Like many of you, it’s been almost 4 weeks since I have been quarantined at home and almost the same amount of time we closed our bowling center in Ohio.
The last few weeks have been taken up with filling out forms for SBA, PPP and disaster relief loans. It’s been a mountain of paper and I knew you would be too busy to focus on anything else except keeping you and your family safe.
But now I need to come out of my darkness and pass along some ideas for start up.
I don’t know when that will be, but anyone that tells you it will be soon, is whistling in the dark.
But you do have to prepare for it.
So first let me throw out a bunch of assumptions that you can agree with or not agree with and based upon your agreement with these assumptions, you will then be in a better position to formulate your key strategies.
- When we get the “all clear” signal to congregate (and bowl), people will come back similar to before because of the “pent up demand.”
- Even when the all-clear signal is sounded, people will be hesitant to come back and will slowly dribble in, making sure that all-clear really means ALL-CLEAR and thus our traffic will be down.
- Even if an all clear signal is sounded, how can we be sure that the government won’t limit the number of people who can come into our building to bowl; or limit our hours; or the number of employees?
- Will winter leagues want to finish their season (if there is time) and should we let them or try for short season (6 or 8-week summer leagues; given certain time restrictions of course.)
- Many winter bowlers may not come back anyway being concerned about congregating in large crowds.
- Winter league bowlers, for the most part, will return to bowling because they miss it too much.
- Winter league bowlers will come back ONLY if we give them a price break or add more value.
- A price break won’t matter; they’ll either come back or not depending on their “fear” level.
- We’re going to have to develop and implement a “frequency” program to get customers to return to our centers more often.
- Birthday parties will be off to start with because parents won’t want their children congregating. Similarly, corporations may hold off on employee parties because of the same fear.
I’m sure there are more assumptions that you can think of, but these are just some idea starters.
Now based on your assumptions, you can develop strategies to try and maximize traffic and revenue.
Think of it as almost a new “start up situation.”
More importantly, we’re all in this together.