Shuckin’ Shack – A New Game-Day Favorite
Every year, football season is a prime opportunity to spice things up at any bar or restaurant, but you have to go about it with a strategy. Otherwise, you’ll fumble the ball in a matter of weeks if you don’t step your game up from the kickoff. Sports bars are a dime a dozen, and the numbers show that most of them never make it off the ground, but why?
Mainly, most places with an atmosphere that appeals to sports fans have terrible food, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll stick to fried appetizers and beer nuts only. So, there’s a perfect opening to offer guests a better dining experience than they expected right at the top of the menu.
Second, popular sports hangouts almost never tweak their menu and entertainments to the local market – and worst of all neglect their regulars who would have kept coming back were it not for a new Shuckin’ Shack seafood restaurant franchise opening up across town.
And finally, the biggest mistake of all is to forget about family patrons who would usually come by the dozen for every birthday and homecoming game – but they’ll go to Shuckin’ Shack instead every time.
Our Franchise Owners are reporting that more and more local sports fans are choosing their Shuckin’ Shack seafood restaurant franchise over typical sports bars to come to watch the big game. Here’s their official playbook for establishing your Shuckin’ Shack location as the place to be on Game Day.
Start with an All-Pro Menu
If you go into a football game soft, you won’t make it past the first series and pull a hammy on the 2nd down. Likewise, if you try to attract sports fans without high-quality, fresh seafood on the menu, you’ll end up with a bar as empty as a Jacksonville Jaguars game. And those go for about $30-40 these days.
When you have an all-pro menu from the kickoff, you’re already ahead of the competition. Most places never step out of the box and try something different, like our spicy Sharkbite Shrimp starter. And why settle for chips and salsa at some run-down dive when you can come to one of our locations and chow down on a creamy Cold Crab Dip instead?
At Shuckin’ Shack, we give you a deep roster of game-day favorites, from mouth-watering appetizers and our signature oysters that are perfect for sharing to amazing entrees like the Surf N’ Turf or any one of our shellfish entrees in Old Bay sauce.
Don’t worry if football season has already started because every sport has a playbook that’s pretty straightforward – give your guests what they want and then exceed those expectations every time they step into the bar.
We’ll start with the NCAA because that’s where you have a chance to attract families and larger groups. We’re talking filled 10-top tables every Saturday if you do it right.
College football is absolutely its own thing, and to be honest, it can be the most fun crowd you’ll ever serve. The pomp and circumstance aside, people are deeply, intensely loyal to their favorite teams and alma maters, so there’s the opening right away.
You could do a standard promo during a rivalry game and give families door prizes like little toy footballs emblazoned with the rival teams’ logos. Anything that matches the energy of a college game works great. If you’ve never been to a good one, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.
That said, your NFL crowd is totally different and notoriously tricky to please until you establish a rhythm with how you position certain menu items throughout the day.
For example, Bloody Marys go fast if Mom and Pop take it a little too far at the Steelers game and feel comfortable enough to come in for a noon kickoff. But you don’t push Bloodies after about 3 p.m., or they’ll never sell, so what’s the menu pairing in the early afternoons?
Shuckin’ Shack Hangover Fries, anyone? It’s one of our more popular starters and comes with queso, bacon, jalapenos, and a fried egg on top of it all. Stinky Pete’s Sports Bar down the street won’t even come close to competing with an all-star appetizer like that.
The trick with the NFL crowd is that creating a buzz works best when the day climbs like a crescendo with the good times and great vibes rising all the way up until the Sunday night game. To do that, you have to know your guests, your fans, and your local market, so ask them what they’d like to see next week! And you’re off to the races from there.
If you do it right, you’ll have to accept reservations at the bar top for the Super Bowl because your restaurant will have an undeniable electric atmosphere with great food and service.
An NFL fan worth his salt will eventually camp out at the bar top for hours and sip on ice-cold draft Budweisers and order steamed oysters all the way.
The Major League Baseball crowd is yet another set because they’re the ones who will be perched on a barstool like a gull when business is slow, and you’re preparing for the evening rush.
The thing about baseball is that it’s a long season…like, a reeeeeeally long season that spans half the year, so with those fans, you want to lean towards a more consistent but ultra laid-back experience.
It’s nice and all, but you don’t even have to turn the volume up on the game for some baseball fans. They’re in it for the conversation, for the getaway at happy hour after 10 hours on the job, or just killing a summer Sunday afternoon before football season starts.
Get creative with audibles
What’s great about the restaurant business is that it’s full of surprises and unforeseen challenges and opportunities, so be ready to get creative with audibles.
Just as in football, sometimes you have to change up the plays a bit to get the most out of your team. Getting creative with menu offerings, specials, giveaways, and more can help you strengthen your reputation as a go-to game-day spot. Eventually, you’ll get enough regulars coming in to kick back and watch the game that the place begins to form its own vibe that appeals to the sports fan market.
If you’ve been thinking about opening a local gathering place for sports fans, skip the sports bar route and shake things up with a Shuckin’ Shack in your community. Visit our franchise website for more information.