Family Entertainment Centers spend a lot of money trying to attract new customers but do not focus enough on increasing the frequency of visitation of their core customers. Once you attract a customer, then you have to give them real incentives to come back. That means achieving the following:
1.Providing a quality experience (in fact, this entire column presupposes a well managed Family Entertainment Center providing a quality entertainment experience).
2.Ensuring that the amount of money a person spends to have fun is fair, given the market demographics of your community.
3.Offer different incentives for each type of customer to register and to come back again (VIP plus bring a friend programs).
4.Finally, offer an incentive for that person to bring someone else with them when they return and get that new person to register.
Our hypothetical Family Entertainment Center can initially live off a 35,000 customer base, but we all know that operating costs continue to increase and the current customer base will naturally decrease. If you want to grow your profits you’ve got to turn that 35,000 base (100,000 annual visits) into a larger base and at the same time increase the frequency of visitation. Just a small increase in both categories can quickly add up an overall increase in total attendance. And that is without increasing average per capita spending!
There are so many factors that come into play in building and operating a profitable Family Entertainment Center. But if you start with the right location with the right amount of investment, you give yourself a fighting chance. Then, if you reinvest in your facility and you learn how to target the core customers and get them to visit more frequently, you can propel your growth instead of stagnating or losing ground after the initial novelty wears off. Unfortunately, many operators are just doing the basics or less. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We can do so much with just a little bit of extra focused effort to build our businesses.