Karina Florez / Co-Editor
For most people, Super Bowl Sunday is about fun. Getting together with family and friends while ordering large amounts of food is a staple. Some people love Super Bowl Sunday for the game, some for the halftime show and others for the commercials. But for people who work in pizzerias, it’s hell on Earth.
I’ve had a part-time job at a pizzeria for almost five years now, and Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest day of the year for us. No amount of preparation can prepare us for the gargantuan amount of business we get.
This year will be my fourth Super Bowl Sunday, as I didn’t work one year because I was legitimately sick. All hands are on deck, literally. That is the one day of the year you can’t call out unless you have a legit reason. To quote my boss, “You better be on the verge of death if you don’t show up for Super Bowl Sunday.”
On the Super Bowls that I’ve worked, there really is no set plan on how we are going about the day. We prepare as much as we can and just hope for the best. Since all employees are on the clock that day, the work area is packed, leaving no room for mistakes. We have no space to put deliveries or pick up orders anywhere because we’re waiting for drivers to come back and for customers to pick up their orders. To make space for other orders, we call customers to let them know their food is ready and to please come in ASAP.
Customers crowd the waiting area of the store, waiting to see if their order – which is probably buried in a plethora of other orders – is ready for pick up. Even those who order their food for a certain pick up or delivery time are only fooling themselves, because there are 50 other people who want their food at that same time.
At the pizzeria I work at, we have to place our food order every two to three days in order to have enough food to sell to customers. Prior to Super Bowl Sunday, we order double the amount of food we usually get, because we know that the demand for pizza is going to be at an all-time high.
Super Bowl Sunday is also the day we are flooded with complaints from customers. At this point, I no longer understand the frustration that customers have, because I know that the store I work at cannot handle the amount of business we get that day. Customers are shocked when they call to place an order only to realize that delivery times are two to three hours, and pick up time is 45 minutes to an hour. “Yeah, I know it’s Super Bowl Sunday, but that’s just ridiculous,” they usually say. “I’m just going to order from somewhere else.” The joke’s on the customer, however, because if they really want to eat some pizza or wings that night, that’ll most likely be the quoted delivery time for other pizza establishments.
One thing I will never get over is the amount of stress everyone is under. It’s non stop orders that are coming in. Once you finish 10, there are another 30 waiting to be made. They’re big orders, too; for example, five large pies and four orders of 40-piece wings. There is always one person catching the oven (since our oven is on a conveyor belt), at least two people stretching dough, at least two people taking care of customers, and another three saucing and topping the pies. We’ll always have at least 10 pies fall out of the oven because one of us is trying to figure out which pie is missing for an order, or which sauce is going on the wings.
I know this year will be no different than previous ones. All hell will break loose that night. The only relief us employees get is when the game finally starts and people stop ordering. We’ll get another rush around the time that the halftime show starts, but after that it usually dies down.
Once business starts slowing down, my coworkers and I sit down to take a much-needed break and munch on some orders that were either cancelled or never picked up. The store is usually a mess at that point. There’s probably stray toppings and lots of cornmeal on the floor, which we’ll eventually have to clean up.
So this year – or next year, if you’re reading this after Super Bowl Sunday – please be patient with pizzeria employees. We really are trying our best to knock down orders and give them to customers. We can only do so much, we’re only human.
Since this has mostly been a rant about the nightmarish side of Super Bowl Sunday, I will admit my favorite part about it is coming home afterwards and getting some much needed, much deserved sleep.