Last Word: A Partnership Of Fun

By Michael Crowley

Ten Pin Eatery, the entertainment complex opening its doors at Cape Cod Mall this month, is a joint venture between two well-established local companies – Chapin’s Restaurant Group and Ryan’s. ­e complex includes a 300-seat restaurant and bar, VIP lounge, 11 lanes of Ten Pin bowling, a Cape Cod-themed laser tag arena, and an arcade. Leading the project is a contingent of principals from Ryan’s, Chapin’s Restaurant, and Chapin’s Fish & Chips.

Th­e project started with a conversation with Simon Mall leasing about renewing our (Ryan’s) lease on a 3,300-square-foot game room at the mall. Th­ey asked if we would be interested in 10,000 square feet. I told them no, but we’d be interested in 30,000 square feet! We ended up agreeing on a 25,000-square-foot space. Th­at conversation took place in January 2016 and it’s been full steam ahead ever since.

We’re often asked how we chose our restaurant partner and what the collaboration process has been like. Going into the project, we had several must-haves for our ideal partner.

Th­ey had to serve consistently good food. Th­ey had to want to create a fun and fast-paced environment. They had to be partners we could communicate openly with and they had to share the same goals.

We look at this collaboration as a marriage. Our two organizations need to not only appear to be one, but need to work as one team. We were signing a 10-year lease and we knew there would be good days and bad days. We wanted a partner with the same culture of family first, hard work, honesty, and integrity, with a passion for what they do. Chapin’s fit all of those criteria, and more, so we embarked on this innovative partnership.

From that initial conversation in 2016 to now getting ready to open our doors, the collaborative process has been seamless for a few reasons. Number one, we established early on a philosophy of open and honest communication.

We have to keep in mind that the success of the whole may require compromise. We have to remember that customer experience is the key. If it requires that we need to adapt, then we adapt. Together, we have to be willing to make the changes required for a smooth operation.

Second, our leadership styles are similar. We both have large partnerships that have open dialogue. We both have recognized leaders that speak for the group. I think that both sides have a great deal of respect for the skills that we each bring to the partnership. Ryan’s and Chapin’s current businesses succeed because each partner brings a specific skill and fills a role. Ten Pin will succeed because each group has a skill set. We know our own roles and respect each other’s roles.

I was asked recently what one piece of advice I would give to someone considering a collaboration of this type and scale. I would simply say to have clearly defined roles and responsibilities, and to respect the expertise that each individual brings to their role.

As businesses, we all want to grow, but have limited resources. By combining resources and strengths, we can do far more together than we can do alone. Your team and your ability to work as a team are your most valuable assets. Our team at Ten Pin looks forward to welcoming all of you in the months and years ahead!\

Michael Connolly is a managing partner of Ryan’s Family Amusements/Ten Pin Eatery. More at