In 2014, Tom Ryan, one of the co-founders of Smashburger, saw an opportunity in the bustling sports bar category, and co-founded Tom’s Watch Bar at the entertainment complex La Live in Los Angeles. At the beginning, it was self-capitalized.

Ryan says Tom’s Watch Bar drew on “changing demography, viewing choices, fan engagement and gender balance.”

How could Tom’s Watch Bar compete against the existing sports bar chains such as Beef O Brady’s, Hurricane Grill & Wings and Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux? Ryan replies that “My partners and I take familiar thematics that most Americans know and find modern perspectives and next generational approaches to execute them in new ways.”

Ryan built it up to the point where Tom’s Watch Bar had grown to six sports bars including venues at Coors Field in Denver, Mohegan Sun Resort/Casino in Connecticut where the WNBA Connecticut Sun play, and at the Vegas Strip in the NY NY Hotel and Casino, and its newest in Minneapolis, located in proximity to the Target Center (Timberwolves/Lynx) and Target Field (Twins).