January 8, 2024
Lauren Platero

Pickleball Restaurant: What Are Pickleball Restaurants?

Pickleball restaurant brands are becoming increasingly popular in the modern food and beverage landscape. If you have an entrepreneur mindset or are a member of a pickleball club, operating such an eatery might be a lucrative venture. 

A pickleball bar and restaurant is a unique infrastructure compared to others in the hospitality space. Plus, the pickleball industry is relatively new to food and beverage operations. However, that doesn’t mean that combining these two areas of focus can’t make sense! In fact, it could make a business much more profitable. After all, it’s quite a unique business model compared to other entities you might find nearby. 

By the end of this article, you’ll know everything you could possibly want to learn about restaurants with pickleball. From its origin to how they differ from country clubs, we’re about to cover it all. Now, let’s begin, shall we?

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What Is a Pickleball Restaurant?

A pickleball restaurant is a food and beverage establishment that has pickleball courts on the premises. To play, customers can rent balls and paddles from the restaurant staff. 

As for the restaurant and bar layout, it’s very similar to traditional establishments. It’s simply the addition of courts and equipment that sets them apart from other businesses. In some cases, the restaurant marketing efforts will revolve around the sport. 

Staff typically use pickleball club management software to track inventory, too. This helps keep everything organized, from food, drinks, and equipment. However, offering pickleball doesn't add extra tasks to restaurant operations. With this in mind, indoor pickleball clubs require less attention since they're out of the elements.

The Origin of the Pickleball Restaurant Concept In the United States

Pickleball has been a popular sport in the United States since 1965. It’s a paddle sport that shares qualities of badminton and tennis. It didn’t become an official sport until the 1970s. So, it would be nearly four decades until the concept would combine with any sector of the restaurant industry. 

The 2010s was when the concept of pickleball restaurants came to fruition. Restaurant leaders saw the potential similar to country clubs in many aspects. Sports and dining was a combination that was already quite successful by this point in time. However, pickleball is slightly more casual and family-friendly compared to golf. 

Restaurants like The Bumpy Pickle in Houston and Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City are some of the first of their kind. The business owner of each of these restaurants saw the potential behind pickleball as a sport. Then, their collaboration with fellow restaurateurs led to the creation of a new sector of sports bars.

Are Pickleball Clubs Profitable?

Yes, a pickleball bar franchise can be a very profitable business venture. This idea is for a couple of different reasons. For one, a key component of a pickleball bar and restaurant is alcoholic beverages. You might be wondering why liquor sales are so important. Well, various types of alcohol have a higher markup than all the other types of inventory you can find in back of house storage. Therefore, serving anything from local beer brands to popular cocktails can outweigh the profits from food and pickleball equipment rentals. 

Then, you have the general popularity of dining out. But when you implement elements of a unique business model, such as pickleball courts, you’re implementing product differentiation. But due to the familiar landscape of bars and restaurants, you’ll also offer the public a new go-to spot for food and drinks. As a result, it creates a rare scenario where a business caters to both a general and niche audience.

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Top Pickleball Restaurant Establishments In the United States

Various pickleball restaurant brands are quickly turning into some of the top sports bars in the United States. After all, they offer customers much more than others. From spacious pickleball courts to great deals on equipment rentals, there are many successful pickleball bar and restaurant brands. 

Are you looking for a pickleball restaurant near you? Perhaps one of the following options is a short drive away:

  1. The Bumpy Pickle in Houston, TX
  2. CityPickle in Queens, NY
  3. Chicken N Pickle in Kansas City, MO
  4. Pickle and Social in Atlanta, GA
  5. Rally Entertainment in Charlotte, North Carolina

As of January 2024, there aren’t many restaurants that share a space with pickleball courts. But as new and innovative pickleball business ideas continue to flourish, it’ll only be a matter of time until this niche market expands to be something much more popular. And if it’s anything like other business types, such as sports bars to watch football, it’ll become mainstream pretty quickly. Then, the pickleball business model will be much more abundant, becoming another competitive landscape. 

Pickleball Country Club vs. Regular Country Clubs

With the rise in popularity of pickleball restaurants, pickleball courts are also emerging at country clubs. Then, there are pickleball restaurants that offer customers memberships, similar to the traditional country club business model. 

The main difference between pickleball and country clubs is that the primary sport at country clubs is golf. But more importantly, the membership fees are drastically higher than those of pickleball clubs. As a result, pickleball clubs don’t have as much exclusivity as country clubs do. 

It’s also safe to say that country club dining is more upscale. While country club weddings and corporate gatherings are super common, pickleball clubs are significantly more informal. In fact, these kinds of events would probably never take place at a pickleball restaurant. It’s not that they aren’t enjoyable. Actually, they’re one of the more fun yet laid back types of eateries. It’s just that they’re not formal enough for elaborate events and special occasions. 

Frequently Asked Questions About a Pickleball Restaurant

The pickleball food and beverage sector is quite a change of pace compared to other business types. It’s surprising to see how much more a restaurant enterprise can thrive simply by adding pickleball courts to the property. With this in mind, it’s absolutely vital to learn everything about the matter before operating such a business. Though this blog post should be a solid starting point, there’s still more information that we must unpack. 

Is It Worth Opening a Pickleball Restaurant In 2024?

If you have a passion for pickleball, sports bars, and the hospitality industry as a whole, then yes, it’s certainly worth opening a pickleball restaurant! For one, they’re a unique business model since they include a sport. But at the same time, they’re ideal for the whole family, as they operate as a regular casual dining establishment.

Is It Expensive to Open a Pickleball Restaurant?

Yes, it can be fairly expensive to open a pickleball restaurant. But remember–these costs will vary depending on several factors. Location, size, and your menu are just three aspects of a pickleball restaurant that can impact the total startup price. However, it’s safe to say that it’ll cost anywhere from $500,000 to a million dollars.

What Kind of Food Does a Restaurant With Pickleball Have On Its Menu?

Restaurants with pickleball courts typically serve bar food, comfort food, and American classics. The menus are often reminiscent of standard sports bars. Those who dine at a pickleball restaurant can expect to see things like tossed wings, classic American cheeseburgers, delicious appetizer trays, and more.

Are Pickleball Restaurants Becoming More Popular In the United States?

Yes, the pickleball restaurant business model is becoming a staple in modern society. The addition of pickleball courts serves as a secondary source of revenue for restaurants. Therefore, it's a profitable investment. That's if there are enough equipment rentals, of course.

Who Is the Target Audience for a Restaurant With Pickleball Courts?

The target audience for a restaurant with pickleball is anyone and everyone who is looking for tasty food, refreshing drinks, and a round or two of pickleball! However, not everyone who dines at such an establishment will end up on the courts. It’s simply a more interactive version of a standard sports bar. As a result, most people can enjoy the menus, TV screens, and casual atmosphere.

Restaurants With Pickleball: A New Take On Sports Bars

As you can see, there are many parallels between sports bars and pickleball restaurants. The two business models can intersect to offer locals something fun and unique. In the meantime, a pickleball restaurant owner can delve into general sports bar marketing tips to get it off the ground. Then, once it gains some traction, they can make it more pickleball-centric.