January 9, 2024
Lauren Platero

Pickleball Business: How to Start a Pickleball Business

There are many working parts to opening a pickleball business. In fact, establishing any kind of business within the restaurant industry can be an extensive project. But when you combine it with elements of another sector, such as sports, it can be a little more complex. 

Launching a pickleball restaurant or pickleball bar will inherently target a niche market. As a result, there will be numerous key details and expectations that you should pay attention to. From high-quality pickleball equipment to pickleball club memberships, there are far more components than what you’d find in a standard eatery. Read on to learn all about it.

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What Is a Pickleball Business?

A pickleball business is an enterprise that offers access to pickleball courts. In more recent years, entities throughout the hospitality industry have begun paying closer attention to the sport. As a result, it's becoming super popular across the nation. 

For example, bars and restaurants may have pickleball courts on their property where customers or outsiders can play. If you’re unsure of how this would work, just envision eateries that have mini golf. It’s the same concept, just with a more intense activity.

The Two Primary Components of a Pickleball Business

Pickleball businesses offer far more than courts and paddles. In recent years, pickleball operations tend to exist within food and beverage brands. Subsequently, there are two sides to each entity. Let’s go over each of them below:

Outdoor and Indoor Pickleball Clubs 

Though it’s quite obvious, there’s no such thing as a pickleball business without the sport itself! Be sure to install courts outside, as this will draw attention to the establishment. But if you want to maximize revenue, include indoor courts, too. No matter if the weather is dreary or the outside courts are occupied, you’ll have additional space for customers.

On-Premise Bar and Restaurant Service

When preparing for your new business, you may wonder: are pickleball clubs profitable? It’s safe to say that pickleball clubs can be very lucrative ventures, especially thanks to food and drink sales. That’s why so many pickleball enthusiasts combine the sport with a restaurant business. So, don’t forget to prioritize pickleball food and drink service within your enterprise.

Starting a Pickleball Business: A 10-Step Guide

If you’re contemplating how to start a pickleball business, the following guide should help you begin. If you’re looking to launch a larger project, such as a pickleball bar franchise, there will be more steps, which will require a lot of your time. But in the meantime, the tips you’ll find below should be of value during the process.

1. Write a Pickleball Business Plan

Every successful enterprise begins with a detailed business plan. Implement elements of a restaurant business plan with those of a recreational sport, then tailor it to your vision, location, state laws, and so on. But we’ll cover more information on the pickleball business plan in a bit.

2. Acquire Funding to Launch the Business 

It’ll take a lot of money for your pickleball business ideas to come to life. So, how will you be funding this project? Two tried and tested options are partnering with investors and taking out business loans. We recommend working with a financial advisor to weigh your options and determine what you need. Then, you can make a realistic and informed decision. 

3. Find a Suitable Location for the Business

Unlike a typical bar or restaurant, a pickleball business requires ample space. Not only do you need enough room for restaurant seating and back of house staff, but you also need an area for the courts. With this in mind, you must find a property with a lot of land that abides by zoning regulations. This way, you can install sufficient pickleball courts.

4. Obtain All Proper Licenses and Permits

There’s no way to legally operate a business without acquiring the proper licenses and permits. From the general business license to a liquor license, there are various laws and regulations that you must abide by. Check in with local municipality officials to find out exactly what you need. Requirements can vary from state to state, so it’s important to research protocols that are specific to your region.

5. Begin Implementing Sports Bar Marketing Tips

If you open a pickleball business without promoting it beforehand, many people might not be aware of it. And if they do, they may not realize you have pickleball courts on the property. If anything, they might just assume that the eatery’s theme revolves around the sport. So, ensure to conduct restaurant SEO, social media marketing, and paid advertising before the launch date. As a result, you’ll stir up conversations, piquing the interest of countless locals.

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6. Furnish the Indoor and Outdoor Spaces

Once you purchase a property or sign a lease, it’s time to furnish indoor and outdoor areas. From restaurant lighting to seating that compliments the bar layout, this is the time when you make the brick and mortar eatery comfortable and attractive. Then, it’s time to set up the star of the show: the pickleball courts. Hire a professional to install the courts, nets, and gates around it. Afterward, you’ll finally be able to see your visions come to life.

7. Onboard Pickleball Business Tech Solutions

Invest in pickleball club management software for easy task management. Note that this solution can also assist restaurant operations, too. An all-inclusive platform that manages orders, as well as pickleball memberships and equipment rentals, will level up the whole business model. Plus, it will reduce manual labor and human errors.

8. Create An Enticing Restaurant Menu Design

As a food and beverage establishment, it’s vital that you have a selection of mouth-watering menu types. From an appetizer list full of tasty finger food to a dessert menu of sweet treats, plan this ahead of time. Having a menu far in advance will be helpful for inventory costing methods, scheduling a reorder point, and so on.

See: Our complete guide to a thorough and sophisticated restaurant menu design.

9. Hire a Team of Employees 

You won’t be able to operate a pickleball business without an experienced and enthusiastic team. For this kind of business model, you’ll need to employ hosts, servers, bar staff, and various types of chefs. For the pickleball-related operations, you’ll need someone who handles equipment rentals and sign-ins, as well as a maintenance crew. If you'd like to invest in labor that'll be efficient right from the start, consider recruiting those with pickleball country club experience. Or, those who have a history in country clubs or eateries in general.

10. Open the Pickleball Business to the Public

Once you bring your pickleball business plan to fruition, it’s time to open the doors to the public. Maybe you’d like to host a soft launch to test operations and gather feedback. Or, perhaps you’re confident enough in your infrastructure to welcome all new customers. Either way, just ensure that everything is up to par and keep an eye out for any areas needing extra attention.

Top 10 Sectors of a Pickleball Business Plan

As you draft the details of your pickleball business plan, there are numerous sections you must complete. These sections will help you stay on track, leading to a successful business launch. But more importantly, this plan will be present whilst seeking funding opportunities. Whether you’re striving to get loan approvals or investor funding, you must have a thorough plan.

To support your endeavors on a professional level, here are the ten most important sections of a pickleball business plan:

  1. A mission and vision statement.
  2. A detailed description of the pickleball business.
  3. Market research and a thorough analysis. 
  4. A pickleball and SWOT analysis for restaurant brands.
  5. Potential funding options for the startup costs. 
  6. Financial projections for the next few years. 
  7. A pricing structure for all products and services.
  8. A hiring and recruitment plan of action. 
  9. Pickleball offerings and menu design ideas
  10. A 360-degree marketing plan, including a target market.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Pickleball Business

Opening a pickleball bar and restaurant will require extensive amounts of time and a great deal of passion. And considering that the pickleball industry is somewhat new and pretty unique, there is so much learning potential. So, read on for additional insight on the subject. 

Will Opening a Pickleball Business Be Profitable?

If you price your menu items and pickleball services accordingly, then yes, opening a pickleball business can be profitable. Paddle sports are exponentially growing in popularity. So, there’s no better time to operate such a venture than right now.

Can You Make Money From a Pickleball Business?

Yes, business owners can certainly make money from a pickleball business. Not only can you offer equipment rentals, but food and drink options. By creating a pickleball restaurant instead of just a club, you’ll have numerous revenue streams.

Is Pickleball Making a Comeback In the United States?

Yes, pickleball is making quite the comeback as of January 2024. Even though the sport has been around since 1965, it’s been gaining a ton of traction in the last ten years. It also helps that there has been a surge in pickleball restaurants. Adding courts and equipment rentals to traditional eateries is a foolproof way to introduce people to the sport and make it mainstream.

Who Is the Ideal Customer Profile of Pickleball Business Ventures?

The ideal customer profile for a pickleball business consists of those who enjoy pickleball, sports bars, and other paddle sports. As for age and other demographics, it comprises people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. As for geographic regions, Florida is the most pickleball-obsessed state in the US.

Are Paddle Sports Growing In Popularity?

Yes, as of January 2024, there is an increasing popularity amongst paddle sports. For example, pickleball grew by a whopping 40 percent between 2019 and 2021. Considering that this jump in recognition came during the COVID-19 pandemic, that is a massive surge. Plus, the introduction of pickleball eateries came during the early-mid 2010s. It's likely that the popularity of the sport will only move up from here.

Let’s Get Down to (Pickleball) Business

Now that you know what it takes to open a pickleball business, it’s time to begin! Use this post as an informal guide. Then, once you’re on the right track, delve into more time-sensitive resources to officially launch your brand.