Oche’s four locations are thousands of miles apart, but Warfield says each store has proven to be equally as compelling to consumers. Because all units are doing “incredibly well” in different continents, the CEO feels confident in the concept’s ability to enter the U.S. and deliver the same proposition to franchisees. The brand will leverage an experienced leadership group that collectively has prior experiences at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, Burger King, PizzaExpress, and Walmart.
The domestic journey isn't theoretical either. Oche opened its first U.S. location last year in Miami with 13 tech-driven dart booths, food items like Sweet Chili Prawns Mofongo and the Wagyu Burger, and beverages, such as Mango Tip and Tamarind Sling.
The outlet closed because the landlord sold the building, but not before Oche gathered enough positive results.
“We were delighted with the response,” Warfield says. “When people tried it and they got that combination of what I've described before—of the fantastic food, the great service, the game itself—they not only thought it was a unique experience, but a really, really enjoyable one. And the feedback was there's nothing like this, and they loved it as a result.”
The CEO feels the brand would work in any U.S. geography, including a potential return to Miami. Warfield, who recently attended a franchising conference in Las Vegas, says conversations are beginning, and the company believes it could “get into a good situation through the course of this year.”
Ideal franchisees have hospitality-based backgrounds and a defined geographic area in mind. Experience with combining food and beverage with entertainment is a plus, but isn’t necessarily mandatory since “the world of competitive socializing is at the beginning of its growth journey,” Warfield says.
“[The market] really could be as big or as small dependent upon the size of the franchise partners that we find,” Warfield says. “ … The financial benefit for a franchisee lies in the fact that they make money from the [food and beverage] and the revenue from the gaming is cost of goods free, hence a great EBiT and return for capital.”
Warfield recalls that much of his Topgolf days were spent taking the U.S. business and building it around the world, and learning to take a core proposition and tailoring it to a local environment—not too far off from what he’s trying to accomplish with Oche. Both companies also cater to a younger age group that wants to use its disposable income on experiences as opposed to material things.
In many ways, the CEO says, what Topgolf did for golf entertainment, Oche is trying to do the same in the dart space.
“I'm encouraged by the interest that we've already started to get in the brand, and people are getting the proposition and how clearly we are differentiated to many things out there,” Warfield says. “My ambition would be that we translate a lot of conversations into some multi-unit franchise contracts and we can start seeing some venues open in the U.S. this year.”