Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

NOV 2017

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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90 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • NOVEMBER 2017 C ombining bowling alleys, video game centers, laser tag and other activities with restaurants, buffets and/or concessions operations, family entertain- ment centers (FECs) have been fixtures in estab- lished communities for decades. In particular, bowling alleys integrated with arcades, and restaurants and music have made a comeback in recent years by expanding entertainment choices, according to Alexandria, Va.-based International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA). Meanwhile, laser tag centers have dwin- dled because of unreliability and high maintenance costs. North American families go to FECs three to five times per year at an average cost of $12 to $22 per visit. Other FECs include playgrounds, go-kart rides and batting cages. Focus on Foodservice Pinnacle Entertainment Group, located in Palms River, N.J., has been building FECs for four decades. "What has become obvious in the last five years is that these operations need great foodservice," says George McAuliffe, Pinnacle Entertainment's principle owner and president. "In the past, many of these centers included snack bars offering premade, formerly frozen burgers, but we're learning the most successful FECs are seeing benefits from upgrading their restaurant presentations and offerings." FECs usually appeal to the 8- to 14-year old age group and their parents, while certain businesses, such as bowling, command broader demographics, according to IAAPA. "It's only in the last five years that we have become popu- lar mainstream entertainment due to the arcade shifting from video-dominant for teenage males to a wider demographic for games like Skee-Ball, basketball and other skill games," says McAuliffe. "That's where we've grown and how our audience has expanded." FECs compete with malls and restaurants, even though many FECs position themselves as restaurants that offer a FOOD OFFERINGS DRIVE PROFITS Upscale and innovative food and beverage programs help set family entertainment venues apart. By Lisa White

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