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Coastal-Cool Vibes and Second-to-None Seafood: How Oyster Franchise Shuckin’ Shack Takes Consumers on a Vacation

A lifestyle brand with a no-frills focus on freshness, Shuckin’ Shack leaves competitors flapping on dry land.

By Katie LaTourStaff Writer
SPONSORED 10:10AM 08/27/19

In 2007, friends Matt Piccinin and Sean Cook identified the need for an atmosphere-rich establishment that served fresh seafood in their sleepy beach town of Carolina Beach, North Carolina. The town had no oyster bars to speak of and only calabash-style seafood, meaning fried and heavy. Piccinin and Cook knew that a concept that served up fresh oysters on the half-shell and other high-quality seafood would flourish in the area; said simply, the market determined itself.

Enter Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar. The brand boasts a menu packed with un-pretentious, offerings like their bestselling lobster roll topped with a spicy mustard remoulade, cold crab dip, sharkbite shrimp, a fresh oyster sampler and bursting buckets of steaming shrimp, corn and clams for the truly hungry. The oceanfront-inspired menu rounds out with a wide selection of craft beer and cheers-worthy cocktails.

Since Shuckin’ Shuck began franchising in 2014, the brand has grown to 16 locations across four states, soon to be five, with several more locations slated to open by the end of 2019.The brand enjoys several key differentiators, starting with the fact that Shuckin’ Shack offers guests a “lifestyle experience” in addition to exceptional seafood.

“Our brand provides consumers a vacation,” Jonathan Weathington, CEO said. “We give guests that feeling they get when they’re cooking a shrimp boil with their shoes off, drinking a beer and laughing with friends. That’s the exact experience we manifest in the restaurant, and that’s why we serve the product we serve. The best part, though, is that we’ll take care of the clean-up.”

In addition to this commitment to a vacation-evoking atmosphere, Shuckin’ Shack also boasts an unflagging commitment to quality.

“We’re almost entirely domestically sourced out of our dedication to provide the freshest dishes to our guests,” Weathington said. “Our food is unadulterated, straight from the water and as fresh as possible. Not everyone in the market does that, because it’s not cheaper and it’s certainly not easier. But our food tastes better for it and no one else can compete.”

With a median per-person ticket price of $16 to $17, Shuckin’ Shack attracts a wide range of guests, from young professionals to retirees, all who thirst for that “authentic coastal vibe,” Weathington explained.

In the interest of cultivating a Carolinas-style getaway experience, Shuckin’ Shack delivers quality, consistent service and a second-to-none seafood menu.

“Since we can provide a consistently quality product and experience that makes people feel genuinely welcome, that’s our competitive advantage,” said Weathington.

Asked what else sets Shuckin’ Shack apart, Weathington was emphatic.

“We put a lot of thought and effort into being genuine with people. We don’t have investors; we don’t come from unlimited funding. We understand the business, how to work hard and make people happy,” Weathington said. “We’re about inviting guests to have that vacation-inspired lifestyle experience that is grounded in second-to-none, fresh seafood. That’s what keeps us going.”