How Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar Innovates with Non-Traditional Locations
Shuckin’ Shack, the expanding oyster bar concept, has set itself apart from its competitors by offering guests a dining experience like no other.
According to Jonathan Weathington, the CEO at Shuckin’ Shack, the key to the brand’s success has been its ability to think outside the box. As part of the brand’s strategy, Shuckin’ Shack has leveraged unique spaces to create an atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on patrons.
“At Shuckin’ Shack, we really try to think outside the box in every way possible. Our non-traditional spaces can help create memorable dining experiences, which is just a small slice of who we are as a brand. We’re not like the rest, and that’s what helps us stand out,” Weathington says.
One example of this innovative business strategy can be found in the Shuckin’ Shack franchise in Salisbury, North Carolina. In 2016, Franchise Owner Larry Roth and his family took a different path and chose to open their restaurant in the town of Salisbury, which is home to about 33,000 people, instead of going for a big city like they were suggested.
“We actually chose to go into a town smaller than we thought we should, and it started very slowly. But we’re in a very historic building, and despite starting slow, we have very good momentum right now,” said Roth.
Despite entering a smaller market, the Salisbury location has become one of Shuckin’ Shack’s top-performing franchises. Though, that success hasn’t come without its own challenges. Roth says the restaurant experienced a slow start and had more employees than customers in its early years. However, in 2018, the tide began to turn, and by 2019, the location had gained significant traction. On weekends, patrons may now see 30-to-40-minute wait times. The COVID-19 pandemic also brought its own set of obstacles and resulted in a 66-day closure. However, Roth and his family persevered, and in the time since they’ve reopened their doors, they’ve regained momentum and have seen a successful few years.
But what makes Roth’s Shuckin’ Shack franchise so special is its unique location and the way it embraces history. The restaurant is housed in the Washington Building, where President George Washington himself stayed during his travels. It’s filled with a fascinating history that everyone can appreciate. And that’s not all – the area is also historically significant because it’s close to where Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. President, attended law school.
“It’s a very historic area. It has a really nice Americana feeling to it, and you can just tell it’s historic when you walk through our front doors,” Roth said.
To further enhance the ambiance, the bar is adorned with pictures and memorabilia depicting the history of Salisbury, including a photograph of a letter that Washington once wrote to the town’s people. The restaurant’s 1,800-square-foot serving area also features other historic artifacts, beach-themed décor and a bar that stretches the length of the restaurant.
“We even have the original wood floors that we’ve tried to preserve and have redone a couple of times,” noted Roth.
When asked about advice for potential Franchise Owners who may be considering opening non-traditional locations, Roth says it’s important to create a one-of-a-kind environment that will leave guests with a lasting impression.
“You need to make your space unique and it needs to tell a story. Half of it is the great food, preparation and service that we offer as a Shuckin’ Shack. But the atmosphere also needs to make people want to come back,” Roth concluded.