A recent industry report indicated that bowling centers that convert to FECs or BECs can make about 50% more revenue than without this conversion.
This is primarily due to the increase in arcade revenue, laser tag type of offers as well as food and beverage revenue.
I have also heard numbers that these new centers are creating revenues of $5mm to $15mm per year. I know some of these proprietors and they have shared these numbers with me so I believe that the aforementioned is true.
I also believe that first year numbers are not as strong an indicator of longer term success since almost everyone in a market wants to “try the new flavor.” Who doesn’t?
The real key is retaining these customers to be frequent customers; not just one and done – even though recent studies by Qubica as reported at the recent Bowl Expo this past June indicate that the average open play bowler goes bowling about twice a year. The challenge is to get them back more frequently, isn’t it?
So let’s look at the strategy of retention and frequency.
If the average customer attends your venue twice a year and spends $15 per visit, that would equate to $30 per year per customer. At $1.5 million in revenue for this sample center, that equals to 50,000 visits x $30 per customer.
If you could increase those 50,000 visits to 60,000 visits at $15 per visit, you would create an additional $150,000 in increased income.
While you may feel the pressure to market to everyone to achieve this goal, you may make compromises to get to everyone.
In my opinion, there are only two ways to approach customer retention:
Continue to offer something fairly generic that you think most people want and do it faster and cheaper than your competitors.
Or understand the unmet needs of a particular group of people that are your “best prospects and “fans” and intentionally create products, services and marketing messages for those people.