Business Strategies: Adding Profits with New Attractions and Rides

It’s no secret that adding even one new attraction or ride to a leisure entertainment facility necessitates what could be a sizeable financial outlay. However, such a move offers significant payback in the form of return on investment and increased profits.
For some owners and operators, the enhanced profit potential comes from the ability of new options to help generate business in the off-season and/or to turn a seasonal venue into one that can remain open year-round, pointed out Gary Balaban, president and co-founder of Coast to Coast Entertainment.
This is the case at Country Fair Entertainment Park in Medford, N.Y., which, according to Manager Mike DeMarco, has added a “large” arcade as a means of drawing larger crowds during the colder months, when such popular attractions as its outside laser tag facility do not operate. Country Fair Entertainment Park also touts new party and banquet rooms and a sit-down restaurant; the former, DeMarco stated, should aid in making it a viable fall and wintertime party destination.
Introducing one or more new rides and attractions also ups the profitability ante by serving as an effective means of attracting guests who might not otherwise frequent a given leisure entertainment facility. Big Don’s Wild River Mini Golf in Cicero, N.Y. has seen a boost in group business following the introduction of its 5,000-square-foot “Fort Wild River” maze a few years ago. The challenge presented in the maze change monthly, and a “Squirt Tube Frenzy” squirt-gun component lends extra interest. “The maze helps us book groups because we can package our golf, maze and climbing wall together, which gives us more summer revenue,” noted Don Cullen, owner. The maze, which commands a separate admission price, is currently second only to miniature golf on Big Don’s roster of attractions, Cullen said.
Orr Family Farm in Oklahoma City, Okla., is also generating more group business now that a 4,500-square-foot maze from Amaze’n Mazes has joined a barn, carousel, train and orchard on its list of attractions. Crafted of 4-foot-by-5-foot plastic panels, the maze is a favorite of groups because they can go through together and compare times, noted Debbie Orr, co-owner. “Plus, the maze can be tailored for difference experiences.  Church groups place Bible questions at each decision point, for example.  Squirt gun fights and nighttime flashlight runs add to the fun during the summer.”
Meanwhile, in Blountsville, Ala., Spring Valley Beach waterpark is having an easier time of appealing to families with very young children, thanks to the addition of a Kiddie Paradise section to an entire side of its two-acre pool, reported Allen Gillibrand, owner. Constructed in response to requests from guests, Kiddie Paradise boasts a scaled-down soaker feature, a raindrop cascade and a spouting whale as well as slides and other child-size accoutrements.
For their part, members of an investor group led by former Six Flags executives Kieran Burke and Gary Story are hoping that the addition of a 23,000-square-foot Big Wave wave pool to their newly acquired Clementon Park and Splash World in Clementon, N.J. will capture the attention of local families seeking a place to swim regularly during the summer. Part of a major expansion for 2012 that also encompasses two new foodservice facilities, a tiki bar, changing rooms, 10 20-foot shade structures, and new restrooms, the wave pool is being promoted in advertising to South Jersey/Philadelphia residents as “their very own swim club right in their backyard,” to be enjoyed “all summer long” with a season pass.
New rides and attractions also pull in profits by setting leisure entertainment facilities apart from the competition, especially if they are not traditionally found in a particular type of venue or are the first of their kind in the area. Greg Gallavan, founder and president of Amaze’n Mazes, said his company’s mazes have recently been installed at a museum, an “agri-tainment” venue,  and a state fair, proving that the appeal of mazes has grown beyond miniature golf courses and family fun centers. “Mazes are perfect for places where you have families and kids looking for something fun to do that doesn’t cost a lot,” he stated.

The Los Angeles Zoo in Los Angeles, Calif. this past October introduced the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel. Connie Morgan, president of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, (the non-profit that raises money for zoo programs,) anticipates that the carousel will continue to be “a source of much-needed income” not only because it offers a new, separately priced entertainment outlet to visitors, but because its environmental message and theming are different from the nearby 68-horse Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round. Unlike any other carousel in the area, the Tom Mankiewicz Conservation Carousel focuses on endangered animals. Accordingly, although it includes a smattering of horses and other creatures seen on carousels, children can opt instead to enjoy the ride astride a Sumatran tiger, a mountain tapir, a silverback gorilla, and a honeybee. Hand-painted decorations depict California flora and fauna.
Similarly, Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio, Texas, is distinguishing itself by becoming the first facility of its kind in the area to introduce the SkyScreamer thrill ride, which towers 200 feet above the ground and surpasses the park’s quarry walls. Thirty-two guests will board the ride and sit two across in open air swings as they climb to the top of the SkyScreamer tower while spinning round and round. At full swing, they will soar in a 98-foot circle at speeds of 40 mph.

Industry News

QubicaAMF and Synergy Restaurant Consultants Form Alliance to Extend Bar and Restaurant Services to the Bowling and Entertainment Industry

Bowling and entertainment facilities will have access to an exclusive set of start-up bar and restaurant service packages designed to gain efficiencies, improve the guest experience
and increase revenues. QubicaAMF Worldwide, the market leader in the bowling and entertainment industry, and Synergy Restaurant Consultants, a nationally recognized restaurant consulting company, are proud to announce a newly formed alliance. The alliance between the two companies will enable new bowling and entertainment investors to benefit from food and beverage start-up services to create facilities where restaurants and bars are well integrated with the entertainment offering, enhancing the guest experience and gross revenues.
As part of the agreement, Synergy Restaurant Consultants will offer, exclusively to QubicaAMF clients, a package of start-up services intended for two specific types of bar and restaurant operations: fast casual and casual dining, which are the most relevant for entertainment centers today.
“In recent years we’ve seen a trend of the convergence between dining and entertainment, which is reflected by the increased number of Boutique Bowling and Hybrid Entertainment Centers that have been leading the new center development in the United States,” said Riccardo Cuppi, New Center Product and Segment Manager for QubicaAMF Worldwide.

Wendy Smith, New Business Development Manager at QubicaAMF Worldwide added, “While it’s true that most new centers are incorporating a significant portion of their investment in food and beverage offerings, many times these operations don’t perform as well as planned. These tailored packages, along with Synergy’s expertise in this area, will provide investors a turnkey solution when it comes to effectively including bar or restaurant offerings into the mix.”

“Restaurants are our core business, we have helped so many independent operators and restaurant chains over the last 25 years to reach a position of competitive advantage that we are now really excited to support bowling and entertainment investors with their food and beverage strategies,” said Danny Bendas, Managing Partner at Synergy Restaurant Consultants. “We understand the importance of combining food with bowling and entertainment to provide guests with a unique experience, and are excited about this alliance and long term partnership with QubicaAMF.”

The two companies, serving two different complementary industries, have one common purpose, to make investors and operators successful in their business by offering products and services that drive results in terms of efficiency, innovation, guest experience, repeat visits and ultimately revenues and return on investment.

“We understand the importance of food and beverage in new bowling and entertainment centers, which can account for more than 50 percent of total facility revenue. Partnering with market experts for services that are outside of our core business, such as food and beverage, is a win-win. The knowledge and experience this alliance will bring to our clients will be unparalleled,” stated Jay Buhl, Senior Vice President of Sales for The Americas for QubicaAMF Worldwide.

Amusement Service Provider Goes Nationwide

The East Coast’s largest independent operator and supplier of coin-operated amusements is expanding its service network to a nationwide platform.
Through its newly formed National Amusement Service Network (NASN), Tricorp Amusements, Inc. will be establishing new operating offices in Orlando, Fla.; Dallas, Texas; Chicago, Ill.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Los Angeles and San Francisco, Calif.
Tricorp Amusements, Inc. currently owns and operates over 6,000 pieces of amusement equipment.  Its service operations touch 21 states and are directed and maintained through a network of five East Coast operating offices:  Somerset, N.J. (Corporate Headquarters); Boston, Mass.; Atlanta, Ga.; Richmond, Va.; and Coconut Creek, Fla.
Company President and CEO, Chuck Peitz stated, “The time is right and opportunity is in abundance.  We will be looking to capitalize on the long-standing relationships with our East Coast partners/locations who have a national presence.  Additionally, we are looking to expand relationships with those venues, FECs, bowling centers, movie theatres, pizza chains and all other locations in search of our “Best of Breed” mentality for products and services that they deserve and will help maximize their revenues. Our 30 years of amusement experience, strong financial resources and long-standing relationships with our industry’s finest manufacturers and distributors will make this possible.”

iPlay America Appoints Robert Kramer as Director of Public Relations and Promotions

iPlay America and Encore Event Center, a one-of-a-kind, indoor family amusement park located in Freehold, N.J., has announced the appointment of Robert Kramer as Director of Public Relations and Promotions. In his new position, Kramer will be responsible for handling all in-house and external promotions as well as grassroots marketing strategies.

“Robert has been committed to providing companies with the highest quality of marketing and promotional strategies to ensure success in the amusement and entertainment industry for years,” said Gary Foley, Chief Operating Officer of iPlay America and Encore Event Center. “His exemplary qualifications along with his vision and passion will make him a great addition to iPlay America and Encore Event Center.”

Kramer brings more than 14 years of promotional and marketing experience in the amusement and entertainment industry with him to iPlay America. Prior to joining iPlay, Kramer served as Marketing Director of the Tonny Peterson Hell Drivers, a nationally touring automotive thrill and stunt show production performing at county and state fairs, race tracks, speedways and NASCAR tracks across the country. As Marketing Director, Kramer created, developed and administered all corporate sponsorships and partnerships, local sponsorships, advertising programs, public relations, media and marketing for the show.

His previous work experience includes a position in management at Sahara Sam’s Oasis Indoor Water Park and more than 10 years as owner and operator of Skate West Inc., a roller skating and family entertainment center and a partner of Southland Roller Rink INC.

Kramer graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Public Administration.

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