Reinvesting in Your Entertainment Business Success Stories
As you may know by now, our motto for 2021 is “ALL IN.” We want to help you achieve your best year yet. More importantly, we want to help set you up for long-term success and be able to crush your goals through maximizing every aspect of your operation. One way to help reach those goals is by using this unique opportunity coming out of the pandemic to reinvest in your business.
Recently, we published this piece on the importance of reinvesting in your FEC (Family Entertainment Center) in order to achieve long-term payoffs. We discussed how FECs have an important opportunity right now, and also looked at specific ways you can use this time to reinvest (in some cases, for free).
To complement that blog and give some real life examples, we reached out to several FEC operators to discuss with them how they’ve recently reinvested in their business and found success. Then, we analyzed a few more projects we’ve done recently where operators were confident moving forward with projects during the pandemic. Read on to learn how we’ve helped several businesses take a big step towards reaching their goals and strongly improving their customer experience.
Facility information: Located in Lincoln, Nebraska, Sun Valley Lanes is a traditional bowling facility that has since expanded to include a variety of other attractions.
How they reinvested: John Losito, owner of Sun Valley Lanes, decided that he wanted to work with us to bring laser tag to his facility. Upon learning of an opportunity to acquire additional land, Losito knew he had to take advantage. He called Nick Salfity, one of our Creative Consultants, to discuss adding our Cosmic Golf mini golf to fill the new space.
After talking with Losito, Salfity proposed an alternative to our Cosmic Golf: our new Lucky Putt attraction. The super-sized, gamified version of mini golf was EXACTLY what Losito was looking for to appeal to the young adult demographic. Sun Valley Lanes successfully added both laser tag and Lucky Putt and is seeing excellent returns.
Download This Presentation to Learn How Lucky Putt Can Boost Your Revenue
Comments From the operator (John Losito)
On why they reinvested: “I found myself thinking very early on in the pandemic that at some point in time, life would return to somewhat normal, and when it did, after we were held in ‘seclusion’ for so long, I felt that people would be looking to be social again. I wanted to be ready for that, which is why I decided to continue on with my renovation and expansion plans.”
On the importance of social media during the pandemic: “We were able to use our construction time to update our social media followers while we were closed, and then after reopening, during a time when social media use was at an all-time high. This kept our customers both informed and interested in our project, which helped a great deal when we finally announced that we were open.”
Advice to other operators: “Look for all opportunities to engage with your customers whenever you have an opportunity to promote something new. A fresh coat of paint, a new logo, new staff or any other improvement or change in your business shows your customers that you care about them and their experience. Making these small investments helps in the long run, as it builds a sense of reinvestment/improvement into your culture.”
On the outlook of the facility after reinvesting: “Honestly, I’m a bit scared. We are basically hitting our revenue projections now, and we are still at limited capacity. If we were allowed to go to 100% capacity tomorrow, I don’t think we could handle the influx in business. We are addressing our employee shortage as creatively as we can, which as many operators know, is a challenge right now. It’s a strange problem to have, but a good problem to have. As long as we can continue to meet our service expectations, we are going to do tremendously well.”
Facility information: 814 Lanes and Games is a rebranded FEC in Johnstown, PA that includes bowling, laser tag, escape rooms, virtual reality and more.
How they reinvested: The facility was formerly a traditional bowling center that the owners were intent on transforming into a full-on FEC. They wanted first-class attractions that made them the premier destination for family entertainment in the area. We worked with them to add escape rooms and laser tag.
Comments From the operator (Chris Hogue)
On why they reinvested: “We knew that there was going to be a time that is fast approaching when people were going to be ready to go out again and they would be ready to make up for lost time. These customers were also going to be interested in seeing a clean and safe environment and clean crisp new attractions would show them we care about them.”
On his new attractions: “We have items no one in our area has. We have seen significant traffic following stimulus check releases and look forward to showing off our new attractions as more and more people feel comfortable coming out again.”
On educating yourself before reinvesting: “We took the time to educate ourselves before making decisions. By attending trade shows such as IAAPA, along with smaller educational seminars such as Foundations University and [Amusement] 360, we were able to meet different vendors and different owner operators to ask questions and feel comfortable with our decisions. Even though we don’t have immediate plans, we will continue to attend these opportunities to see the new technologies and build relationships within the FEC network so when the time is right, we have the information ready, the vendor relationships and the knowledge of what will work best.”
On the returns from reinvestment: “People have loved our new items and we have seen success with parties. We are looking forward to utilizing our attraction mix for corporate events as businesses reward employees hard work over the last year and a half. We expect to have a very successful winter season with parents and corporations making up for missed holiday parties and birthdays in 2020.”
Facility information: FatCats is a well known movie theater and entertainment chain across the western United States with locations in Colorado, Arizona, Utah, Idaho.
How they reinvested: The Queen Creek, AZ location was looking to expand beyond just movies, and have entertainment options. The goal was to bring in other money-making attractions that gave guests a new entertainment option while they were waiting for a movie, or simply looking for a unique and immersive experience. We worked with FatCats to bring in 9 holes of Cosmic Golf, complete with DMX integration and sound and lighting effects.
Facility information: Valley Lanes, located in Midland, MI, is another entertainment center that started primarily as a bowling facility and wanted to branch out to include other attractions.
How they reinvested: We worked with Valley Lanes to bring our escape rooms to their facility. The business had an old conference room that was not being used much. To take better advantage of this space and turn it into a profit center, Valley Lanes chose two of our escape room themes, Pharaoh’s Revenge and Mayday, to give their facility a revenue boost.
Facility information: Delton Bowling in Riverton, UT is a bowling facility that has been open since December of 2014. The Orr family, the owners of the facility, have been in the bowling business for over 56 years. Over the years, they’ve focused on striving to achieve a successful and long standing relationship with the families in their hometown. The facility includes bowling, cornhole, laser tag, an arcade, a bar and grill, and more.
How they reinvested: Delton was interested in redoing their laser tag arena. They worked with us to create a “mining” themed laser tag arena, complete with a 3D minecart with lighting and fog effects, additional DMX lighting, and an inner mine rock center prop.
Facility information: Tonkawa Indian Casino in Tonkawa, OK is owned and operated by the Tonkawa Tribe of Indians of Oklahoma.
How they reinvested: Recently, the casino was looking to expand its attraction mix to open a new entertainment area with bowling, arcade, Esports, movies, event rooms and a sports bar. We provided the Esports for the casino, pictured below.