In place of putt-putt, cornhole, and the usual trappings of eatertainment restaurants, Tom’s Watch Bar delivers on an immersive, digital experience. Each location features an oversized stadium screen plus 360-degree viewing rooms, chock full of multiple televisions. The brand has taken pains to cement this positioning, even going as far as changing its original name, Tom’s Urban, in 2019.
From the beginning, cofounder Tom Ryan recognized that the brand would face an unusual set of challenges in attracting guests. While golf and other game-peddling brands could easily promise a unique experience, Tom’s had to bring a new dimension to sports viewing—one that could lure patrons away from their own big-screen TVs.
“This emerging new sports enthusiast customer is really looking for an experience and ability to plan that experience,” Ryan said at the ICR Conference.
Tom’s Watch Bar has catered to this particular consumer by building an expansive, all-day menu of elevated sports grill classics, doubling down on game-viewing options, and opening locations close to sports arenas and stadiums. The brand has locations at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles and Coors Field in Denver, as well as outposts, such as in Minneapolis and D.C., that are mere blocks from a sports facility.
In addition to pursuing sports fanatics, Tom’s is also courting the teams they’re cheering and watching through multiple partnerships; it’s now the official Game Day Headquarters for the Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rockies, and Colorado Avalanche, as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx, and Minnesota Wild.
“We build these partnerships, which really allows us to market directly to their fan bases, and it's that kind of target marketing and that kind of fan experience extension for the team brands that makes us really great partners for them,” Ryan said. “As we go across the country now, they’re seeking us out.”
With eight locations, Tom’s footprint now spans the country with outposts on both coasts. At press time, it had half a dozen units in the pipeline, four of which will be in new markets, including Houston; Orlando, Florida; Pittsburgh; and Sacramento, California. Two additional D.C.-area stores are also slated to debut in 2023. At ICR, Ryan said that once all these locations are up and running, system-wide sales should eclipse $100 million.
The key is just first getting people in the door. From there, Tom’s Watch Bar speaks for itself.
“There is such a huge demand for premium watching,” Ryan said. “We typically just market the events for people to come. Once they're there, when they're hit with this array of screenplay, it takes your breath away.”