810 Billiards Bowling Was Built To Thrive in Any Economy

With multiple revenue streams, a cost-efficient build-out process and economical operations, this bar franchise knows how to win

(Franchise Buy) - By 3. Updated Apr 26, 2021

810 Billiards & Bowling Was Built To Thrive in Any Economy

With multiple revenue streams, a cost-efficient build-out process and economical operations, this bar franchise knows how to win.


The last year certainly hasn’t been easy for restaurants, and 810 Billiards & Bowling, the rapidly expanding South Carolina-based restaurant-and-entertainment franchise, wasn’t immune to 2020’s challenges.

But while 100,000 restaurants folded within the last year — including other activity-based concepts like Punchbowl Social — this upstart brand’s stores remained cash flow-positive, and plans to launch new locations across the country continue at full steam ahead.

Was it luck or skill that kept this concept chugging along against the headwinds? Neither. The brand was built to withstand economic ups and downs, said company executives. 

“We were able to mitigate the pain a lot better than most of our competitors because of a flatter and more dynamic cost base and operational structure,” said 810 Billiards & Bowling president Mike Siniscalchi. “We didn't have a magic wand to solve COVID-19, but we did have more flexibility on the operations and cost side.”

“While COVID-19 certainly impacted us, in a sense it served to validate our unit-economic resiliency as all of our units were able to remain cash positive, even despite difficult restrictions placed on our operations,” said Joel Neumann, franchise director with Franchise Finders.

Here are some of the reasons 810 positions itself as a recession-resistant investment. 

More Revenue Streams, More Revenue

810 isn’t just an entertainment center with games and billiards, nor is it just a restaurant. It’s also a bar. For 810, that means it has a mix of consumer offerings, allowing it to rely on certain income streams to perk up when others are down. 

In fact, bars tend to be counter-cyclical, meaning they’re a safe harbor during economic uncertainty. That’s probably because of an affordable distraction from economic troubles and a relatively inexpensive evening out compared to other forms of out-of-home entertainment, said Siniscalchi. Compared to a traditional bowling center, bar sales are more core to the 810 model and therefore help buoy overall volume and traffic. 

Affordable Family Fun 

During economic uncertainty, family budgets tighten. Every dollar matters. While that trip to Disney World may be out this year, the family can still afford a night of bowling and dinner. 

“During tough economic times, people still want to have fun. They just hope to get more out of their dollar,” said Siniscalchi. “So, they still want to take the kids out once a week or go on a date night. We represent an affordable option for that, and they get a lot of bang for their buck for an upscale entertainment environment.”

For example, Siniscalchi said that a bowling game at 810 is typically 30% cheaper than games at competitors like Main Event or Lucky Strike, and at the bar, the difference can be more staggering. Outside of happy hour, a bottle of domestic beer is typically $3.50 at 810, while their competitors offer the same drink for twice that amount or more, depending on the market.

A Franchise Built for Value 

Siniscalchi says it’s no accident that 810 is able to offer lower prices with the same upscale feel. It’s the way they designed the business.

For instance, a build-out for an 810 location is less expensive than its competitors. 810 has a corporate architecture team that designs all of the stores on a fixed-fee basis. They also design a custom bowling furniture package, have committed to long-term pricing agreements with equipment manufacturers and installers, and leverage their large footprint to obtain significant landlord contributions toward build-outs. These measures save the franchise owner money for an initial investment, but it also helps lower operational costs over time. 

“When everyone's competing for that scarce entertainment dollar from the customer, we're in a great position because we can deliver the most bang for the customer's buck and still remain healthy and financially viable because of our more efficient build-out and operating structure,” he said.

As another example, Siniscalchi says 810 ditched generic point-of-sale software systems, opting instead to tailor modern technology platforms to the specific needs of their unique concept. This allows team members to more easily conduct transactions in a dynamic environment, where customers move around between activities during their visits. 

“We went with a new scalable, from-the-ground-up solution that was catered specifically to the needs of our business,” said Siniscalchi. “That allowed us to reduce wasted steps and wasted time for our staff across the organization, while also delivering better customer service.” 

By building a location with the goal to be cost-effective for the operator and value-minded for customers, the company believes it is poised for enormous growth. 

“As the country starts to see a light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel and the economy freeze starts to thaw, we’re coming out in a strong position,” said Siniscalchi. “Our appeal is stronger than ever based on the growth we’re seeing. People see it as a bellwether investment and a great revenue generator in good times and bad.” 

“I have seen a wide variety of franchises in my many years in franchise development. 810 provides a level and culture of support and training that is beyond what most franchisors deliver,” said Neumann. “Once open, 810 is not the brand that franchisees can expect to see only when there is a problem – the corporate team visits franchisees regularly for ongoing coaching and performance evaluation.”

The initial investment to franchise with 810 Billiards & Bowling ranges from $1.8 million to $3 million, including a $50,000 franchise fee. Franchisees will find a high margin of revenue streams through the games, early positive cash flow, and long-term security. For more information please visit 810bowling.com/franchising.

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