Independent restaurants deserve an extra boost.

Every year during “the Big Game,” companies spend billions of dollars on advertising. This year is no different. In fact, 30-second ads for the February 13, 2022 “sporting event whose name we shall not mention because we have not paid for the right to do so” are reportedly going for around $6.5 million. That’s almost $1 million more than last year.  And that’s just the air time.

Don’t get us wrong. We love a great ad, and may just advertise during the game in the future. But this year, we felt the need to invest elsewhere—in the real MVPs who are keeping our families fed, our communities vibrant, and our tables filled with far better nachos than we can make at home. We’re putting our focus on restaurants—the brave entrepreneurs and selfless employees who help make events like this Sunday so special.

Because while we’re at home, chowing down on those takeout nachos and talking about our favorite commercials, tens of thousands of restaurant workers are making it all possible. Yet, for all their hard work, the sad reality is that restaurants are barely eking out enough to stay in business. 

So, here is our plan: We are putting our focus—and our money—on the people who are flipping burgers, slathering wings, running tickets, bagging orders, and working incredibly hard to keep the rest of us fed while we enjoy the game. In honor of the 56th game, we’re adding a $5.60 tip to every order made through our online ordering platform this Sunday. And one of those orders will carry a special $5,600 MVP-sized tip. 

To be clear, this isn’t a discount to consumers masquerading as a “tip.” It’s not an upcharge on the bill so we can skim off a 30 percent commission (we don’t do commissions). These tips are going straight to the restaurants—the real MVPs. We trust that the hardworking, scrappy people who are always there for us will know how to get the maximum value out of a few extra dollars. Because they always do.

This Sunday, we believe what should be grabbing our attention is the fact that our favorite restaurant down the street—the one we always order wings from for our Big Sunday Watch Party—is this close to shutting down. From struggling to fill tables to struggling to fill jobs, they’re limping along like so many other restaurants. According to a recent poll by The National Restaurant Association, 50 percent of restaurants say they may have to close if they don’t get help.

Half! That sounds insane, but it’s a terrifying reality. A reality we cannot accept.

Sure, we know that kicking in an extra tip on a single day is a small gesture. Even ponying up $5,600 for one order is minuscule compared to what restaurants need from all of us. But we figured if we were going to spend money to say something, we’d say this: Restaurants, we see you, we know you’re struggling, and you are our favorite team, the team we are rooting for, today and every day.

Zach Hyman and Matt Hyman are the co-CEOs and co-founders of SpotOn.

Expert Takes, Feature