Providing the Right Mix of Attractions and Special Party Offers at Family Entertainment Centers

June 1, 2011 No Comments

Family Entertainment Centers (FECs) offer a variety of activities for all ages. The Roller Skating Association International has many members who own and operate FECs.
Scott Drummond, Party Center Software, and former FEC owner with 11 years experience, offered a few tips in regard to planning an expansion into the FEC world.
“You need to identify who your target market really is, not who you want it to be. Do regional research to decide what elements will work for your area. Before deciding to expand, try to utilize space that is already available.”
Drummond further explained, “Owners can invest in soft play elements to use on the skate floor during a ‘no skate’ afternoon. Use space that is already available at a time when it is not being used. These bounce house objects lower your target audience to the toddler age group.”
Elaine Parker of Fairfield, Ill., Skateland Rollersport, owns and operates what she called a CFFC, or Christian Family Fun Center. The CFFC boasts 13,000 square feet of skating, indoor glow miniature golf, redemption games and a family play zone.
The PlaySmart play zone is a netted area so guests never lose sight of the child playing. It offers crawling and climbing up to a 10-foot ceiling and double 12-foot slide. The glow miniature golf is a glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course with a jungle theme. Redemption games are all kid friendly with no violent or lewd games offered, and the music is also Christian based.
Rollerworld of Colchester, UK, offers roller skating, air hockey, Bowlingo, pool and Quasar laser tag. Andy Starr operates this facility and he shared his philosophy of offering an atmosphere and attractions with synergy, which leads to a fun and clean venue people will return to.
Rollerworld offers skating and Quasar laser tag parties. The facility also hosts a café and bar.
“We try to make ourselves a venue people grow into not out of,” Starr said.
Debbie Warner, one of the owners of Stoney Creek Roller Rink & Fun Center in Woodstock, Va.,  is in the third generation of her family to be in the roller skating business. She said the center has had a recent expansion. “We moved to a new facility in 2003 that is almost an acre under roof.  We have a roller rink but we added other things to appeal to all ages, like bumper cars, laser tag, indoor mini golf, a large arcade and a restaurant.”
Jeff Scott of Scotties Fun Spot detailed his company’s 2.5 million dollar expansion. “We have a two-story play area (Ball-o-City with foam balls), themed laser tag, Highway 66 mini-bowling, spin zone bumper cars, laser frenzy, a 65-game arcade with swipe system, a snack bar converted to a restaurant-type menu, as well as roller skating.”
Scott’s research was a combination of traveling to the IAAPA show, attending Foundations Entertainment University and consultations with Jerry Merola, a Foundations presenter who is Managing Partner of Amusement Entertainment Management, LCC and CFO of Alpha-Omega Amusements. Scotties continues to offer parties in six birthday party rooms as well as school skate parties and all-inclusive After Prom packages.
The FEC world has much to offer, but in the end you choose the right ingredients for your fun recipe. Do your research and invest in what is right for your facility. -
(Susan Melenchuk is the Executive Director of the Roller Skating Association International.)

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