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Why Sports Fans are Flocking to Shuckin Shack Oyster Bar

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From a small 900-square-foot dive bar to a thriving seafood restaurant franchise brand with locations across multiple states, it’s safe to say that Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar is doing all right.

Out of 16 locations, 14 are franchised-owned-and-operated and we don’t plan on slowing our growth. We have many more seafood franchise deals in development and would love for you to join our ever-growing family.

But before you do, check out why people love coming to Shuckin’ Shack. And it’s not just for our fresh oysters and cold beer.

It’s Game Day, Baby

Football season presents a spectacular opportunity to liven up any pub or eatery every year, but you have to approach it strategically. If you don’t pick up your game after the kickoff, you’ll fumble the ball in a couple of weeks. Sports bars are plentiful, and statistics suggest that the majority of them never get off the ground. Why is this?

Most sports-themed restaurants serve poor cuisine, so if you know what’s healthy, you’ll stick to fried appetizers and beer nuts exclusively. Hence, right at the top of the menu, there is a fantastic opportunity to provide customers with a better dining experience than they had anticipated.

Second, well-known sports bars rarely adjust their menus and entertainment options to suit the local market. Worst of all, they should have paid more attention to their regulars, who would have continued to frequent the establishment had a new Shuckin’ Shack seafood restaurant franchise not recently opened across the street.

Our franchise owners say that more and more neighborhood sports enthusiasts are coming to their Shuckin’ Shack seafood restaurant business to watch the big game instead of traditional sports bars. Here is their official guide to making your local Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill the place to be on game day.

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We Don’t Play when it Comes to Our Seafood Menu

If you enter a football game hesitantly, you will only last past the opening series and will injure your hamstring on the second down. Similarly, your establishment will become as deserted as a Jacksonville Jaguars game if you try to draw in sports fans without serving them premium, fresh seafood. And those currently sell for $30 to $40.

When you start with an all-pro menu, you are already one step ahead of the competition. Most seafood restaurants never experiment and try something new, unlike our spicily Sharkbite Shrimp beginning. And when you can visit one of our oyster bar franchise locations and indulge in a decadent Cold Crab Dip instead of settling for chips and salsa at some run-down dive, why would you do that?

At Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill, we give you a deep roster of game-day favorites, from mouth-watering appetizers and our signature oysters that are perfect for sharing to unique entrees like the Surf N’ Turf or any one of our shellfish entrees in Old Bay sauce.

College Sports

NCAA games tend to attract families and big groups of friends. Somewhere in the 10+ size range is usually what we experience, especially on Saturdays for college football games.

College is a MONSTER, and to be completely honest, it can be the most enjoyable clientele you’ll ever work with. Apart from the pomp and circumstance, individuals are fiercely loyal to their favorite teams and universities; thus, it provides the first opportunity.

You might run a typical promotion during a rivalry game and offer families door prizes like miniature footballs bearing opposing teams’ logos. It works well with anything with the same intensity as a college game. It’s a unique experience if you have yet to go to a good one.

Pro Football

Nevertheless, your NFL crowd is entirely different and is known for being challenging to satisfy until you develop a routine for where you place specific menu items throughout the day.

For instance, if Momma and Papa get carried away at the Steelers game and decide to enter for the noon kickoff, Bloody Marys will sell out quickly. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t promote Bloody Marys after 3 p.m. because they won’t sell, so what should you serve in the early afternoon?

One of our more popular starters, Shuckin’ Shack Hangover Fries, features queso, bacon, jalapenos, and a fried egg on top. A star-studded appetizer like that is incomparable to anything at Stinky Pete’s Sports Bar across the street.

The trick with the NFL crowd is that building buzz is most effective when the day builds to a crescendo, with good times and positive energy increasing up to the Sunday night game. Asking your guests, fans, and local market what they want to see the following week will put you on the right track to accomplishing that goal.

Batter Up With the MLB

With baseball fans, you want to lean toward a more consistent but extremely laid-back experience because the season is so long—like, a really, really long season that lasts for half the year.

The game doesn’t need to be turned up for some baseball fans; it’s all good. They’re there for the conversation, the opportunity to unwind at happy hour after working for 10 hours, or to pass the time on a summer Sunday before football season begins.

Don’t Be Afraid to Audible

The restaurant business is chock-full of surprises, challenges, and opportunities, so be ready to make a change on the fly.

As in football, sometimes you must change the plays 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, and the place begins to form its own vibe that appeals to the sports fan market.

We’re Laser-Focused on the Bar Franchise Side

With March Madness about to start and the baseball season up next, sports bars are ramping up and preparing for a BIG spring.

If you’ve always thought running a well-known local hangout would be fun, now is the time to investigate bar franchise opportunities with Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill. We’ve already established ourselves as a top-notch seafood franchise with a penchant for carefree fun. Now we’re doubling down on our bar franchise reputation (after all, the word “bar” is literally in our name!) and letting people know that Shuckin’ Shack is also a great place to stop by for a cocktail or ice-cold beer with friends and coworkers. It’s simple to understand why we’re sinking the competition faster than a leaky boat when you add an impressive, inventive seafood menu to the mix. However, since we are aware that you are unfamiliar with bar franchises, we’ll explain why we think the “bar” component of our oyster bar franchise concept is so important.

To begin with, the bar is among the first things you see when you enter a Shuckin’ Shack. If there is a wait, people can get a drink right in front before sitting down. The bar is typically located in a separate dining room area or tucked away in a corner in seafood restaurants. It’s excellent for producing a moody, low-light environment, but we go the other way and put the bar front and center. Our idea is entertaining, novel, and vibrant.

If you’re lucky enough to have the option, the worst criticism of the typical type of sports bar is the terrible food. Only stale popcorn or overly salted bar nuts will be available at the nearby icehouse. You can order soggy fries, charred mozzarella sticks with cold marinara, and, at best, undercooked chicken wings if you go one level up to a smoky dive.

In contrast, if you open a Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar seafood restaurant franchise, you’ll be serving fresh oysters, spicy shrimp, and surf-and-turf, which gives you more than a leg up. This leads us to our next point: it will give you the ability to provide the neighborhood with an experience that is different from what is typical.

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Bars Can Be Family-Friendly

At Shuckin’ Shack, we’ve created our bar and grill franchise locations to be kid-friendly and set up for a high volume of alcohol sales—if you earn it first. Your regular customers will spend hours perched on the bar stools in the right setting, but it continues!

Some of your regulars will especially dine with their families and friends on busy weekends. The key is to get the same customers to come back for drinks and food if you want to run a bar franchise and successfully maintain a family-friendly restaurant atmosphere. If you do it right, it increases sales and strengthens your brand, unlike anything else.

Bar Items Make More Money

About 30% of Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar’s revenue comes from the sale of alcohol, making us both a bar franchise and a seafood restaurant franchise. Although that is a rough estimate, some franchise locations sell more than others. You’ll still make the most money from the food, but the bar is a great sales opportunity you can take advantage of. It’s also much less time-consuming because food preparation takes much more effort than serving drinks. Since beer and cocktails practically sell themselves, you can’t go wrong. The key is to pay close attention to what you’re selling because most of us already have preconceived notions about what we like to drink.

If you’re not selling very much dark beer, you can have your front-of-the-house staff promote it, which is way easier than upselling menu items. Similarly, don’t miss the chance to expand your selection if you have a whiskey-drinking crowd. You don’t even have to add premium liquors because that’s missing the point. The idea (again) is to provide variety, but how else can you do that?

One trade secret is surprisingly straightforward: keep your bartenders’ creativity open with a flexible drink menu. Instead, let them be bartenders. Have your bartenders create variations of tried-and-true favorites like frozen margaritas, hurricanes, and kamikazes if you don’t sell any premium liquors. If you want to be fancy, pour them straight up into a martini glass. Regardless, the goal is to use daily specials to market items that are impossible to sell independently. The average can be increased from 30% to 35-40% or more if you do it correctly!

Sports Bars Are the Cool Kid in School

A sports bar and grill is one of the few companies that appeal to customers all year round. Since being in the bar business is all about getting to know people – and what they’re looking for when they go out for the evening, the answers to why people prefer those types of establishments to fancy-pants, white tablecloth restaurants, primarily when the bar serves incredible food, are more practical than you might anticipate.

For some of us, going to a sports bar and having the bartender open your preferred beer before you even sit down to shake hands is the epitome of laid-backness. You can’t always beat the atmosphere, so it’s not even about watching the game. Positive energy will flow if you do it correctly.

Better Than the Game and Television

Consider this: it’s not like every sports team sells out every match. Even if you must purchase your tickets online through a third-party broker, tickets are usually available. Aside from that, attending live games these days doesn’t cost all that much money. Why do so many people visit their preferred sports bar chain instead?

The truthful response is that sitting 100 yards from the action in a crowded stadium is 100 times preferable to going to an energetic, laughter-filled bar. It’s all about offering an experience unlike any other, on top of excellent service and a wide selection of microbrews, cocktails, and local favorites. You meet all types of people in a bar—all types of sports fans—and that’s what makes it a blast.

Also, consider the possibility that spectators could easily watch the game from their homes, complete with Bose surround sound and full HD video. This could be done from a leather recliner in a man cave. They could purchase their favorite beer at a lower cost from the grocery store and consume it at home, yet they continue to frequent sports bars.

Because you’re offering a distinctive entertainment experience, if you run your sports bar franchise properly, people will enjoy it more than the actual game. That is the whole secret.

Life’s Better With Friends

Never undervalue the power of shared interests to bring strangers together. Consider a Denver Broncos supporter who shows up every Sunday as if on cue because it’s the only place in town where he can watch his former hometown team play. What happens when another Browns fan unexpectedly wears a torn John Elway jersey? Remember that the NFL is pretty strict about which games it broadcasts in specific markets.

Even though they are strangers, at least at the start of the game, they frequently give each other high-fives after successful runs or incomplete passes. By the end of the evening, those two guys could develop into real friends, and they’d keep returning, bringing their friends, coworkers, children, wives, pets, and anyone else who wanted to spend an evening out of the house.

It’s because establishments like bars are essential to some people’s social lives, and it has nothing to do with drinking alcohol. Sports bars are ideal for establishing a social connection because people will always want to get along with others who share their interests. But we’re not done.

Read the Room

Sports bars are extremely well-liked all year long because bar owners can tailor the idea to the local market, which is very challenging in other businesses. Knowing your people will ensure your success in a sports bar, where everything revolves around establishing a loyal clientele.

If you open a Shuckin’ Shack bar and grill franchise near a college town, you already know how to tilt your business model. Opening a business in a more urban setting is trickier because there will be a much more comprehensive range of customers to please from almost every demographic and walk of life you can imagine.

The bar can bring them together!

You’ll have a packed bar top for every big game and a whole community of sports fans to meet if you do it right. The Shuckin’ Shack team can assist you in getting off to a good start thanks to our fine-tuned bar sports bar franchise business model, our expectations-defying supply chain management system, and a wide variety of eclectic menu options that are, quite simply, better than anything the other sports bar chains could possibly hope to offer!

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We Now Sponsor College Athletes

The landscape of college sports changed dramatically in 2021 when the NCAA lifted its ban on athletes participating in college sports from receiving financial benefits. Previously, college athletes could not benefit from using their name, image, and likeness (NIL) through sponsorship. The ban has now been lifted, and corporate sponsors now pay student-athletes. This change has been long overdue.

This rule change represents a massive opportunity for college athletes and allows companies to take advantage of newly discovered sponsorship opportunities. We’ve partnered with Icon Source to launch a sponsorship program to raise awareness of local college athletes who deserve to embody the spirit of the Shuckin’ Shack brand. In return, the athlete will bring additional exposure to the location of the Shuckin’ Shack sports bar franchise as an influencer for the brand. 

Let’s dig a little deeper here to see what types of Shack-letes are available, how the program works, and why this is such a great opportunity for young athletes and owners of the Shuckin’ Shack Seafood Franchise.

Who In the World Are the Shack-letes?

Changes to NCAA rules will ensure that stars from well-known men’s soccer and basketball programs get a portion of their corporate sponsorship deals. Shuckin’ Shack takes a very different approach. 

With all the attention already focused on the big stars, there’s an opportunity to really help lesser-known college athletes. Maybe they’re fan favorites and hometown heroes. Or they could be team starters or giving vociferous support from the bench; the Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill brand wants them as Shack-letes. 

Shack-Letes come from something other than the most commercialized sports. For example, our first Shacklete, Nicole Webb, is a senior on the North Carolina State Gymnastics team, and our other two former Shack-letes play golf and women’s soccer, respectively. These types of student-athletes need support from corporate sponsors, even more so than star quarterbacks from Alabama, who almost certainly get sponsor calls every week.

Darren Keeler, Vice President of Marketing and Creative at Shuckin’ Shack seafood restaurant franchise, emphasizes the importance of selecting the correct type of athlete to fit the spirit of the seafood franchise. And it fits our personality and culture. We know where the authentic coastal atmosphere, the relaxed atmosphere is. We want the underdogs who are the heart of the team.”

What Do Shack-letes Do?

First and foremost, when an athlete becomes a Shack-lete, word of mouth naturally spreads. The athlete will discuss their relationship with the Shuckin’ Shack Bar and Grill Franchise, increasing brand awareness.

Besides this organic promotion, Shack-letes will also make quarterly social media posts focused on their sponsorship with Shuckin’ Shack. This social media post takes many forms, some of which are creative. For example, UNC golfer and Shack-lete Peter Fountain walks onto his golf course, and tees off an oyster beside a golf ball emblazoned with the Shuckin’ Shack logo. His social media will share this image, drawing attention to our seafood franchise brand.  

In addition to their quarterly social media posts, each Shack-lete will appear at a local Shuckin’ Shack restaurant for grand openings, anniversaries, or other unique, high-profile events. This appearance is promoted and draws even more attention to the location of the Shuckin’ Shack and shows the community how the athletes are sponsored. The effort led to the selection of the first of our Shack-letes by a university within 20 miles of the Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar Franchise. Student-athletes are very busy, and there is no point in forcing them to run long distances when they already have much work. 

The Future of Shack-letes

In the future, sports bar franchise owners can nominate Shack-letes from colleges near the location of the Shuckin’ Shack. As part of the community, these franchisees know what’s happening in their local community and which athletes are eligible to sponsor. It’s also a natural decision to allow franchise owners to nominate their Shack-letes based on their appearance requirements. 

The youngest Shack-lete is a female soccer player introduced by several Greenville, South Carolina restaurant franchise owners. In an interview with Darren Keeler, that development fell apart when the franchise owner was asked if he could nominate Shakurtesh. There’s a new Shacklet; her name is Aaliyah, a women’s soccer player featured by Margaret and Don [Markham], and she’s a Greenville and Easley franchisee. She’ll be a waitress at our Easley Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Grill this summer.

These student-athletes benefit most from this program, so it’s an excellent opportunity for sports bar franchise owners to leverage their community knowledge to create a solid and inspiring list of Shack-letes. 

We Can’t Wait to See What the Future Holds

The current plan is to have over 10 Shacklets signed by the summer of 2022. His first three are already in, with a few more athletes on the trail. The goal is to have at least one He-Her Shacklete in each franchise location by the end of next year. This is only possible with the buy-in and support of bar and grill franchise owners in finding perfect candidates from local universities. 

Ever dreamed of owning a local sports bar and grill with a local flair that offers something else to the community? For more information on franchising at Shuckin’ Shack, please.