Vrankin says that when he started in the space close to 15 years ago, the focus was on food, and not much attention was spent on the beverage lineup. That’s not the case for Puttshack.
“We spend as much time coming up with quality signature cocktails in our offering as we do the food side,” the CEO notes. “And the food side, we're really focused on how do we differentiate ourselves from what else is out there and the high quality, yet still good casual-dining experience that fits with the overall environment.”
After entertainment and food/beverage, Vrankin says the final component that sets Puttshack apart is the guest experience. He explains that from the time customers walk in, the vibe and energy is fueled by ambience, creative music selection, and employees that engage with guests, whether they’re deciding the next move on the course, or choosing a menu option.
“The reality is, it isn't rocket science of saying, ‘Hey, good game, good food and beverage, good guest service experience,’ but I don't think that there's too many concepts that have the ability or who have executed all three of those really well,” Vrankin says. “And I think we have a phenomenal opportunity to do that.”
Puttshack opened three locations in London before entering the U.S. with an Atlanta-based store this past spring. Another venue will open in Chicago later in 2021, followed by Miami and Boston. The emerging brand also signed a lease to open in Nashville in 2023. Puttshack expects to have nine locations open by the end of 2022, and ideally, the chain will debut between 10 and 12 stores annually beginning in 2023. The strategy is to focus on top markets in the North, South, East, and West so the brand can establish itself in all parts of the country.
So far, Puttshack has seen positive results in the U.S. Vrankin says Atlanta’s success has “blown the doors off of what our expectations were.” The location is averaging more than 1,000 visitors per day—pacing way above what Puttshack had previously modeled.
Going forward, Puttshack’s growth will be backed by a $60 million investment, led by equity firm Promethean Investments. The growth capital round essentially closed before Atlanta even opened, which Vrankin says is a testament to the opportunity and fundamentals of the business.
“We see a terrific opportunity as we are coming out of the pandemic in what social entertainment opportunities are within the retail space, as well as the compelling opportunity that it creates with the guests, because I really think people are looking for experiences now,” Vrankin says. “I think concepts were always available in the social entertainment space, but I think people tended to take it for granted, ‘Oh I can do it at any time,’ and I think people are placing higher value now on things where they are actually engaged and connecting closer with friends and family. So it's a terrific opportunity for us.”