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Public Pinstripes sees growth in bocce, bowling and bistro

Founder and CEO Dale Schwartz combines entertainment with Italian-American food in brand


Pinstripes Inc., which went public at the beginning of the year, plans to expand its bowling-bocce-bistro concept both domestically and abroad, the founder said recently.

“We're a unique best-in-class combination of phenomenal cuisine and entertainment — in our case bowling, bocce [ball] and combining restaurant business with private-event business, which is also an important component,” said Dale Schwartz, founder, and CEO, in an interview.

Northbrook, Ill.-based Pinstripes Inc. went public over the New Year in a special purpose acquisition corporation, or SPAC, deal with Banyan Acquisition Corp. In connection with the business combination, Pinstripes raised more than $70 million to support the company’s growth plans and the opening of additional locations. As part of those proceeds, Pinstripes has obtained a $50 million senior secured loan due 2028 from Oaktree Capital Management L.P.

“Going public, just raising some permanent capital and having a stronger balance sheet, sets us up now for the next 20-30 years to just keep doing our magic both in the U.S. and we'll start playing, pun intended, overseas in the not too far future,” Schwartz said.

Pinstripes opens its 17th venue in Orlando, Fla., this month. The next openings are planned for Coral Gables, Fla., and Walnut Creek, Fla., in the summer, he said.

“We'll be opening six to eight locations a year every calendar year starting this calendar ‘24 all in the U.S., all company-owned,” Schwartz said. He sees 150 Pinstripes locations over the next 15 to 20 years along with partners overseas for an “asset-light franchise or partnership model.”

Schwartz said Pinstripes continues to refine its locations.

“The first two locations were larger — 38,000 square feet of interior space,” he said. “A sweet spot now is 23,000 to 27,000 square feet. So we've intentionally refined and fine-tuned and gotten a little not smaller but more efficient with some of the real estate space.”

Operationally, Pinstripes also is evolving, Schwartz said.

“The last couple of months we took the buffet of Sunday and we're replicating the buffet Saturday as well,” he said. “Because, certainly post-COVID, people are wanting to gather and larger groups, so that quality buffet, which is not often done, always resonated and helped us build our Sunday business and we're planning to have it even further increase our daytime Saturday F&B business well.”

Schwartz said Pinstripes' ambiance aims for a level of sophisticated fun, including fresh flowers and curated music. “It allows us to host a wedding that might be going on at the same time that there's an 85-year-old’s birthday party,” he said. “We like to see and do it all.”

Food and beverage make up 70% to 75% of the brand’s sales, he noted.

“We lead with our F&B, both for open play and private events,” Schwartz said. “That’s quite different from some other entertainment peers of ours.”

While the menu highlights an Italian-American flair, the food offerings are broad, he added. Best-sellers range from a Super Salad to tenderloin sliders and flatbreads, Schwartz said, and the menu can range from chicken avocado to ahi tuna flatbreads, open-faced salmon sandwich, and a prime rib dip sandwich with horseradish.

The company is investigating how technology, such as projection mapping, and plays a role in the guest experience, Schwartz noted.

“We've spent a lot of time over the years fine-tuning and choreographing all the different components that we do,” he said, “and layering some smart technology over the years to be able to execute and do it even better.”

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on X/Twitter: @RonRuggless

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