Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:21 pm
Robert Thompson, founder and chief executive officer of national “eatertainment” chain Punch Bowl Social, was a keynote speaker at the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin Retail Conference, which was recently held at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in Milwaukee. Under Thompson’s leadership, Denver-based Punch Bowl Social first launched in 2012 and has since grown to 16 locations throughout the U.S., the most recent being its new restaurant in downtown Milwaukee, near Fiserv Forum. He discussed the brand behind the fast-growing concept and its position within the ever-evolving retail and food and beverage markets.
“You need to be able to walk in to a food and beverage establishment and have an activity, a social activation, that you can document and share digitally on your social media channels.”
“A lot of legacy brands try to pivot into authenticity, they try to manufacture synthetic authenticity – millennials never buy it. (Millennials) are more adept than any generation we’ve ever seen at sniffing that out, and they will make sure to alert everybody that there’s an inauthentic experience waiting for them and they’ll tell them not to come.”
“These large-box experiential F&B centers are the new anchors of mixed-use retail – they’re not 100,000-square-foot Macy’s, but we all know the days of writing your pro forma based on a Macy’s are things of the past.”
“We don’t just capture a guest for a 45-minute experience, we can get someone to come through a Punch Bowl Social that had 30 minutes in mind and they leave three hours later.”
“We are 89 percent food and beverage, which absolutely differentiates us from 100 percent of everybody else in the experiential F&B category (they live closer to 50 percent gaming ratio). What that means is we are a restaurant and a bar. We just use the gaming activations as the gravity to get folks in.”
“People come (to Punch Bowl Social) for the first time to have a drink and bowl, the next 10 times they come in and they just eat and drink and hang out and have a good time – maybe they make their way back into bowling.”