken, cheese, potatoes, and other assorted options are crowd pleasers that can pad your profits.

  2. Burgers: Burgers can be a safe haven for guests that aren’t looking to press their culinary boundaries. And at the same time, depending on the toppings, burgers can press culinary boundaries.

  3. Sandwiches and wraps: Operators can offer handheld sandwiches and wraps that combine delicious and profitable fillings. 

  4. Snack and appetizers: Snacks and appetizers have a place in many restaurants, but they’re especially appealing for sports bars that house a ton of game watchers. These items can also be hugely profitable if properly designed and priced.

  5. Weekly specials: Although there’s pretty much sports year-round these days, sports bars can work up profitable specials to entice more sales on off nights.

By focusing on the most profitable sports bar foods and implementing strategic pricing, sports bar operators can tap into a prosperous market and ensure sustained profitability. 

With the right mix of cost-effective ingredients, quality, creativity, pricing, and the selection of profitable sports bar foods, your sports bar can thrive and meet customer demands in the long term.

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Optimizing sports bar operations with the right blend of tech and service models

Offering the right restaurant foods can make a significant impact on the overall profitability of your business. Folding some or all of these most profitable restaurant foods into your menu may help boost profit margins on your sales.

Here are a few other ways to help encourage greater restaurant profitability, including restaurant cost breakdowns, restaurant technology, and optimized service models.

Adjust what goes on your plate 

Calculating plate costs can show you exactly the costs and profit margins for individual menu items. It’s the combination of recipe cost, portion costs, and individual ingredient costs. It can help sports bar owners see exactly how each component is contributing to the overall profitability of a dish or drink — making it easier to achieve an ideal balance between portions and profits.

Remove popular items that’ve lost profitability

If plate costs become too high, sports bar operators should be careful not to fall into a trap of sentimentality. Underbelly Hospitality Group realized that the cost of chicken had risen dramatically, fluctuating between 30 and 40 percent higher than usual. Rather than sacrifice the quality or portion size of their famed, crowd-pleaser wings, they pulled them entirely.

Get more efficient with scheduling

More staff doesn’t equal better service. Too many team members and not enough work leads to complacency. Then everyone loses — staff members and their tips and engagement, customers missing out on great experiences, and your ballooned labor costs

Restaurant scheduling software that’s integrated with payroll software can help you take control of your weekly staff schedule and associated costs. 

Implement the New Steps of Service

What if a single adjustment could improve guest and employee experiences while saving on labor costs? Sounds too good to be true until you dive into the New Steps of Service — with streamlined service that can empower guests to order and pay at the table whenever they like. The New Steps of Service ROI Calculator can quantify potential impacts on your labor costs and operational efficiency.

Leverage granular reporting within your restaurant software

Invoice processing automation is an automated tool that digitizes critical invoice line-item data. 

Having this ingredient pricing data readily available can simplify your ability to calculate COGS, monitor price fluctuations, and take action on the COGS side of your ongoing restaurant cost breakdowns.

Just like with invoice automation for food costs, scheduling and payroll and team management tools can help automate and simplify labor cost calculations. 

You likely don’t have time to manually calculate individual payrolls — and you definitely don’t have time to add all that up to get your cumulative labor costs. An easy-to-use payroll and team management software gives you transparency and visibility into fluctuations in your weekly labor costs, tip pooling breakdowns, payroll taxes, and deductions. 

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Restaurant Invoice Automation Guide

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Where to go from here

Combining Toast and xtraCHEF can help all types of restaurants access reports on daily sales, costs, and how they’re impacting profitability.

Toast Payroll and Team Management, as well as Scheduling, powered by Sling, work together to uncover valuable labor trends so you can make better decisions.

xtraCHEF by Toast empowers you to drill into line-item level detail for every ingredient on each of your supplier invoices.

Together, these tools can automate and simplify the process of creating restaurant cost breakdowns.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.