810 Billiards & Bowling
WHY I BOUGHT
Rylan Miller built an impressive career for himself in the military, serving first in the Navy before taking a job in defense contracting. But Miller always had an entrepreneurial spirit, and a few years back, he changed paths and opened up his first business with smoothie franchise Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Miller’s success with that brand inspired him to branch out into other franchise concepts, which eventually led him to 810 Billiards & Bowling, the fast-growing restaurant and entertainment franchise launched just over five years ago in Myrtle Beach.
Miller discovered 810 Billiards & Bowling first as a customer, visiting the brand’s flagship location with friends while on deployment. Miller says he was immediately aligned with the family-friendly concept and environment. Now, he’s one of the newest franchisees with the brand.
We spoke to Miller to learn more about his path to franchising and his experience with 810 Billiards & Bowling.
1851 Franchise: Tell us your story – what did you do before franchising?
Rylan Miller: I served in the U.S. Navy where I completed multiple deployments, taking on duties as a mission commander and UAV pilot. I also received several aviation licenses in my time in the military before taking on a role as a defense contractor. I always had an entrepreneurial drive and during that time, I was introduced to Tropical Smoothie Cafe. I remember seeing literature about franchising opportunities and looked into it. I found that Tropical Smoothie Cafe, which was my first introduction to the franchising industry, was aligned with my goals and vision. I started with one location initially, and I’ll be opening my 29th location in Charleston, South Carolina in the near future. I own franchises throughout Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Virginia.
1851: How did you initially find out about franchising?
Miller: I was stationed in Virginia Beach during my time in the military, and my colleagues and I would regularly go out for a quick lunch. In 2007, one of my colleagues recommended Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and I was hooked. I saw the franchising literature on the counter and always thought to myself that franchising could be my future.
1851: Why did you pick franchising over starting your own business?
Miller: I wrestled with the decision between franchising and starting my own business for a time. However, I felt security with getting involved with a franchisor because they provide a proven model. Not only do you have the support of a corporate team, but they’re providing you with the framework of an executable and scalable business. I’ve experienced Tropical Smoothie Cafe scale from 600 locations to 1,000 in my time since joining the brand. My investment strategy allows me to invest in a proven system that doesn’t require the guesswork or challenges that come with a business without a franchise system.
Franchising also provides veterans with the best model for success. Veterans make up 14% of all franchisees and see a great deal of success due to their skills learned in the military. You’re able to get up and running with less capital than starting your own business and are set up in a proven growth vehicle.
1851: Why did you pick 810 Billiards & Bowling? What excited you most about the potential?
Miller: I first became interested in 810 Billiards & Bowling as a consumer. My family and I were looking for things to do in our hometown of Myrtle Beach, which is where the brand was founded and has three locations. I thought it was such a fun concept. The first location we ever visited was a renovated grocery store near Market Commons. I was impressed. It was wholesome fun where the local community would gather, and parents don’t have to worry about it being an inappropriate environment for their children. We got to experience live music, bowling and arcade games in addition to a full-service restaurant and bar. Fast forward a few years while I was on deployment, and I saw some information about franchising opportunities and decided to reach out when I returned.
810 Billiards & Bowling is completely different from anything I’ve ever done, which excites me. I’m looking forward to bringing a new concept to Greenville as people are getting more comfortable with getting back out there after COVID. I feel like this is a renewed sense of entertainment.
1851: What are your dreams with the business? What does the future look like?
Miller: I have a big vision for the future. I want to grow my organization to 1,000 units. I want to grow with 810 Billiards & Bowling, but I also want to explore new concepts as well. My first goal with this brand is to prove that we can be successful in Greenville and see where it goes from there.
My growth plan is to invest in brands that complement each other. I believe that you have to be completely behind a brand and believe in its mission and values. The second most important thing for me when considering a new concept is that the business needs to be scalable. I’m not interested in brands that can only open one or two locations. I want to continue growing my portfolio and help foster professional development within the investment group.
1851: What advice would you have for others looking at buying a franchise?
Miller: My biggest piece of advice would be to talk to franchisees and see what they have to say about their experience with the brand. In addition to that, it’s important to have a common-sense approach when it comes to business.
1851: What do you do in your personal time?
Miller: Anyone who knows me will tell you I have too many hobbies. My favorite thing in the world is to spend time with my two-year-old daughter and take her to the park and pool.
I’m also an avid shooter, I like race cars and motorcycles, I enjoy scuba diving and I’m a licensed pilot. I’m getting my skydiving license in a few months, which I’m excited about. I want to pursue even more adventure, but I simply don’t have the time.
ABOUT 810 Billiards & Bowling
810 Billiards & Bowling, a five-unit emerging franchise out of South Carolina, is a classic bowling alley with an upscale twist. In its expansive space, 810 offers its customers multiple bowling lanes, billiard tables, full-service bars, a fun-to-play arcade, classic board games, mini-golf and so much more! The menu boasts soul-satisfying foods serving lunch and dinner. For more information please visit 810bowling.com/franchising.