Though the footprint has shrunk, the CEO believes World of Beer is “stronger today than we ever were in many ways.” As an example, the chain earned $308,000 in off-premises sales in 2019, but that grew to $1.35 million in 2020 and $2.1 million in 2021.
“This is a healthier brand today with a lot of momentum, and 48 locations is a powerful entity,” Avery said. “ … We’ve got some strong unit economics that we’ve been working on for years, and it’s become a very defined concept.”
The latest prototype is 4,000 to 5,000 square feet, and aims for $3 million to $4.5 million in AUV, 14-15 percent in restaurant-level EBITDA margin, $400,000-$500,000 in restaurant-level EBITDA, $1.6 million in building costs, and 30-35 percent in cash-on-cash returns.
Seven stores are under construction and scheduled to open in 2022. Of that, four are company-owned and three are franchises. Additionally, five units—three corporate and two franchises—have signed leases for 2022 and 2023.
“We are on a pretty strong growth trajectory at this point,” Avery said.
Avery referred to World of Beer’s food as a “powerful, driving force for our business.” The menu features a variety of categories, including tacos, bowls, burgers, flatbreads, handhelds (Chipotle Chicken Sandwich, Crispy Buffalo Chicken Sandwich), Fresh Greens (Asian Chicken Salad, The WOB Cobb), and fork and knife (IPA Salmon, Ribeye, Steak Frites). For weekend brunch, there’s the Chicken & Waffle Sandwich, Applewood Bacon Benedict, Steak & Egg Breakfast Bowl, Sweet Cream Pancakes, and more.
According to the company, 85 percent of customers visit for more than a drink.
“It’s definitely above what people expect,” Avery said. “All the time, I didn’t expect this kind of quality, flavors, and these prices. The food needs to continue to evolve. And we have what is a manageable pace of evolution and innovation. We constantly keep tabs with our operators to make sure that we’re not pressing the level of complexity in too hard of a direction.”
In addition to food and spirits comprising two-thirds of sales, draft beer mixed 25 percent, followed by bottled beer (6 percent), wine (2 percent), and other (1 percent). Happy Hour is the best-selling daypart at 36.7 percent. Next on the list are dinner (24.8 percent), lunch (20.7 percent), and late-night (17.7 percent).
Because of COVID, World of Beer has seen a drop in late-night sales, but those decreases have been offset by notable increases in happy hour, dinner, and the strength of weekend brunch, which takes advantage of restaurants’ sizable patios.
Avery said World of Beer is not a “downscale, cheap furniture, fixture place” or a “polished, intimidating environment.” He thinks the brand is positioned right in the middle, and accessible to most.
“We’re not so reliant on craft beer and the ups and downs and the innuendos of craft beer,” Avery said. “We’re used for multiple occasions throughout the day and for various products.”