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Sports-Themed Franchise Concepts Continue to Grow in Popularity

The laid-back atmosphere of franchises such as Shuckin’ Shack and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has struck a chord with sports-, food- and drink-loving Americans, and we don’t see the trend slowing down.

By 1851 Staff1851 Staff Contributions
Updated 12:12PM 03/31/22

Football, basketball, baseball, golf and soccer: These are the top sports watched by Americans each year. And these die-hard sports fans (or casual viewers) tend to have a favorite team, a rival team, game-day traditions, favorite snacks and beverages to consume while watching their teams – and even favorite places to watch the big game. 

Over the years, franchise food concepts have successfully tapped into this market and catered to U.S. sports fans, serving up platters of wings, burgers and fries, specialty sandwiches, salads, beers and other beverages so that eager fans can kick back and enjoy the game – and treat every weekend like Super Bowl weekend. Just a few of these thriving franchise concepts that continue to offer a sense of community, an incredible menu, and most importantly, always have the big game on, include Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar and Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. 

After a pent-up, two-plus years of COVID-19 regulations and various stages of quarantining, more people are realizing the simple pleasures they once enjoyed, such as watching a game at their favorite sports bar. And the data pre-pandemic shows that the sports-bar scene has always been the most popular option: According to a Nielsen study from 2019, 37.71% of Americans who watched sports on TV preferred to do so in large groups at restaurants and bars. 

Shuckin’ Shack, the 16-unit seafood franchise, realizes its consumers crave a year-round sports environment paired with fresh, delicious seafood they can’t (or prefer not to) cook at home, and that’s exactly what this franchise concept offers with its laid-back concept. The brand is proud to offer its diners a comfortable atmosphere in which to socialize with other sports fans, enjoy a down-to-earth staff and take in the game while enjoying great oysters and beer. The seafood franchise, which plans to double in size over the next two to three years, continues to gain traction on its path to growth and will continue to be a local hangout for many sports fans as it puts down roots in more communities.  

Much like Shuckin’ Shack, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s continues to cater to sports fans who love visiting  any of the franchise’s 150 units across the country. The brand has a well-established, 36-year history as an Irish pub chain with something for the whole family, filled with Irish-inspired grub and plenty of televisions and sports memorabilia.

Even despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, the chain has continued to see success. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s CEO Chris Elliot explained in Franchise Times that the brand made critical changes, including adjusting the menu, in 2010 to increase average unit volumes, earnings and generally revitalize the brand, moves that have had a tremendous impact on the chain’s vitality throughout the pandemic. As of 2020, the brand’s earnings were up 250% and average unit volumes were up to just shy of $1.2 million – a leap from $850,000 in 2010.

The common denominator in both of these sports restaurant franchises, and so many others, is that the locations are a gathering place for sports fans and their families and friends. The atmosphere is welcoming, and there is something on the menu for everyone, from the chicken-tender-eating child to the oyster- or wing-eating (and perhaps beer-drinking) parents. As long as sports continue to air on television and people crave casual, comfortable, no-frills-style dining, sports-themed franchise concepts will continue to grow in popularity and number of locations.