The reason it’s such an attractive and growing category to fight for share in, CEO Brian Jenkins said, is because, in line with Thompson’s point, “consumers continue to increase spending on experiences.”
It’s the continuation of a trend born out of the recession: Consumers are willing to spend disposable income on social gathering options that don’t break the bank. Eating out, for instance, where older generations would go on vacations.
This is something that extends beyond just millennials, too. According to a survey conducted by food industry market research firm Datassential, nearly 60 percent of all consumers said they were interested in visiting an eatertainment concept, while 30 percent of consumers said they had already visited one. More specifically, around 40 percent of those surveyed said they were interested in visiting an arcade bar, bowling restaurant, or social emporium, while 26 percent were interested in visiting a golf entertainment venue.
Mike Kostyo, the company’s senior publications editor, put stock in the “social media era,” saying “everybody wants to go out and have an experience that they can share with their friends.”
We’re all living our best life on the internet, right? Eatertainment elevates taking a picture of food and saying, “Wish you were here!” to new heights.
One of the realities pressing Dave & Buster’s is the fact that concept differentiation has climbed above segment differentiation in this space, leading to a need for upgraded elements, like VR, and food and beverage improvements, to stand out. The brand’s recently debuted “wow wall” to showcase sporting events is a good example.
Punch Bowl Social has always fit the bill, as Cracker Barrel pointed out numerous times during Tuesday’s call. The chain previously engaged “Top Chef” judge Hugh Acheson to curate its food before he left to focus on other commitments. Sheamus Feely, who held leadership positions at BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and Hillstone Restaurant Group, joined as Punch Bowl Social’s first chief culinary and beverage officer in 2018. Almost 90 percent of the brand’s revenue comes from food and beverage, with items like Chicken ‘N Waffles and Cocoa Dusted Carnitas.
As far as the economics go, Golder said Punch Bowl Social currently reports targeted average-unit volumes in the $7 million to $8 million range, with new unit store level EBITDA excluding pre-opening of 17 percent or higher. Punch Bowl Social plans to open an additional six restaurants by the end of fiscal 2020, too. “We look forward to partnering with Punch Bowl Social to help us scale and achieve its potential,” Golder said.
Which brings up the question, what can Cracker Barrel do for Punch Bowl Social?