You may recall that a few weeks ago, I wrote about a new fast casual format called Chicken N Pickle that combines a strong food orientation with a sports bar vibe and lots of sports/entertainment options - including 11 pickleball courts. You can eat and drink and then play … or play and then eat and drink. (I think I'd prefer the latter.) The concept looks to cash in on the pickleball craze, which has turned into the fastest growing participatory sport in the country. This weekend, I had a chance to visit the four-acre facility located in Grand Prairie, Texas, just outside Dallas, and I found a highly energized operation that gave me some ideas for how retailers ought to be thinking.
Below, see some pictures of the facility, which had more than a half dozen private events taking place in various locations, as well as an indoor section where they host lessons and leagues. And - the food was very good, which I think is absolutely necessary for any operation like this to have staying power.