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Restaurants gear up for Super Bowl Sunday

Game-day plans includes deals, giveaways and contests

Restaurant chains have their promotional game plans in place for Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV, and they range from deals and giveaways to eating competitions.

Papa John’s, which is in its first year of a multi-year sponsorship with the National Football League, is giving away a $45 gift card every 45 seconds and offering $10 large pizzas.

Beginning at 10 a.m. EST on Super Bowl Sunday, every customer who places an order online becomes eligible to win. The giveaway runs until 9:59 p.m. EST.

And if the championship matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers goes into overtime, Papa John’s will give a free large pizza to everyone who registers for Papa Points.

“Since Papa John’s is the ‘official pizza’ of Super Bowl XLV,” said Andrew Varga, chief marketing officer for the Louisville, Ky.-based company, “we want to make this the best Super Bowl ever for NFL fans everywhere.”

Dallas-based Pizza Hut, a division of Yum! Brands Inc., said it expects to take more than 1.3 million pizza orders on Super Bowl day, a 60-percent increase over a typical Sunday.

Pizza Hut said the 120,000 U.S. employees who are working Sunday are expected to sell around 270,000 of its Big Dipper pizzas, a new offering with 24 strips and four cups of marinara sauce for $12.

Even burrito purveyors are getting in on the Super Bowl action.

In Pittsburgh, Pa., a friendly wager between two Qdoba Mexican Grill franchisees — Chad Brooks of Pittsburgh and Ron Stokes of Wisconsin — has turned into the first Qdoba Burrito Bowl, set for Saturday.

A Pittsburgh burrito-eating champion and a Green Bay champion will be crowned before facing off against each other in a “live” eating competition via Skype. The winner will get a 55-inch LCD TV and a game-day party catered entirely by Qdoba.

Qdoba is owned by San Diego-based Jack in the Box Inc., whose burger chain also has plans for the big game, including a new TV and a new burger.

The chain’s new All-American Jack burger includes two beef patties with American and Swiss-style cheese, tomato, lettuce and pickles. Beginning Thursday, it will be offered as the All-American Jack Combo, including a 20-ounce beverage and a small order of fries, for $4.99 for a limited time.

The upcoming Jack in the Box ad also highlights a sweepstakes for a spring break vacation in Cancun, Mexico, for a winner and 10 friends.

Denny’s, a more than 1,600-unit family-dining chain, is offering a buy-one-get-one-for-45-cents “Build Your Own Grand Slam” deal at its restaurants in the Dallas area, which is hosting this year’s Super Bowl.

Denny’s will start the offer at 4:50 p.m. CST on Sunday, about 45 minutes before the Super Bowl kickoff, and extend it for 45 hours at 45 Dallas-area Denny’s restaurants.

Regional chains also are calling a few plays in the Super Bowl action. The Carolina Ale House chain, owned by LM Restaurants of Raleigh, N.C., will kick off its 3rd annual Super Sunday TV Giveaway at its eight units in North Carolina.

Guests who go to the restaurant to watch the game will be eligible to win a 42-inch flat-screen television at halftime.

“Traditionally, the Super Bowl has been a game where people host watch-parties at home,” said Jim Brown, district manager for the Carolina Ale House. “We have found that a giveaway of this level adds to the excitement for our guests as well as a great reason to leave home and let us do the entertaining.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected].

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