Now, the brand needed to engineer a way to segment its massive boxes so there could be “safe zones” for groups to hang out with each other, but not necessarily with other guests.
Pinstripes reduced seating capacities for bowling to allow each party a minimum of two lanes, and every group’s designated area is clearly marked. Reservations (bocce as well) have two hours to play and Pinstripes maintains a minimum of 30 minutes between to clean and sanitize.
It also created a concierge service where designated employees sanitize used bowling balls and place a sticker on the ball to indicate it’s been cleaned.
Customers are given gloves to select balls, and only one is allowed per bowler.
Schwartz, whose brother is a surgeon, says the company’s posture from the onset was to have all employees wear masks. It’s felt the same way about guests for at least the past two months.
Patrons can remove the mask at their tables and when they’re dining, but need to put them on if they’re headed to the bathroom, walking in, out, or just exploring the venue in a way they might come into contact with other guests or employees.
It’s a unique maze with eatertainment because the so-called “safe zones” extend beyond just tables to dine at. It’s harder to create pockets for people to bubble in. This could be the bowling lane or a private event space, given consumers often move from one section to another. Kind of like progressing from a table to the bar, only you can’t bowl from your booth the same way you could order a drink from either.
Pinstripes commissioned branded, rich-blue color masks for employees. Similar to outside, there is signage and circles on the floor to remind customers to socially distance and wear masks. Employees were trained to remain stringent, yet polite, Schwartz says. They have spares ready to go if needed and try to diffuse combative situations. But if a guest refuses to align, they’re asked to leave. The reason doesn’t matter, Schwartz says. With children under 2, who are not recommended by officials to wear masks, Pinstripes tries to stress staying in their “safe zones” and with known groups as much as possible.
“I think it’s a responsibility on everybody,” he says. “We’ve always felt we were best in class. We now want to be safest in class.”
On the dining side, Pinstripes tightened menus to improve execution and allow employees to focus on COVID-19 protocols. Where there were roughly 57 SKUs before, there are now 40 or so. And instead of a buffet for Sunday brunch, which was pushing 300–400 covers before the pandemic, Pinstripes switched to 15–20 dishes it can serve.
There are daily food and beverage specials, too. In addition to happy hours (every day but Saturday), Pinstripes rolled some weekly offers, like $12 Tuesday Beer Buckets, Whiskey Wednesdays, Thursday Night Socials, Friday 50/50 Wine, and bottomless mimosas and Bloody Marys on the weekends for brunch.
Pinstripes is leaning into its massive outdoor space as well, which push as much as 15,000 square feet in certain locations. It expanded patios to feature outdoor bocce courts, fire pits, and outside bar access. Additionally, it’s hosting local musicians on Fridays and Saturdays.