The demand for indoor play centers, whether in the form of full Family Entertainment Centers, or specialized Childrens Entertainment or Edu-tainment Centers continues to rise. With a tense global situation, and growing parental need to provide children with safe, quality play time and experiences, the interest in Indoor Playgrounds and indoor play-centers continues to expand. However, in many cases as much as we love soft indoor playgrounds - it can be an operators challenge to ensure a solid return on that activity investment.
Although redemption is sometimes described as “entertainment shopping,” the arts of merchandise selection and display for redemption centers represent very different disciplines than stocking the shelves of a retail store.
So said Karyn Gitler, director of merchandise for CEC Entertainment Concepts, owner of the Chuck E. Cheese’s chain. A past director of the International Association for the Leisure and Entertainment Industry, Gitler is responsible for the design and procurement of redemption prizes, other merchandise and birthday supplies for more than 400 locations.
The concept of what is safe on the playground has changed drastically from the 1940's and the decades that followed, when asphalt was recommended as the surface of choice under play equipment because it was easily maintained and considered to be safer than concrete. Today we understand the severity of injury that can be caused by impact with a hard surface, and we no longer use asphalt as playground surfacing. Nor do we use maypoles and whirls with openings in the platforms. Reputable indoor playground manufacturers are no longer providing slides that empty into the ubiqutous ball pools included in many indoor party centers and children's entertainment centers because of the potential for kids to end up on top of each other or worse. It is therefore, critical to examine playground equipment, design and construction.
If you are looking to start an arcade business, the new amusement entrepreneur must first understand the local market opportunity, the demography of that local market, and just as important, his or her own arcade business goals.
There are many options to consider when looking to start your arcade business, including the arcade games you will need for your target customers, and the type of game play your arcade business will offer. This includes different arcade machines, redemption games (ticket games) and the play value of each of these game types.
To Theme or Not to Theme?
If your children's entertainment center project or indoor party center business is hoping to attract copius amounts of profitable birthday parties, then chances are good you are thinking about including an indoor playground of some kind. When pursuing this goal of ours, we sometimes forget who our target market is and focus on what we (adults) think is cool. Many times as a fun-loving entrepreneur that works out pretty good, but sometimes, it's just selfish and not in the best interest of your overall business goals or your target market. Playground themeing seems to fall into that category often, as grown adults stretch themselves to create their "fantasy-land" instead of focusing on the target customer.