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Chasing What’s New and Hot

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.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 30-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri , has worked for over 550 clients in 36 countries in North and Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Projects the company has produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment, play and leisure facilities. Randy was featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company’s projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment. Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He has authored over 100 articles that have been published in leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker at conventions of over 20 different leisure trade groups. Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter - https://twitter.com/whitehutchinson
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