News Flashes from Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine

April 2, 2013 No Comments

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Barron Games Offers the X-Putt Nano

Barron Games International exhibited early this year the X-Putt Nano, an addition to the company’s product line that was first debuted at IAAPA 2012. The X-Putt Nano incorporates the same great features as the original X-Putt, but is over 50 percent smaller. The size of this unit makes it a great opportunity for locations where space is at a premium such as bars, country clubs, casinos and arcades.

Features of X-Putt Nano include:  Realistic game play; Quick turnover, a 10-ball game; Quick and simple installation and easy-to-follow touch screen instruction. Additionally, players can putt for practice or redemption tickets. For more information about the X-Putt Nano and all of the other products from Barron Games International visit the company’s website www.barrongames.com or call 716-866-0054.

Special Tourist Attractions & Parks Magazine Newsletter Feature

Increasing Profits from Fun Foods at Leisure Entertainment Facilities

Food fads may come and go, but fun foods – from popcorn and cotton candy to ice cream, donuts, nachos and more – will always be staples at leisure entertainment facilities. By following a few key strategies, amusement parks, family entertainment centers, bowling alleys, skating rinks and other entities can maximize the profits generated by such items.

Paying strict attention to portion control – and ensuring that staff does not exceed set portions – is paramount. Under the aegis of what it calls the “Perfect Plate System,” Silver Dollar City in Branson, Mo., takes and shows to foodservice employees photographs of all food items, with the correct portions clearly depicted. The system helped to stop staff of the facility’s ice cream parlor from serving patrons who had ordered one scoop of ice cream the equivalent of one and three-quarter scoops of ice cream, according to Terry Riddle, director of food and beverage. At Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., consistent portions are, despite highly inexperienced foodservice staff, maintained by pre-portioning many ingredients, including cheese. A sauce dispenser also helps in this regard.

Brian O’Gara, vice president, Lil’ Orbits, Inc, said some owners and operators make the common mistake of “giving away” condiments and other additions to fun food, thereby eating into their profits. “For example, we advise operations that serve our mini-donuts on trays with the icing on the side for guests to add themselves not to give people enough icing to cover a dozen donuts,” O’Gara said. “Instead, we recommend that they charge 50 cents extra for additional cups of icing, which not only yields extra profits; it brings customers back for additional donuts to use up the extra icing.”

O’Gara, along with a spokesperson for Gold Medal Products, added that following manufacturers’ food preparation and machine usage tips can also reduce waste and up the profitability ante. For instance, Gold Medal Products recommends that although popcorn and cooking oil often come in pre-measured bags, and popping machines are generally set for maximum popping efficiency, adjustments in heating, oil amounts and agitation sometimes must be made to improve popping percentages and keep un-popped kernels to a minimum. Similarly, Lil’ Orbits supplies its foodservice customers with shortening whose flash (ignition) point of 600 degrees is recommended for use when frying fun foods at the commonly used temperature of 375 degrees. “There are, however, shortenings with a flash point of between 400 and 425 degrees; using these can burn up profits in more ways than one,” O’Gara stated.

Adding novel twists to fun food can go equally far towards boosting fun food profits, noted Gary Lauber, president of Glo Cone International. Such “twists” can come in the form of changes to the food itself, or to the manner in which it is sold.  ABQ BioPark in Albuquerque, N.M., has given its cotton candy profits “a boost” by switching from paper cones to illuminated LED cones, said General Manager Annie Fedora. O’Gara noted that some Lil’ Orbits customers have reported good results from selling his company’s mini-donuts by the bucket and giving customers the option to refill the buckets during the same visit at a discount.

On the novelty food side, Six Flags Great America now touts the Sno Mixer, a giant Sno Cone whose size nearly rivals that of three individual Sno Cones combined. Visitors can add their choice of up to six flavorings to the item, which costs little more to make than a standard Sno Cone. For those operators that sell popcorn, Gold Medal Products promote the idea of adding gourmet caramel corn or cheese popcorn to the mix; the former yields a profit margin of 72 cents to 82 cents, versus much less for plain popcorn.

Finally, despite the innate appeal of fun food, operators would do well to consider, as O’Gara put it, “location, location, location,” showcasing products where the highest volume of visitor traffic will be attracted to the sight and aroma of whatever is being featured. To illustrate this point, O’Gara cited the example of one Lil’ Orbits customer, a family entertainment center with a separate haunted house attraction. The facility’s donut concession was originally situated near the haunted house’s exit. While it performed well there, it did not live up to its profitability potential. The Lil’ Orbits team suggested that the concession be re-located to a prominent spot near the entrance to the haunted house, “so people who were standing there could, as they waited in the (ever-present line), see and smell it,” O’Gara said. “Once the stand was moved, members of groups started to send one person off the line to buy donuts—and the owner doubled his profits.”

For its part, Enchanted Forest/Water Safari is maximizing profits from mini-donuts, cotton candy and ice cream in part due to the location of a concession stand at the front entrance to the park, reported Katie Wojdyle, vice president and director of marketing. The stand is in close proximity of an attention-grabbing oversized Paul Bunyan statue and the gift shop of the same name. It lures hungry customers as they enter the park, as well as garners business from those who want a sweet treat before they head home.

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