Top Profit-Generating Food Menu Items at Leisure Entertainment Facilities

March 15, 2011

Whether they are truly hungry and/or thirsty, or not, most guests of leisure entertainment facilities will purchase something to eat during their visit. While a wide variety of menu items have the potential for strong sales, some yield a higher profit than others.

For many operations, the top-earning fare is that which requires the least expensive ingredients, but generates a high markup. At the Franklin Skate Club in Franklin, Ind., freshly baked, butter and garlic-enhanced breadsticks with a cheese dip have long outperformed other offerings on the profitability front, according to Jerry Williams, co-owner. “It has been this way for years and years,” he stated. “They’re more of a specialized item than, say, popcorn, but they are really less costly to make than comparably priced ones, like pizza, so we can charge more for them.” Williams, who assesses the profitability of all items served at the roller rink’s snack bar about every four months to keep prices and the like on track, added that the breadsticks are also his most popular menu option in terms of number of units sold, running neck-in-neck with snow cones. The latter rank at the high end of the profitability list, “but the breadsticks still win out because the syrup and sugar for the snow cones cost a bit more,” Williams observed.

Phil Tromber, of Rio Syrup Co., said some of his company’s leisure entertainment facility customers garner higher profits from snow cones than for other menu items by adding “small, relatively inexpensive” ingredients, such as cream, a spray of “sour shot,” or a piece of fruit. “The additional perk shouldn’t cost a great deal, but it can command a bigger price and a nicer profit,” Tromber asserted. “A quick spritz of ‘sour shot’ will cost about two cents, but can bring in an extra quarter for a ‘premium’ shave ice.” Placing unaltered or jazzed up, inexpensive-to-prepare menu items in fancier containers—for instance, “showy Hawaiian flower cups” for snow cones—can up the profitability ante as well and, at fun parks and mini-golf courses, has the secondary benefit of acting as an advertisement for the concessions because “customers will be walking around with the product, showing the world what they just got,” Tromber noted.

Items that have a relatively low cost and can be prepared in large batches or sizes with less staff intervention are also top profit performers at leisure entertainment facilities. Quik n’Crispy, which features the Quik n’ Crispy greaseless fryer, has amassed a list of such products. These include: long-time favorites like French fries, 4 ounces cost operators 20 cents and can sell for $1.29, leaving a gross profit of $1.09; and onion rings, with a cost per 4 ounces at 44 cents, an average retail price of $1.69 and a gross profit of $1.25; and chicken nuggets, at 40 cents for a 3.3-ounce serving, a retail price of $1.59, and a profit of $1.19.

Pizza falls into this category as well. At Putters Family Entertainment Center in Eugene, Ore., pizza “is, without a doubt, the top performer” in the profitability area, stated Steve Gilbert, owner. “Although we do very well with a number of the fried items, pizza, which is our specialty, just dwarfs everything else” on the balance sheet. For maximum profitability, Putters does not offer pizza by the slice, but instead features a wide variety of whole pies in three sizes: large ($20 to $30, depending on the topping); small ($9); and miniature (personal, $5).

Gilbert said he does not calculate labor costs for Putters’ concession component separately from the entertainment component. “As long as the total cost of food remains at just under 30 percent, and that is what it is for pizza, I know that the profitability picture is good,” he said. “All of our items are profitable; it’s just that pizza is a standout.”

The same is true at Rose Bowl in Montrose, Colo., where, said Co-Owner John Bullington, pizza is off the charts. Customers frequenting the snack bar have their choice of two personal-size pizzas: cheese ($5) or personal supreme pizza ($8), with or without extra toppings (75 cents apiece); and two traditional pizzas: cheese ($15) and supreme, ($20). Each topping for a traditional-size pizza runs $1.50.

Also winners for some leisure entertainment facilities: higher-quality pre-packaged items that require little or no effort to sell. “Of course, menu items like pizza, French fries and similar fare have a very high profit potential, but some of our customers in this segment do their best with the pre-packaged choices, like caramel corn,” said a spokesperson for Gold Medal Products. Operator Greg Kukucz, owner of the Monkey Island indoor playspace in Melrose Park, Ill., followed this strategy. The prepackaged items do as well, if not better, than more labor-intensive options.

Industry News

Over 120 in Attendance at EAG 2011 Redemption Seminar Program: Frank Seninsky of Amusement Entertainment Management Teaches the 10 Key Steps of Redemption Design and Layout

Sponsored by the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA), the European Amusement and Gaming Expo (EAG) held in London in January, delivered a strong performance according to attendees. Overall attendance reached in excess of 5,000 and over 140 exhibitors representing over 250 industry product lines were present. This was only the second year for the show and it has already established itself as a successful industry event.

Continuing to build on the success of the 2010 business program, EAG held a series of four free seminars addressing current issues and offering valuable information for maximizing the success and profits of an operation. Industry leader, Frank Seninsky, presented “10 Critical Steps in Designing and Laying Out a Game Zone,” walking over 120 attendees through the design process, answering questions and offering advice on setting games and attractions within an arcade or FEC to optimize customer satisfaction and business profitability. Seninsky received “Excellent” ratings from attendees and comments such as “Brilliant” and “I came to the show mainly for this seminar – I was more than satisfied with my days.” Michael Getlan also presented two seminars addressing the operational side of the family entertainment center business that were all well attended.

Seninsky noted, “Attendees came to the seminar program with a strong interest and were ready to learn the ins and outs of redemption. Show organizer, Karen Cooke, and her team found a unique and practical way to bring a successful educational program to the United Kingdom. They were able to incorporate the seminars within the trade show floor without the noise and distractions that usually exist in this type of set-up. I was overwhelmed with the enthusiasm there is currently worldwide towards learning how to really run a redemption operation.”

Kevin Williams, of international amusement and attractions consultancy KWP Ltd. and editor of The Stinger Report, stated that he felt that EAG’s seminar session this year was a powerful example of the interest shown by the trade towards what redemption has to offer the transitional amusement sector. “The decision to bring to the UK’s main amusement event, leaders in the application of redemption and FEC business, to present compelling seminars – proved to be a great success,” said Williams. “These well attended on the show floor seminar sessions, shared valuable information to an emerging market.”

Industry leader Frank Seninsky of Amusement Entertainment Management photographed while teaching a seminar at the European Amusement and Gaming Expo (EAG), which was held in London in January.

EAAPA 2011 Hosts International Education Conference During Expo: Frank Seninsky of Amusement Entertainment Management Joins Yaroslav Sobko of GameTrade to Present Three-Day Training Seminar

Eurasian Amusement Parks and Attractions Expo (EAAPA), sponsored by the Associations and Partners of Leisure Industry Alliance – federation of Russian Associations “Smile-Expo,” exceeded expectations in its second year. More than 100 exhibitors from 16 countries occupied 48,000 square feet at Moscow’s International “Crocus” Exhibition Center in February, and over 3,500 industry professionals from Russia, the CIS and other foreign countries visited the show.

Held during the Expo was the International Conference, Modernization and Innovation in the Russian Amusement Industry, which focused on the pressing issues of equipment modernization and creative approaches to the work of the amusement industry and implementation of new technologies for successful development of the industry. More than 120 directors of parks and recreation centers attended the conference program.

President/CEO of Amusement Entertainment Management, Frank Seninsky, joined GameTrade’s Executive Director/CEO, Yaroslav Sobko, to present the three-day Academy of Effective Amusement Centers, one of two business training programs held within the conference. This session focused on everything from Choosing the Location and Analysis of Infrastructure to Merchandising/Redemption and Selection of Equipment and drew 39 attendees from all over Russia and up to 9,000 miles away. Seninsky reported, “This group is really into learning about redemption and facility layout. They took notes on every aspect of the presentations. Yaroslav acted as my translator for the duration of the program. I feel honored that I was able to make many of the attendees laugh, feel comfortable and improve their current game/FEC operations. Some of our presentations went on for four hours at a time without a break. This was my second visit to Moscow.”

GameTrade announced this year that it would no longer be exhibiting at the Russian Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (RAAPA) show due to its new partnership with EAAPA. CEO of GameTrade, Yaroslav Sobko, feels this partnership is a strategic step that will yield long-term results through an increased customer base by having maximum coverage of their product. Both GameTrade representatives and Smile Expo representatives feel that EAAPA will continue to grow and become the “most important event” for parks and attractions in their market. Planning for 2012 includes expanding the Expo floor space to over 129,000 square feet.

Benchmark Games and FirstLease Unveils New Leasing Program

Benchmark Games and FirstLease has teamed up to announce a special lease program available for the top-selling Trap Door and Stop-It games.  Benchmark is a leading manufacturer of coin-operated ticket redemption and merchandisers devices based in Florida.

Recognizing that some operators have limited budgets to purchase new games for the upcoming summer season, Benchmark and FirstLease have created a financial game plan for operators to help stretch available dollars.

Al Kress of Benchmark offers this example: “Let’s say an operator has $4,300 to spend this spring for their summer investment.  The operator can exhaust their budget by purchasing a Stop-It, Trap Door or Red Hot Single.  By taking advantage of this FirstLease program, the operator purchases the Red Hot Single and leases both the Trap Door and Stop-It games. This program allows the operator to create revenue from all three new games.  Operators will benefit from the increased earnings while staying within budget.  The special leasing program is offered now through May 31, 2011.”

The financing options for lease being offered are as follows: Trap Door – lease for 36 months at 0 down and $118 per month. At the end of 36 months, option to purchase.

Stop It – lease for 36 months at 0 down and $127 per month. At the end of 36 months, option to purchase.

Benchmark Games is proud to partner this special program with FirstLease, Inc., for domestic sales of the above products.  FirstLease is a nationwide provider of financing, located in Fort Washington, Pa.

Bay Tek Games Launches New Game at Amusement Expo

Bay Tek Games had an exciting week at the Amusement Expo in Las Vegas, Nevada in March. There was the launch of their new games, Beer Ball and Boink! and a Beer Ball party.

Beer Ball is Bay Tek’s new bar piece that has both men and women enjoying the nostalgic and social game play. Beer Ball has a printer option to run special promotions and it also has league and tournament software capabilities.  Beer Ball units will be ready to ship in early April.

“The reaction from Beer Ball was overwhelming! We are excited to get the second generation out in the field as we’ve seen such early success with the Beer Ball Classic since October,” said Rick Rochetti, director of sales and marketing. “The monitor is such a benefit to the game it allows multiple players, advertising, a place to tell customers what prizes they can win using the thermal printer and much more. The software package is key to allow for easy set up of leagues and tournaments. Those are two useful promotions to increase earnings from casual play.”

Boink! made its United States debut at the Amusement Expo.  It is Bay Tek’s new interactive novelty game with an organic shape and luminescent colors. Boink! has players light on their feet and quick with their hands by trying to hit the lit targets. Boink! units are available now.

Bay Tek Games hosted a Beer Ball party on March, 1 at MVP’s lounge in Las Vegas, Nev.  At the party there were bracketed tournaments set up and all the money that was collected from the games was matched by Bay Tek and donated to each of the two associations.  Bay Tek donated $250 to the AAMA’s AAMCF to help children’s charities and to AMOA’s St. Baldrick’s to help fight children’s cancer.

The Friction Gun Game Kit from Coast to Coast Entertainment Is Shipping Now

Coast to Coast Entertainment, LLC’s exciting Friction Video Gun Game Kit is shipping. The company has been taking pre-orders since the release of the video game and has shipped a large number of kits. “The orders have been tremendous for this kit and we are building them just as fast as we can,” said Gary Balaban, the company’s owner. “The recent Amusement Expo produced a large number of orders and we are happy to say that we have stock and are getting them out quickly. Operators like the price and that it can go into just about any cabinet you have is an added bonus.”
Friction is a two-player, gun game video kit. It is designed to be easy to play with something for the casual player, as well as the experienced gamer. The kit is reasonably priced and can go in almost any cabinet you might have, as it supports EGA, VGA and CGA monitors. The kit comes complete with everything you need, including two guns.

A dedicated large version game will be available soon. Both the kit and the dedicated game yield impressive earnings while being offered at the most competitive price in the industry.

If you have any of these or anything like this, you can use this kit: Area 51, Big Buck Hunter II, Golden Tee ‘99 and Street Fighter Alpha 2.

Factory Rebate Is Available from Smart Industries

Buy a new Ultimate Big Punch game from a Smart Industries distributor until March 30, 2011, and receive a $250 factory rebate valid on any Smart Industries parts order or service. The rebate is valid on any parts order or service, not just the Ultimate Big Punch.

Rebate valid only on retail purchase of Smart Industries Ultimate Big Punch from January 19 thru March 30, 2011. Limit one rebate coupon per unit purchased. Registration is required. Rebate value is valid only for the original purchaser of the unit.

Amusement Expo 2011 Is a Big Success for Benchmark Games

Showcasing some 10 major game products, Benchmark Games enjoyed a successful trade show at Amusement Expo in Las Vegas, Nev.

“The new Trap Door and Monster Drop were huge successes at this show,” said Anthony F. Maniscalco Jr., who heads up the sales team for Benchmark Games. “The Monster Drop is like putting the Slam-a-Winner game on steroids. With Trap Door and Monster Drop, we have the new outstanding products for 2011.”

Benchmark utilized all features of the boardwalk themed set-ups for exhibit space and kept all nine Benchmark staffers busy during the three-day amusement industry show.

Some of the other Benchmark Games showcased were Wheel Deal X-Treme, Red Hot-Single along with other such favorites as Pop-It X-Treme 8.5’, Slam-a-Winner, Ticket Station and Tickets-to-Prizes.  The Pop-It 8.5 kept attendees running for cover every time the balloon burst.

Benchmark also unveiled its new leasing programs for the Trap Door and Stop-It games.

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