The Pinnacle Report Volume 1 #6

GO to ThePinnacleInsider.com to become a Pinnacle Insider now! The doors to this exclusive club for operators of Family and Bowling Entertainment Centers (FEC’s and BEC’s) are open and waiting for you. Many of you have told us that you’ve found this monthly report useful, beginning next month it will be available exclusively to our Insiders. We’ll be working hard to report actionable data from real time sales reports, game reviews backed by ROI focused analysis, promotions and marketing ideas and assets, and general information to share what’s working from throughout the Insider universe.

Those of you who join us from the beginning will receive Charter Member status with special benefits. The first is that we will lock in your introductory subscription price of $600 per year (monthly option available at $75 per month), through your second year of membership. Other Charter member benefits will be announced as we nail them down in the coming weeks and months.

We are opening with the services outlined now at ThePinnacleInsider.com. Our objective was to start with a series of high impact services that will deliver immediate value above the subscription price. As we move forward, we intend to plow the subscription proceeds back into the development of more value to you. Many of you are individual locations or small chains operating out there on your own. As a central repository of ideas, information, and programs, The Pinnacle Insider will be your go to resource to help you stay relevant and to keep your guests coming back!

Howard and I are excited about this new venture. Thanks in advance for your support as we bring this exciting new service to the Industry!

We’ve always been amazed at the money left on the table by FEC owners. Perhaps the most overlooked area is events and promotions. FEC and BEC owners who invested millions in building and equipping their buildings, and who think nothing of writing $10,000 checks for that new game (don’t misunderstand- that’s all important) ignore the relatively easy and relatively inexpensive ways to create a great guest experience through events and promotions.

This report is an example. We’ve been circulating the monthly Pinnacle Report for six months now. Each report has sections on data/game performance and on marketing. The click-throughs (readers clicking through to find more) for data/game performance exceed the click-throughs for more on marketing by 300%!

It’s usually a good idea to give your customers what they want and play to their desires- and we will, data insights and game management issues will always be a big part of The Pinnacle Insider. But we are huge believers in the power of promotions and events integrated into a great marketing plan. We’ll continue to lead (preach?) in this area and prove its value to you.

When you go to ThePinnacleInsider.com and subscribe (did we mention you can join now?) you will access that month’s downloadable marketing “assets:”

  1. Artwork for print signage including an 8.5 x 11 poster design (to be printed by location)
  2. Artwork for an email blast header. This digital asset can be adapted for your other systems.
  3. Social media graphic
  4. Social media marketing calendar of suggested posts and promotions
  5. Email marketing calendar
  6. Press release template

These assets will provide you with at least one promotion per month, as well as professionally designed assets to market the promotion to your customers. Paying a graphic design, PR, and marketing firm for these assets each month would be very expensive for individual locations, plus everyone is already busy. The Insider ensures you have the assets and idea for at least one promotion per month

Pinnacle Insider’s will also have the option to contract with Fetchrev, a robust external e-commerce marketing package, at special pricing exclusive to Insider members. Fetchrev’s platform allows for online sales of specials, offers, and pricing packages.

Our first three events are:

  • August/September: Back to School. Centers need all the help they can get as kids go back to school. You can’t fight it, so get on it! We suggest special offers for you to promote throughout this period, supported by the Insider’s marketing assets to get the word out.
  • October: Good Grades/Perfect Attendance. One of the best promotions we’ve ever been involved in, Good Grades or Perfect Attendance earn free games (and/or redemption ticket awards). We rolled out several times a year (after Back to School, Holiday Break, Winter Break, etc). Parents loved it, students loved it. It generated repeat visits to our centers and the community recognized and appreciated the support. We had more than a few profiles on the news over the years.
  • November/December: Holiday Gift Card Sales! Our personal favorite as it generated tons of excitement among our staff and created a significant sales channel that we would not have had otherwise. Packaging play on your Fun Cards and promoting as Stocking Stuffers- really promoting with signage, centering in your game room but spreading throughout the center. We created a sales contest around the Holiday Cards which drove some great competition and motivation among the staff. This promotion alone can generate enough sales and profit to cover your Insider subscription for years.

Just log in as an Insider for an Event Outline and to access your marketing assets.

“What gets measured gets managed,” as the wise saying goes. We’ve crunched the numbers in our database, analyzing some 51 centers utilizing their Embed data. We also have another 15 or so Intercard users where we can access data but we have to go and get it. We will be developing an automated database over the next six months to bring the data into our servers, allowing for a more comprehensive approach. Our intention is to create real time dashboards for key performance indicators (KPI’s) and to give Insiders direct access to the database through the website. Confidentiality of individual locations will always be protected.

Here are some KPI’s and our observations for this month. Note that there’s a wide range of facility types, size, volume, and seasonality involved. Consider these benchmarks to which you can compare your facility’s performance.

  • The highest sales per game per week are new ground up construction bowling entertainment centers averaging $322 per game per week with an average of 57 games.
  • The second highest sales per game per week is the FEC’s, Resorts and Restaurants category at $281 and averaging 20 games.
  • As a subgroup, Pizza Restaurants average $233 per game per week with an average of 17 games.
  • Restaurants seem to be key to maintaining summer arcade sales.  Facilities with restaurants had slightly higher average Summer game room sales than facilities with snack bar.
  • The most profitable arcade category, “New Construction,” requires the highest investment in the game room.
  • The second most profitable arcade category, “Restaurant,” requires the lowest investment in the game room.

Other Takeaways

We compared the period June 4-July 16 with the period Feb 26-April 9. The latter picks up some winter season, spring break, and Easter, the former picking up some end of school year, some summer. We were surprised that summer was 94% of winter/spring, overall. We expected a bigger spread between summer and winter given the large number of BEC’s in the mix.  Obviously that was overcome by the performance of resorts, restaurants and the larger BECs with more entertainment and more robust food and beverage.

There was a lot of variation among individual centers in each category. The range of each was: FEC’s, Resorts, Restaurants 67-205%, New Center BEC’s 80-138%, Modernization 1 50 to 165%, Modernization 2 23-90%.

Takeaway of the Month: Game Play Sales are the $ value of all plays on games. Card Sales are the actual cash sales collected. With one or two exceptions, every center in the database offers bonus plays for higher sale price points. We looked at the distribution of sales at each price point and calculated the dollar value of bonus play awarded from sales at the POS and kiosk. That number was 14%. Overall (measured by Game Play Sales vs Card Sales) bonus play was 31%.

Why is that important? It means that 17% of the dollar value of play is unaccounted for. When we find this in client health checks the answer we get is usually “that is party plays, we collect and account for the party cards separate from Embed and just put bonus play on the cards.”

That’s fine I guess but it creates a huge vulnerability. Any time a play can be awarded without being offset by a sale, there is the possibility of abuse: employees selling cards and pocketing the proceeds, free play to friends, etc. We strongly recommend that you review your Card Product Sales, Bonus Awarded, and Cashier Transactions reports for unusual activity and periodically reconcile your party and group sales against bonus play.