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Podcast: Punch Bowl Social founder delves into Cracker Barrel deal, podcasts

In this episode of Extra Serving, senior editor Ron Ruggless speaks with CEO Robert Thompson about how he initiated the 50-year-old family-dining brand’s $140M investment.

Listen to this podcast on Apple Podcast or SoundCloud (below).

With the introduction of a smaller footprint and a new financial partnership with a 50-year-old family-dining brand, trendy Punch Bowl Social is positioning itself as a brand for Millennials.

Robert Thompson, CEO of the Denver-based restaurant-entertainment brand he founded in 2012, sat down to talk with Nation’s Restaurant News before the opening of the 24,000-square-foot Punch Bowl Social in Dallas in June and the first smaller version, a 12,500-square-foot venue, in Fort Worth, Texas, in July.

Between opening the 17th and 18th’ units of the brand, Punch Bowl Social on July 23 announced it had entered into a partnership with Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc., a family-dining brand founded in 1969, to take a non-controlling position in the newer concept and to invest up to $140 million to acquire its initial stake from private-equity firm L Catterton.

Thompson said he contacted Cracker Barrel CEO Sandra Cochran, having never met her, and asked for a meeting, an action that set the deal in motion.

His advice to entrepreneurs is to find the fortitude to not be afraid to hear the word no.

Punch_Bowl_Social_FWTX_Interiors-71.jpg“There’s no such thing as being welcomed into someone’s house — or into their family or to shake their hand — without knocking on the door,” he says in the Extra Serving podcast. “Just don’t be afraid to ask the question because of the old maxim: ‘The answer to every question unasked is no.’”

Thompson also talks about creating a new “jewel box” space in the Punch Bowl Social units to allow guests to record their podcasts.

To learn more about the Thompson’s vision for the future of Punch Bowl Social and how he launched the Cracker Barrel deal, click on our Extra Serving podcast.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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