810 Billiards and Bowling is a full-on entertainment zone, handcrafted to enable you to have a great time, with family, friends, co-workers, and even when you’re going solo! The idea behind 810 Billiards and Bowling came from its Founder & CEO, Michael Siniscalchi.
Michael grew up on Long Island, New York. He attended college at Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, and got a degree in business economics, and then began a career in finance. He started working in a financial sales role with Credit Suisse, later moved into an analytical role, and then became an equity options market maker for a trading group called Group One Trading LP out of Chicago. That took him to Chicago for a few years and then back to New York on the NYSE.
It was during those times Michael would often go to upscale bowling entertainment venues in those cities after the trading day was over and always had a great time with friends and coworkers. As he was getting ready to start a family with his wife, they wanted to get out of New York City, to get a change of pace.
It was in 2014 when Michael visited his parents in South Carolina and came across the North Myrtle Beach Bowling Center. It was a dilapidated league bowling center built in the late 70s and he started wondering about the concepts he had seen in New York, Chicago, and Charlotte, San Francisco.
Why couldn’t an upscale entertainment concept like that work in a place like Myrtle Beach?
And that’s when Michael and his wife put an offer on that bowling alley thinking they would buy it and convert it into this upscale mixed-use entertainment center concept. Initially, the owners of the bowling alley rejected that offer out of hand. But, 5 months later, they called back out of the blue and accepted the offer, Michael purchased that property, which became 810 Billiards and Bowlings first location.
It was a 28,000-square-foot facility. They took out twelve of the 32 lanes that had been there, created 14 main lanes and a six-lane back alley for corporate events, witha private upscale bowling environment in the back alley. They created a gaming zone where the other lanes had been, bringing in, billiards tables, foosball, bocce ball courts, arcade games, cornhole, and ping pong. They also built a scratch kitchen, a new bar, and a dining area. They reopened in May 2015 with their new mixed-use concept of 810.
“I had no background in hospitality or the bowling industry, so I had a lot to learn. But I knew the customer experience that I wanted to deliver for our guests and that was the driving force. I think we in some ways benefited from the lack of experience in the industry. We rethought everything from first principles, focused on how we can best execute this vision for the customer”, Michael adds.
It was an instant success, and in 2017, they began a new construction site in Conway, South Carolina that would be a boutique location of about 17,000 sqft, right next to Coastal Carolina University. Simultaneously they began work on a former supermarket in Myrtle Beach, SC. In June of 2018 they opened 810 Market Common in Myrtle Beach as their second location, and in January 2019 they opened 810 Billiards and Bowling Conway as their third location.
As they hired and developed a corporate team with experience on their side, looking forward to scaling more aggressively, the COVID-19 pandemic struck! All of their locations were closed completely for two months and then reopened at 25% capacity. It was a very challenging 18 months for them, but they persevered, got through the challenges, and stayed strong on their goals and aims for 810 Billiards and Bowling.
During the Covid time, a lot of their competitors closed their doors, and many declared bankruptcy or consolidated locations. 810 Billiards & Bowling and its team were able to double in size over the course of that, acquiring two locations, one in downtown Houston, the second in downtown Phoenix, and building a new location near a suburb of the city of Phoenix. All those opened in the wake of 2021, the Phoenix location opened in August 2021, the Houston location opened just after Thanksgiving 2021, and then the Chandler franchise in January 2022.
They have maintained their course and aggressively signed new franchisees for most of this year. They’ve got two locations, one in Fort Smith, Arkansas, and the other in Greenville, South Carolina set to open in the 4th quarter this year. And then they have their next franchise location in Nashville, Tennessee, which was recently finalized. They also have five other units under agreement that are in the site selection phase. That’s where 810 Billiards and Bowling is today, continuing to sign franchise agreements and looking for the right sites to continue to grow the brand!
What established 810 Billiards & Bowling’s long-standing success and makes them one of the best franchises to buy in their space?
One of the main reasons behind 810 Billiards and Bowling success is that no one in their space offers complete ownership through franchising. All other concepts in their space are either privately held or publicly owned, and are not accessible for individual investment through a franchise model.
810 is the only offering in the bowling and entertainment space through the franchise model. That said, what differentiates them against direct competitors is their exceptional service and seamless service model. This enables their guests to freely flow throughout the space and drive their own experiences while hopping from one activity to another effortlessly. This allows the guests to stay comfortably for longer durations, enjoy different activities, and create an emotional connection with 810.
The other reason behind their phenomenal success, is their food program. In their industry, expectations for food quality are underwhelming. 810 has made sure to create a class-apart experience for its guests with an extra special food program. In terms of quality, the breadth of menu items they offer, and the number of items prepared in-house from scratch, they are unparalleled in the industry!
So, it’s a mix of different activities, a super fun space, great food options, and a lot more that enables guests to craft their own experience, setting 810 Billiards and Bowling apart from the competition in the market, and establishing their name in the market as one of the best franchises to buy in 2022.
How does 810 Billiards & Bowling offer Wholesome and Memorable Entertainment? What can you expect as an investor in the franchise?
810 is all about promoting special times between family and friends, enabling guests to create unforgettable memories that they will remember and forever cherish. Inside any of their venues, you’ll have a lot of different things to experience based on what your interests are.
But you can always go to them to bowl, play billiards, enjoy arcade games, play mini golf, see live music, enjoy their sports bar for watching a game, and themed entertainment which varies on different nights of the week from Trivia to Family Feud type games and other kinds of crowd participation games on a rotating basis.
Another big piece of their business is events, and special occasions, whether it’s an adult birthday party, child’s birthday party, corporate event, team building event, or company holiday party, those are a major part of their business as well. And that’s a big value addon for their franchisees.
They rolled out their national sales team earlier this year which will allow their corporate team to handle the sales and booking process on behalf of their franchisees. So, any potential customer that’s reaching out to a location, they’ll be able to push a button on the phone and be rolled over to the dedicated sales team that is answering the phone in real-time with real people.
They’ll talk to one of their sales staff and can book anything from a small lane reservation for their family on a Wednesday night to a full-building corporate buyout event. And they can do all of that immediately with a completely customized solution to meet their needs.
This enables 810’s franchise operations teams to focus on executing the customer experience at their location, without having to worry about the additional burden of managing a sales process. So, that’s how 810 takes that off of the franchisee and their teams and allows them to focus on what’s important – the customer!
How do 810 Billiards & Bowling contend with the ever-changing industry trends?
One of the biggest reasons that people make a connection with their brand is because they’re here to create memories. They’re here to show people hospitality and a great night out for their special occasions or special events, their date night. They rejoice in being a part of some of the happiest times in people’s lives, get to share that energy, and experience it with them as a member of the 810 team. And if that speaks to you, that’s a big part of what drives folks to seek them out.
In terms of staying on top of industry trends, the last couple of years has shown us that technology is the key. And the 810 Billiards and Bowling team leverages it to make their operations and customer experience the best they can be. At the same time, there’s no replacement for in-person interaction.
There’s no replacement for sharing space and activity with your friends, your loved ones, or your family. That is not going to be replaced by technology. It’s not going to go anywhere. The 810 Billiards and Bowling team believes their concept is a viable long-term investment that they expect to stand the test of time. Trends and individual activities may change and adjust over time, but the need for social interaction and public spaces to gather with friends and family, that’s not going anywhere!
Exciting News in and around 810 Billiards and Bowling?
810 is gearing towards having a national presence with six units open and operating, starting this year. They’ve also have eight franchises in development. They are in talks to open more and expect to sign another ten to twelve in the next twelve months.
The franchise and its core team are thrilled and excited to grow into new markets. They’ve recently opened up in Texas, are coming soon to Arkansas, and looking to come to Florida, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Louisiana as well.
What 810 offers is a holistic package of entertainment, memories, experiences, great food and beverages, and much more that has a universal appeal. This allows them to instantly connect with people, no matter what county, city, or location. They’re on the lookout for the right franchise partners to help increase the overall entertainment experience that they deliver and establish 810’s name across communities as the place for a complete entertainment experience.
“. Our focus on taking care of our team members is what enables them to take such good care of our guests. Many of our team members have been with us since we opened that first location in 2015. We’ve been able to watch them grow along with the business, and that’s the most rewarding part of doing what we do” – Michael Siniscalchi, Founder & CEO, 810 Billiards and Bowling
What are Michaels’ views on franchisee support??
I think it’s about support and giving our franchise partners the tools and resources they need to succeed. Making sure that they are fully empowered to run their locations to the level that we expect from the 810 brand and delivering the customer experience that we promise our guests. It is our responsibility to ensure that that’s met. But if it’s not being met, it probably means that we’re not providing the right or enough support. So we would spend time with our franchise partners and understand what else we can do to help them achieve the operational standards that we expect.
We need to have a pulse on the business and know how our franchise locations are operating. But we believe if we’re choosing the right franchise partners, they want to run a successful business, they want to deliver the customer experience that we expect for our guests and if for some reason they’re falling short of that, then we need to be transparent and honest with them in evaluating why, and working together to solve the problem.
What’s your take on the competition in the market?
Our big differentiator is the quality of food and the seamless experience of our guests. It’s a relatively new industry. It found its original footings in the early 2000s. I think of brands like Lucky Strike and Kings Bowl as kind of originating the idea of an upscale, full-service bowling and entertainment facility. But since then, lots of other entrants have come into the space. None of them are growing through the franchise model we are unique in that and believe it gives us the ability to scale quickly and outcompete.
It’s still very much an underserved market, even though new entrants have come into it. It’s a large country and the demand for our concept translates to pretty much any mid-size market. The next generation of young customers expects entertainment options with high-quality food and beverage. The traditional bowling centers of decades past are not equipped or able to deliver that experience, and the league bowlers that are aging out are being replaced with entertainment customers seeking a one-stop full-service experience. So as much as the number of competitors in the market is growing, there’s still an awful lot of untapped potential in the market as we continue to grow the footprint nationally.