When it comes to many family entertainment center (FEC) type venues, all they do is chase the latest fad in attractions rather than develop a sustainable model. I can’t tell you how many times after attending the annual IAAPA show I am asked, “What is new and hot. What’s the next big thing?” This might be appropriate for video and redemption games, many of which can have short lives, but when it comes to attractions, there are classics that just keep on going like the Eveready Energizer Bunny – bowling, laser tag, miniature golf – to name just a few examples. The real issue is both:
- How you serve them up, what else you offer including food and beverage, the design and décor of the space, and management, which means the quality of customer service, for not only the walk-in customers, but group business as well.
- And understanding how to develop the business to target and please a particular market rather then trying to please everyone and end up not being special to anyone.
FECs are perhaps one of the most complex and difficult type businesses there is, as you are in at least three different businesses all at once, any one of which is difficult enough by itself – entertainment, food and beverage and catering to groups.
When it comes to the mix, it is far wiser to build it based on the proven classic anchor attractions that have stood the test of time rather than continually chase the next big thing.