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5 Companies That Benefited From the World Cup

Source:  Buffalo Wild Wings

As you probably figured out by now, widely televised sporting events such as the World Cup have a tendency to increase sales of beer, pizza, and bar food. Little doubt that the phones have been ringing off the hook at Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ  ) and Papa John's International (NASDAQ: PZZA  ) , and restaurants such as Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD  ) have been jam-packed. But there are two other restaurants that might be slightly less obvious.

The most obvious
Buffalo Wild Wings, despite the name, is basically a giant sports bar. Yes, this sports bar also happens to specialize in wings, but the more profitable product it sells simply is beer. It just so happens to work out nicely that patrons who happen to like finger foods like wings to go with their beer while their eyes are glued on the TVs.

Four years ago Buffalo Wild Wings benefited from the World Cup. That was when the company and its locations were less popular, soccer was less popular, and the time zone where the sport was being played wasn't nearly as favorable as compared to this year.

It probably doesn't hurt that this year Buffalo Wild Wings specifically promoted itself as the place to watch for the event while partnering with Budweiser and Heineken.

Source: Domino's Pizza

Pizza pizza
It's obvious why delivery is popular during big games. Who wants to be staring at the stove instead of the TV, and what is an easier universal guest-pleaser than pizza? Surprise, surprise, both Domino's Pizza and Papa John's issued press releases related to the World Cup.

Chris Brandon, a Domino's Pizza spokesperson, stated, "Our store team members are ready to make hot, great-tasting pizzas and meals for millions of soccer fans around the world." He pointed out that Domino's Pizza has 10 new innovations since the last World Cup and that Domino's Pizza is the perfect match for watching the games.

Papa John's took it a step further by offering discounts based on the outcome of the games to get people more engaged and to bring more attention to Papa John's.

A bit less obvious (maybe)
Then there are BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ: BJRI  ) and Kona Grill (NASDAQ: KONA  ) . These two fall into what many consider the "upscale casual" niche of the restaurant industry. Guests often come to these two places for a casual meal out but with a touch of class above the regular causal chains such as Chili's or Applebee's.

BJ's Restaurants, though, is also part sports bar. The bar area and TVs are huge, it brews its own beer and can draw large crowds for sporting events. BJ's Restaurants has been struggling of late to turn its same-store sales back into the black, and the World Cup may just be the short-term steroid shot it needs that could bring momentum back if World Cup watchers become repeat guests for other events in the future.

Source: Kona Grill

Meanwhile, Kona Grill is a mixture of American-Asian fusion food, sushi bar, and cocktail lounge. Believe it or not, it does a lot of bar business, with around 30% of its sales from booze, even higher than BJ's Restaurants at 22%. One metric Kona Grill is particularly proud of is its exceptionally high number of regulars and repeat business from the same customers.

Foolish final thoughts
As Fools, we're more interested in the long term than we are in one-quarter wonders. However, events that bring new faces and bodies for the first time into a restaurant could have long-term effects in the form of creating new regulars who return later on. For that reason, all five restaurant chains mentioned here are worth a close watch in the quarters ahead.

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Nickey Friedman

Nickey is a select freelancer for the Fool. She writes about food & beverage, dry bulk shipping, and whatever else floats her boat. After selling four successful restaurants, she turned in her knives for a pen and now puts her passion for food, hospitality, and transportation in writing. You can send email to her at

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