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Opening A Family Entertainment Center? Here Are 3 Things To Consider
Opening a Family Entertainment Center, or already have the wheels in motion? Here are 3 things to consider to help you make your new business a success.
Are you thinking about opening a Family Entertainment Center or already have the wheels in motion?
My guess is that you’re a special breed of business owner. While others:
- Research lawnmowers, you test go-karts.
- Set up cubicles, you fell in love with an abandoned big-box store.
- Adjust their desk chairs, you install trampolines.
Your dream is to take your childhood memories and turn them into a reality for another generation.
With that said, your memories probably don’t include all of the hard work the owner of that family entertainment center had to put in behind the scenes. Those precious moments were only made possible through their efforts.
The Family Entertainment Center Landscape
According to the 2020 Small Business Profile, there are over 31.7 million small businesses in the United States, comprising 99.9% of all companies.
If you’re looking to open your own family entertainment center, there are many steps that you must take in order to be successful. These range from market research and funding, to choosing the right name and picking the right a location.
With a 48.8%, five-year small business survival rate, implementing a winning strategy quickly is almost as important as picking the right one.
When you’re opening your own family entertainment center however, there are going to be a few added factors that other entrepreneurs tend to overlook. Just like laser tag phasers, your new client base will evolve over time.
Opening a Family Entertainment Center? Here are 3 Things to Consider
Every business owner faces unique challenges in their industry.
Here are a few ways new FEC owners can set themselves up for success.
1. Get Involved with Your Community
“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” - Sam Walton
Even though you own your business, you still report to the customer - even more so if you decided to open a family entertainment center!
Your ongoing commitment to your community will be key here. A tourist destination still has “dry” seasons, so nurturing your relationship with the locals will always be an important.
Your event bookings will likely fit into one of the three following categories. To maximize each area, here are some ways you can get involved with your local community:
- Birthday Parties:
Get involved with your local school district. Make it a point to meet the administration and attend school board meetings. This might be a great time to offer your facility as a field trip or after-school program location.
The majority of a child's time is spent with their teachers and guardians, who you can impress by getting involved. After all, who is paying for this event and (literally) driving them to your facility?
If you have a budget for this, consider sponsoring local athletics or even offering some sort of scholarship. Pass out coupons and be sure to announce any specials!
- Corporate Events
Join and attend meetings at your local chamber of commerce.
Building a relationship with fellow entrepreneurs will help you stay top-of-mind next time they’re looking to host a fun team-building event somewhere!
- Youth Groups (Religious, Boys & Girls Club)
Schedule a quick, 10 minute meeting over coffee with each youth pastor and program director in the area.
Ask them for advice on how you could make your venue better, and build trust so that you center will become their go-to place for events.
2. Don’t Forget the Food
The longer a customer stays at your facility, the more revenue can be generated from their visit.
Both outdoor and indoor family entertainment centers should consider offering refreshments.
Here's an idea:
- Food Trucks
Off The Grid is leading the mobile food movement. Their 2019 Mobile Food Trends Report estimates a 20% growth in size for the food truck industry. If you’re in a city with such a community, you’re in luck! There are going to be new trucks that need a place to park, and you’re paving your parking lot next week.
Off The Grid also outlines how “creative uses of mobile food can provoke thought, conversation and build community by inserting pockets of the unexpected into the urban fabric.” Consider the following each truck may generate, or already has!
3. Don’t “Tough-It-Out” with Tech
Every night, you lock up thousands of dollars in high-tech, laser combat equipment.
Your employees still have to call in order to check their schedule every week.
You have tens of thousands in square footage with at least 4 anchor attractions.
Your customers still have to call during business hours to book your space.
You have awesome merchandise, and customers want to sport your logo.
Your point-of-sale system takes 5 minutes to process the order, and struggles to accept modern payment methods.
Do you see the problem?
After spending so much on your new family entertainment center, it might be tempting to skimp on tech. Don’t.
Your customers (and employees) have certain expectations that must be met. Make it easy for them to spend money, and they will.
Picking the right tech stack is going to make your life easier, and your wallet greener. From online and mobile booking, to digital waivers and your point of sale, be sure to pick the right systems for your business.
Leave a Comment, We'd Love to Hear Your Thoughts!
Are you opening a family entertainment center? Did you like the tips in this article? Let us know in the comments below!
The importance of collecting guest data can be easily overlooked, especially if you don't know how to collect it or aren't aware of its benefits.
- Collect and use data from your facility management software.
- Use tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel to reach your target demographic.
- Gather and use information from customer surveys.
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