Over the past three years, Dale Schwartz—founder and CEO of eatertainment concept Pinstripes—found that Zoom meetings and the metaverse go only so far to mimic human connection. A social void was created, and his company has been more than happy to fill that emptiness with its classic bowling, bocce, and Italian food offerings.
“Good old-fashioned gathering and spending quality time together, either over dining or entertainment, has only increased,” Schwartz says. There’s a resurgence in interest and demand, not just for us, but peers of ours, where people and companies want to spend that quality time together.”
Schwartz believes working from home, in some shape or form, is here to stay. Gone are the days of workers venturing into the office five times per week. But that doesn’t spell doom for 14-unit Pinstripes. It’s quite the opposite. Since fewer employees are working in person, corporations are figuring out better ways to maintain culture. That’s where Pinstripes comes in—a place for team-building events and weekday corporate retreats where workers can once again spend time together. The work-from-home shift also means a lift in suburban markets, a trade area where Pinstripes thrives. All of its locations are based in suburban malls and lifestyle centers.
In combination with these post-COVID tailwinds, Pinstripes plans to go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition corporation Banyan Acquisition Corp. If the timeline remains intact, the company should reach the stock market by the end of this year. The brand is currently raising capital and navigating through the SEC, both of which are going well, Schwartz says. The main driver of going public—something Pinstripes has considered for the past three to five years—is to raise permanent capital so that Schwartz and his leadership team can “keep doing our magic” for the next 20-30 years, he says. The chain has aspirations of opening approximately 150 U.S. locations and almost an equal amount overseas in the next couple of decades.
“Some of the brand awareness that will necessarily happen thanks to not just the press but overall consumer sentiment following and seeing us as a public company will be very helpful in terms of awareness and sales,” Schwartz says. “Much the same expected to help us with recruiting and retaining our team members as well.”
There’s no shortage of confidence around Pinstripes becoming a global brand. Before the pandemic, Schwartz was already in active discussions with international developers in Mexico City; Dubai; Sydney, Australia; Canada; and Tel Aviv. His sense was that demand for entertainment and dining was lagging overseas by two or three years. Once COVID hit, that lag time disappeared. Held back by restrictions for so long, guests around the world are more eager than ever to spend money on experiential places.
“All of the same landlords and developers—much the same—want to transform those high quality ‘A’ properties into even better lifestyle centers and add the Pinstripes or the quality hotel or the health club and continue that mixed-use transformation,” Schwartz says. “Those trends are real. [COVID] almost accentuated the interest and need for a lot of these overseas groups to want to do something exciting with us and others.”
In 2023, Pinstripes opened a 30,000-square-foot venue in Canoga Park, California. It’s based at the Westfield Topanga shopping center in the Warner Center district in North Los Angeles. The restaurant features 12 bowling lanes, four bocce courts, a full-service bistro, and event spaces accommodating 20 to 1,200 people. In early December, the brand will open in Aventura, Florida, inside a former Sears that sits between Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s at the Aventura Mall. After that, Pinstripes will take over a former 46,000-square-foot Uniqlo space at Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, a bedroom community close to New York City. Another Florida-based unit will come to Orlando. It will be a ground-up unit located near Target, Shake Shack, and Chick-fil-A, and about half a mile from Disney World’s entrance.
In the first few months of 2024, Pinstripes will enter Coral Gables, Florida, and serve as an anchor alongside Loews Coral Gables Hotel. That will be followed by a unit in Walnut Creek, California, which will be across the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge from the San Mateo location. At this upcoming Golden State venue, Pinstripes will debut inside a former Crate and Barrel that’s next to an Apple store. Later in the year, the company will go to Jacksonville, Florida, and open inside what used to be a West Elm store near Nordstrom. The chain’s other West Coast project will come in Bellevue, Washington, where it plans to open a two-story Pinstripes beside a 42-story Amazon office. Additional unspecified locations in 2024 may open, and the company is also working on filling the pipeline for 2025 and 2026
As the chain opens more locations, its size keeps evolving. The first few stores were close to 40,000 square feet, and for a number of years, the sweet spot was 30,000 square feet to 32,000 square feet. Pinstripes now shoots for 25,000 square feet to 27,000 square feet typically. The one in Bellevue will be 23,000 square feet. All of these configurations vary too. Meaning, one place may be 20,000 square feet on the first floor, but 7,000 square feet on the second level. A different one could be 13,000 square feet each.
“It helps us, flexibility-wise, to be able to get into more projects because of that flexibility,” Schwartz says. “And we also don’t like to just have one size fits all. Despite the fact of being a good number of locations, we don’t want to feel like a chain. We’re more a collection of high-quality venues and as such, we definitely creatively tailor the layout and the design elements to each location. I mean, there’s commonality of design. It’s Napa meets Tuscany, rustic, timeless. So that will never change. But some of the type of furniture or colors the wallpaper or some of the design elements, we’re constantly refining and tailoring at times for a specific market.”
Pinstripes looks to plant flags in markets with income and education levels similar to what Whole Foods prefers, Schwarts says. Additionally, the company wants a dense population in the 10-mile radius around the location and a critical mass of companies and employees that help drive in private event business. There are benefits to clustering stores too. For example, Pinstripes is in Georgetown and also researching the viability of Tyson and Reston, Virginia.
“We’re always looking for a location that’s an oasis,” Schwartz says. “We always look and want something very special and then love to find locations that just have terrific co-tenancy. And often, the co-tenancy, it may be a lifestyle center mall where we can be next to Nordstroms or Apple or Eataly or Lifetime Fitness. Or it may not be a mall. It may be more like Bellevue or Coral Gables that it’s just a terrific mixed-use or a little more of an iconic location that still has the foot traffic and all the benefits. Those are the key pieces that we look for. But it has to be a special location that in our estimation is going to just continue to get better for the next 10-20 years.”
Pinstripes expects 2024 net revenue of about $185 million to $195 million, resulting in projected adjusted EBITDA of $30 million to $33 million, according to an SEC filing. The chain generates AUVs of more than $8 million and venue-level EBITDA margins of over 17 percent. The chain’s revenue splits 75 percent to 25 percent for food and games, respectively.