Basham views Glory Days as a valuable concept because of its clientele and market versatility. Danker agrees, and says the demographics stretch from toddlers to elderly.
“We can get little Johnny with the little league or a girls’ soccer team, 4 or 5 years old,” Danker says. “We show the Cartoon Network in our stores or you can have grandpa in there with the grandkids and he'd feel comfortable. Because on the menu, there's a little bit of something for everybody. We have a kids menu and salads and burgers and different things. We cover everything there on the menu for the families. And really it would work whether it's El Paso, Texas, Long Island, or probably Seattle, Washington. I mean really, families and sports. Come watch your favorite team or hang out with your buddies after the softball game.”
Glory Days experienced notable differences in its COVID journey based on geography. Restaurants switched to Olo a couple of months prior to the pandemic beginning, making the transition from 10-15 percent off-premises to 100 percent a much smoother transition. In Maryland and Virginia, the 22 corporate locations were forced to lay off roughly 1,500 employees. Managers were kept on staff and converted into cooks and other various hourly team member roles. Gradually, restaurants crawled out of the hole, and to-go has proven sticky at 30-33 percent. Mandates were so tight in these markets that Glory Days actually played a role in forming the Maryland Restaurant Coalition, which fought against dining restrictions.
The Florida market allowed for more success, not only because of the warmer weather and use of outdoor patios, but because of the looser guidelines throughout COVID. That includes business-friendly rules on alcohol to-go.
“You can imagine people stuck in their homes and everything, being able to get some margaritas when they got their food really resonated well,” Basham says. “So we were selling a lot of those. That was a big boost for us.”
As for future development, Glory Days wants to fill in the East Coast, from Virginia to Florida. Even before the transaction, Basham and Mcpherson believed the sports bar could place 40-50 restaurants in the Sunshine state. Glory Days will start at the company level, and then it will expand more on the franchising side with proven operators, Basham says.
“First priority is to get everybody on the same page in terms of the people side of the business and all the other stuff goes along with it and have a consistent product and consistent look and everything else,” Basham says.
Both Danker and Basham have been in the industry for decades, and neither have lost their passion for food and people. Danker compares it to coaching little league, which he and his brother used to do for their kids. It’s the same way in restaurants when they mentor high school and college students and work to put a solid team together.
Basham sums it up with an expression he recently heard—“When you’re retired, you’re tired.” And he’s not tired yet.
“I'm still having a lot of fun,” Basham says. “I've got great people. Jesse's [Mcpherson] put together a great team to move Glory Days into the future. It’s fun being around young people that still have a lot of energy and a lot of gas in the tank so to speak. To work with people like that, it energizes me. And also providing opportunities; when I was young and in the restaurant business, there were people around who provided a lot of opportunities, which gave me a chance to be successful. And I like doing that for other people who want to be successful. I want to help them share in the success.”