- Pinstripes will reopen all of its 13 locations in the U.S. on Friday, according to a press release emailed to Restaurant Dive. On March 16, Pinstripes temporarily closed all of its locations in nine states following state mandated orders, Dale Schwartz, Pinstripes CEO, told Restaurant Dive in an email. While closed, it reimagined its spaces to comply with COVID-19 safety standards and developed a strategic relaunch plan with new menu and game offerings for Pinstripes guests for their homes or offices, he said.
- In addition to onsite dining and entertainment, the eatertainment chain will offer off-site catering packages, curbside pickup and no-contact delivery with DoorDash, Uber Eats and Grubhub. It will also offer eat and play packages that come with a selection of food and $50 gift certificate to use toward bowling and bocce for home and office gatherings of eight or 16 guests, as well as take-and-bake carryout or delivery packages. For onsite dining, the company expanded patio spaces in various locations that have outdoor bocce courts, fire pits and outside bar access. It will also provide spaces for office workers who have been working from home to use video conferencing and wireless internet access.
- The safety precautions put into place include reduced seating capacity with a minimum of two lanes between each party's designated area, two hours of playtime at bowling and bocce sites with 30 minutes between reservations for cleaning and a designated team member who will sanitize used bowling balls. Locations will open at 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, with closing hours varying by location.
Pinstripes has placed itself in a strong financial position. It raised $25 million in minority equity from real estate groups as of the end of 2019. Additionally, it received between $5 million and $10 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans, according to search tool Skip. Operationally, the creation of several different off-premise channels could allow Pinstripes to stay open if dining room openings are rolled back with the rise in coronavirus cases.
The chain is relying on its average 30,0000-square-foot unit size to allow for social distancing, a benefit that could give it and similar eatertainment chains a leg up on casual dining chains with smaller dining rooms. By comparison, Punch Bowl Social's large floor plans, which tend to be around 25,000 square feet, will allow it to reopen with reduced capacity, while still having 600 people onsite.
Pinstripes' partnerships with real estate developers put it in a unique position, even during an economic downturn. Its expansion is tied to a future development's overall timeline, and developers have skin in the game in terms of the overall success of new and existing locations, which also benefits the chain. It also aims for high average unit volumes of $10 million, which have allowed it to open fewer locations than a QSR to grow overall sales volume.
The company's creation of off-premise channels is part of a growing trend to provide offsite entertainment. Main Event, via Uber Eats, began offering curbside pick up at its 36 locations this week, along with delivery of pizza, wings, burgers and kids' and games such as mini laser tag and Velcro darts, according to Restaurant Business. Chuck E. Cheese attempted to provide birthday packages for delivery, but its parent company still declared bankruptcy.
But much like the rest of the industry, Pinstripes has faced its own difficulties.
"The past four months have been incredibly challenging for the industry," Schwartz said. "We foresee the rest of this year to remain challenging, and we will be highly sensitive to our cost management and preservation of our Pinstripes team members and the company culture that we value."
But Pinstripes' expansion plans won't likely be disrupted in the long term. While the company had plans to open locations in Aventura, Florida, and La Jolla, California, this year, these openings will be pushed back to 2021 instead, Schwartz said. Other sites planned for 2021 or later may be affected, but in general, the company has a pipeline of 25 units in Class A developments around the country, so it will be a matter of when, and not if, these projects proceed, Schwartz said.