Pinstripes was founded in Northbrook, Illinois, in 2007.

With New Investor, Pinstripes Says it's Growing Again

The eatertainment chain has six locations slated for the next 12 months.

Eatertainment chain Pinstripes on Wednesday announced it secured an investment from Granite Creek Capital Partners. The bowling and bocce brand, which focuses on Italian-American cuisine, operates 13 locations. 

Pinstripes had 10 stores in fall 2019 when it sold a minority state to Simon Property Group. That deal marked the Chicago-based brand’s second strategic partnership in six months following a similar multi-lease/minority equity investment transaction with Brookfield Properties in April. Combined, Pinstripes noted then the agreements represented six future restaurants and $15 million in minority equity.

COVID-19, however, stalled an eventful stretch. Pinstripes opened three units in 2019 (Houston; San Mateo, California; and Norwalk Connecticut). Two were on deck for 2020, with an acceleration to five to seven openings per year expected to follow.

READ MORE: Pinstripes’ Journey from Best in Class to Safest in Class

In all, the 15 months leading up to February saw Pinstripes raise $25 million of minority equity from real-estate firms and retail groups, including Hudson's Bay, Brookfield Properties, and Simon Property Group.

Pinstripes generated systemwide sales of $44 million in 2019, according to FoodserviceResults—a 23.9 percent year-over-year jump. So essentially, the brand remained at 13 locations from COVID’s onset forward.

But Pinstripes, founded in Northbrook, Illinois, in 2007, by Dale Schwartz, who grew up in Cleveland, wanted to open a bowling alley, and owned the Pinstripes name since 1988, said Wednesday’s announcement will kickstart expansion again. Six stores are under construction, the company said, and all project to open within the next 12 months. It will use proceeds from the Granite Creek deal to finance growth.

“Pinstripes has created a unique and exciting family entertainment concept that provides a variety of activities that everyone can enjoy,” said Brian Boorstein, partner and cofounder at Granite Creek, in a statement. “The quality and attention to detail found at every Pinstripes location across the country is a direct testament to the passion of the team and their ability to consistently deliver upscale dining combined with fun, interactive experiences.”

“With new construction underway at six new locations across three states, we are excited to replicate the success that we have seen at our existing venues,” added Dale Schwartz, the chain’s CEO. “As we move into this next phase of growth, investments such as Granite Creek’s are instrumental to our expansion efforts.”

Pinstripe venues, which range from 28,000–38,000 square feet, boast capacity of near 1,000 people per location. They’re high-traffic, socially engaging, large-scale gathering spots. Outdoor spaces tack on as 15,000 square feet in certain locations, too. Pinstripes expanded patios to feature outdoor bocce courts, fire pits, and outside bar access during the pandemic.

One of Pinstripes early board members was the founder of Maggiano’s. Another was Jack Greenberg, the former chairman and CEO of McDonald’s.

Pinstripes led with bocce, known as lawn bowling, to differentiate from other concepts and to bring in an Italian element to match its menu. The chain is known for living on the high-end of the eatertainment spectrum, with menu features ranging from filet mignon to maple-glazed salmon; ricotta cheese gnocchi with tuna; flatbreads; wood-fired pizzas; salads and pastas.

Previously, Schwartz told FSR Pinstripes had designs to open 100 units nationwide across a two-decade window, in additional to global growth. London, German, Prague, Mexico City, and Canada were among the international targets.

Eleven of Pinstripes’ 13 locations are in suburban locales. When it began striking deals, the company said real estate developers were approaching Pinstripes as an option to anchor complexes in light of evolving foot traffic trends—or to become destination attractions that could lure new customers and drive spillover traffic. Put differently, Pinstripes wanted to mix into a co-tenant ecosystem that shared consistent and high-quality footfall. 

The brand closed its entire system on March 16 and didn’t reopen until July 17. Exactly a week before, Pinstripes turned on a countdown across marketing. The entire chain reopened in one day, with 15-foot high “we’re open” flags planted out front. It also introduced a promotion where any guest who spent $100 on catering received a $50 gift certificate to use on their next visit.

The eatertainment sector in general has witnessed a good deal of movement of late. Dave & Buster's announced last April it agreed to spend $835 million to acquire peer chain Main Event from Ardent Leisure Group Limited and RedBird Capital Partners. The company’s systemwide same-store sales increased 19 percent in Q4 year-over-year and 14.1 percent against 2019.  It recorded $564 million in Q4 revenue and $138 million in adjusted EBITDA—both records thanks to the addition of Main Event. For the full fiscal 2022, the brand reported revenue of $2 billion, an increase of 50.6 percent year-over-year and a bump of 45 percent compared to 2019. Dave & Buster's ended Q4 with 152 stores while Main Event operated 55. The plan for 2023 being to open 16 stores, including 11 Dave & Buster's and five Main Event locations. 

Punch Bowl Social claims to be on the comeback trail as well following bankruptcy proceedings.