Posted on June 26, 2014 at 3:24 PM
John Bacon and Rachel Chason, USA TODAY
The demand for pizza was almost as strong as World Cup goals as the U.S. and German sides played out their drama on TV screens at lunch time in the East and close-enough-to-lunch time across much of the nation Thursday.
"Our lunch sales are up more than 50% for a normal Thursday," Courtney Moscovic, spokeswoman for Pizza Hut and its 6,300 outlets, told USA TODAY at halftime of the game. "Wing sales are up, too."
Things got started early in Chicago, where kickoff took place at 11 a.m. "We usually don't get this many customers in the morning," said Jacara Tony, who works at Papa John's. "But today we've been incredibly busy already."
A number of restaurants — from a Papa John's in St. Louis to a Pizza Hut in Baltimore — said they were too busy to talk. That is good news in the pizza business.
"We're definitely busier because of the game," said Cassy Broughton, a manager at a Philadelphia Domino's.
In Washington, D.C., a soccer hotbed, washingtonian.com mourned online that Washington Deli took a 14-pizza order to feed the website staff, but then called to say they couldn't fill it. The website also said that at ZPizza, the manager reported a logjam of 10 deliveries in 30 minutes and estimated a two-hour wait for delivery orders.
The website reached out to a Bertucci's, but staffers said they were too busy to talk.
In St. Matthews, Ky., bizjournals.com reports that Saints Pizza and Pub had about 100 people grabbing tables 90 minutes before game time. General manager Bruce Jarrett expected a full house for hours. "It's basically like getting a whole extra month of sales," Jarrett said.
In Columbus, Ohio, the game was a pick-me-up for pizza's summer doldrums. "We usually slow down in the summer, but today has been an exception," said Robin Frost, who works at Papa John's. "Business has definitely picked up because of the game."
For some pizza establishments, however, the game was a disappointment. Outcome notwithstanding.
"We got a 30-minute rush when the game started at 12:00," said Adil Elallam, working at a Domino's in Boston. "Now that the game has started, there's nothing."