Tonight the Democrats will host their first nationally televised debate of the election season—and Marco’s Pizza will be ready for a spike in delivery orders.
During the previous two Republican debates, the Ohio-based pizza brand witnessed an increase in delivery orders of 21 percent in August and 40 percent in September.
“We’re going to prepare to do 40 percent more volume. … It’s a bit of gamble because if it doesn’t come through obviously we put labor on we didn’t need and we prepped product that more than likely we won’t use in its shelf life. But it’s worth the risk because we’ve seen it duplicate itself twice,” says Tony Libardi, executive vice president of operations for Marco’s. “It’s clear that the American people are interested in their debates.”
Whenever groups gather around the TV, it tends to be a pizza event, Libardi says. These events, however, usually revolve around sports, not politics. After seeing the numbers from the first debate, the marketing team approached the leadership to plan a strategy for the next round by fortifying schedules and increasing product levels to be prepared. The trend replicated itself and even increased, proving it was more than a fluke.
The Democratic debate might draw fewer numbers given the smaller pool of candidates—and the notable absence of Donald Trump. To boost numbers, the marketing team will also post to social media to encourage and engagements and orders. Even if this debate is less of a viewing frenzy, Marco’s could still see higher volumes from the third Republican debate, which will air October 28.
“The good news is we’ve got more coming. October is shaping up to be a heck of a month for us,” Libardi says. “The surprise of the season is the debate. It’s low hanging fruit, apparently.”
The brand is already well equipped to handle increased volumes with seasonal employees boosting the workforce size by about 20 percent. In addition to cooler days enticing more consumers to order home meal replacements like pizza, Libardi says that Halloween is the busiest day of the year in the pizza industry. And with Halloween falling on a Saturday this year, it could be even busier than usual. The increased volume continues through the holidays with the day before Thanksgiving ranking among the top five of the year.
“The phones are manned, as they say, and ready to go,” Libardi says.
By Nicole Duncan