While World Cup fever in the US usually does not amount to much, it finally seems to be heating up, with the US-Portugal match being the most watched soccer match in the US ever. With this fervor comes a unique opportunity for foodservice operations across the country to capitalize on this phenomenon, all in the name of patriotism, coupled with a healthy dose of good old fashioned American capitalism. 

New Mintel research shows men are far more likely than women to attach drinking to an activity like watching sports at home (37% v 23%), whereas women are more likely (46% v 42%) to drink at social gatherings at someone else’s home. Millennials are the most likely generation to have consumed alcohol at a pub/brewery (27%) over the past month (vs 20% of overall sample and 18% of Baby Boomers). Midwesterners are more likely than any other region to have visited a neighborhood bar in the past month (25% vs 20% overall and compared to 17% for the West Coast).

“As consumers become more discerning and their preferences more fragmented, it is necessary for operators to decide what target group they will go after, as they can no longer be everything to everyone,” says Bethany Wall, foodservice analyst at Mintel. “Every market is different and has its own niches to fill. The key is to provide differentiation that defines and sets expectations as to the consumer experience. However, restaurants and bars must offer some alternative choices so that the outliers of a party can be satisfied and not influence the group to go elsewhere.”

Many restaurants have expanded their alcoholic drink menus, extended hours, and are promoting happy hours and World Cup specials in order to attract guests. The number of alcoholic beverages menued at restaurants over the past three years has grown the most within the fast casual segment (185%), followed by fine dining (27%), and somewhat surprisingly, quick service restaurants (21%).