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Pizza is king for Super Bowl bellies

By Aaron Smith, staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Super Bowl Sunday happens to be one of the hungriest days of the year for pizza-lovers, which means a nationwide windfall for pizzerias.

Pie orders typically spike by 35% on the day of the championship game compared to any other given Sunday, according to Jeremy White, editor of Pizza Today, the trade magazine for The National Association of Pizzeria Operators.

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That adds up to quite the feeding frenzy, as Americans consume 30 million pizzas, or 350 slices a second, on an average day, according to the association.

White described pizza as an inexpensive and "communal" food. It's a single pie shared by multiple people. That makes it "quintessential party food" and perfect for Super Bowl parties with their average turnout of 14 revelers, he said.

"The Super Bowl is an occasion that's often spent in the home," said White. "Most people do not go to a bar or restaurant to watch the Super Bowl, but they'll go to a Super Bowl party."

The only other pizza days that come remotely close are Halloween, New Year's Day, New Year's Eve and the day before Thanksgiving, he said. This means that pizzerias coast-to-coast need to get busy for the Sunday rush, when the Indianapolis Colts take on the New Orleans Saints.

"The average staff you have on an average Sunday is not going to be able to handle the orders on a Super Bowl Sunday," said White. "They're most likely bringing in additional drivers and kitchen staff."

That keeps pizza purveyors like Joe Mancino, manager of the family-owned Peppinos pizzeria in Brooklyn very busy.

"We get a lot of families that order from us, and the same people call every year," he said. "It gets crazy."

Mancino said he usually doubles his Super Bowl orders to 100 pies, compared with his average Sunday tally of 50. To match demand, Mancino said he'll double his delivery staff to four.

"You're not going to get rich, but it's a good day," he said.

But the feeding frenzy is relatively short-lived. "After halftime," Mancino said, "it becomes a ghost town." To top of page

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