Family Entertainment Center

How to Start Building a Playbook for Your FEC

A playbook is a storehouse for all of your company’s tribal knowledge. In this article, we highlight how you can start building a playbook for your FEC.

Building a playbook for your FEC is a transformative experience. 

In short, a playbook is a storehouse for all of your company’s tribal knowledge. It’s a collection of best practices, processes, procedures, - anything and everything related to how you run your business. 

Its true purpose is to enable your family entertainment center to function like a well-oiled machine, in which almost everything is a repeatable, documented process. This allows you and your team to focus on what’s next, like areas to improve, new offerings, or new attractions. Wouldn’t that be great? 


Our new guide on building a playbook will help you:

  1. Identify the core elements of your unique playbook.
  2. Get your team to buy in.
  3. Manage and maintain the build-out process.

We also provide you with templates that'll get the ball rollin'. If you'd like to learn more about how to start building an FEC playbook, click on the image below to download a copy of this complimentary guide!

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Why should I start building a playbook for my FEC?

As an FEC owner or operator, the last thing you want to be is a babysitter. You left those days in your teen years. 

Unfortunately, a lot of owners spend too much time trying to be everything. They train, teach, manage, host, and promote. But, how can you scale (or simply, effectively run a business) if everything lives in your head? Or in the heads of a select few?

In his book, The E-Myth Revisited, Michael Gerber addresses this very topic. He says that as an entrepreneur, you should work on your business, not in your business. Otherwise, it’s just a job!

He also dives into his idea of The Franchise Prototype. Meaning that by developing consistency in your business, you create the opportunity to focus on where to improve or innovate.

Now, a real playbook isn’t a glorified manual. It’s a living ecosystem that allows your team to contribute, manage and measure what works, and improve internal processes over time. 

How to Start Building a Playbook for Your FEC

Here are a few reasons why building a playbook will transform your family entertainment center.

You’ll be able to:

  1. Track goals, new initiatives, and offerings, and quickly determine what works.
  2. Avoid mistakes that are the result of failing to follow processes.
  3. On-board new staff quickly.
  4. Guide younger staff.
  5. Encourage staff to build on their knowledge and improve processes by contributing to the playbook.
  6. Create a consistent environment for your customers.

And much, much more. So if you’re ready to jump in, let’s get into it. 

1. Perform an audit

Before you start building a playbook for your FEC, perform an audit of what’s already documented. 

You probably have a training manual or documentation elsewhere in your facility (a stack of papers, perhaps?) that you might want to first organize and then include in your playbook. Consider any gaps and make note of what isn’t documented, what should be updated, and what is outdated. Now is the time for a bit of spring cleaning!

If you’re starting with very little or no documentation, or perhaps you’ve just opened or are about to open a facility, I’d recommend you start by listing the different areas, departments, and offerings of your business and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does/will my start-of-day opening process look like?
  • What does/will my end-of-day closing process look like?
  • What are/will be all of the steps of my hiring process?
  • What are/will be all of the steps of my onboarding process? 
  • What do/will my sanitary procedures look like?
  • What are/will be my greeting processes? Do/will I have scripts for hello, goodbye, and customer handling problems?
  • Do/will I have an emergency procedure? What does/will it look like?
  • What does/will my party booking process look like? What are/will be my offerings? 
  • What are my revenue goals?

2. Give your playbook a home

Next, think about where you’d like to host or store your playbook. 

Sure, you might want to start building your playbook in Google Docs or Microsoft Office, but over time, you’re just going to create a bunch of files and this can get messy - fast!

We recommend choosing a digital, cloud-based platform to store your playbook, like EditMe or Trainual

EditMe is a wiki website solution that’s budget-friendly. It is completely customizable and allows you to easily share content and files. Using a platform like EditMe also allows you to make changes in real-time. You can set permissions and give all or certain team members access to the playbook. Here at Party Center Software, we house our playbook on EditMe.

As mentioned above, there are other cloud-based platforms you can use, such as Trainual or Sharepoint, so explore all of the options available and make the best decision for you and your team.

3. Organize your playbook

Once you settle on where to house your playbook, start thinking about how things should be organized. 

How might the different areas of your business translate into tabs, sections, or topics?

Perhaps everything related to birthday parties should exist in one area, under the umbrella topic of “Offerings & Services."

On the other hand, you might want to split things up by creating another umbrella section called “Processes & Procedures” in which you include all birthday party processes and checklists, but leave the actual package items and prices under “Offerings & Services." It’s all ultimately up to you and your team. 

4. Get team buy-in

If you want to start building a playbook for your FEC, then you’ll need to involve your team from the very beginning. 

Hold a team meeting to discuss your business’s mission, vision, and values. Discuss the impact you want to have on your customers. How will a playbook help your business create a better experience for your customers? How will a playbook help your business grow? Remember, if your staff is invested and sees the potential a playbook will bring, then they will use your playbook. 

Lastly, be sure to assign team captains for each section of the playbook and establish clear goals. Ask your team what they would like to work on and use this time to brainstorm. Together, you’ll be able to create a tool that’ll help your business reach new heights.

And there you have it! Everything you need to know to start building a playbook for your FEC. In next week's article, we will provide you with additional information on the foundational elements of an FEC playbook as well as an FEC playbook template. Stay tuned.

Upcoming Webinar

Join us for our upcoming webinar on Thursday, January 28th at 2 P.M. EST. Together with our friends at Creative Works, we will discuss everything related to Creating a Better Experience for Your Target Demographic. You won't want to miss this live event!

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