Badger football home games draw in sizable crowds most fall weekends, and local business must prepare in advance.
The Kwik Trip located next to Camp Randall Stadium sells mostly food and alcohol during game days. The store experiences a surge in customer traffic before the game, during halftime and after the game.
Kwik Trip store leader Heather Williams said additional positions are created during game days. Employees are designated at certain points around the store to watch for theft and product levels.
Additionally, there is an employee who directs traffic to open registers and there is an employee who does various small duties no one else can get to, Williams said. Employees do not perform these tasks on a regular Saturday.
“We can have anywhere from 150 to 250 guests per hour [on game days],” Williams said.
Williams said product ordering begins three to four days in advance to ensure the store will stay stocked and backup product is available. This location in particular sells a lot of clear bags, hand warmers, ponchos and other odds and ends on game days — often things people don’t think about when packing.
Manager Jen Dobias of Cheba Hut Toasted Subs said prep is pretty heavy to prepare for the mass amount of people who visit. The restaurant also advertises game day specials on its social media pages to draw in fans.
“We schedule incredibly heavy,” Dobias said. “We try to get as many employees in here as possible to make sure people are getting their food fast enough.”
Cheba Hut works with a security firm that watches for safety concerns and conflicts, Dobias said.
General manager Jeff Eich of Ian’s Pizza on North Frances Street said not all game days are created equal. Football games can draw in different crowd numbers depending on what team the Badgers are up against.
“Throughout the entire day on a normal Saturday, about 14 employees are on staff, but for game days, about 22 employees are on staff,” Eich said.
Ian’s Pizza does not engage in advertising for football games because of their reputation, Eich said. Alumni, along with visiting fans, come back to the store and attract a crowd by word of mouth.
Eich said not a lot of conflicts arise, and if people engage in sports banter, it’s friendly rather than aggressive.
General manager of the Nitty Gritty Michael Leto said the uptick in customers can start the day before the game as visiting fans are coming into town. Their crowd size also depends on the team playing against the Badgers.
Leto said planning begins about a week and a half in advance. Some staff who are students try to get off work if they have tickets, but some students would rather work because they realize the opportunity to make a lot of money.
On a regular Saturday, there are about 50-60 staff scheduled at the Nitty Gritty throughout the day. On a football game day, there are about 80-100 employees working throughout the day. This includes servers, bartenders, ID checkers, mangers, hosts and cooks.
“Lucky for us, we have thirty-plus years of experience as far as what to expect, so we have a good idea of how much food, supplies and alcohol to order,” Leto said.
A lot of families visit the Nitty Gritty because they have food and are not just known for alcohol-related products, Leto said.
The Nitty Gritty is partners with Badger Sports Properties for advertising Badger games. BSP manages the multi-media rights for the University of Wisconsin Athletic Department.
“Word of mouth, tradition and legacy does us a great benefit,” Leto said.
General manager of SCONNIEBAR Lucas Simon-Wambach said preparing for the game begins five or six hours in advance. Meetings occur in early summer to start planning new products and new designs for the beer garden.
Everyone on staff is expected to work on game days and SCONNIEBAR may even hire former employees for the day, Simon-Wambach said.
SCONNIEBAR works with a private security firm to make sure the establishment is under capacity and watch over the customers, Simon-Wambach said.
“Last year we were pretty lucky and didn’t have any trouble until the last game when a fight broke out,” Simon-Wambach said.
He added that he large number of experienced staff broke it up smoothly.
SCONNIEBAR does advertising for other sports as well, such as boy’s basketball, according to Simon-Wambach.