Insider Volume 1. #2

Last month we launched the Pinnacle Insider, our new series of services for a select group of family- and bowling-entertainment center operators. In addition to the newsletter, the Insider’s suite of services are being designed. They’ll be supported by reliable data and feature specific programs to help you reach your business goals. The full array of services will be announced this summer. In the meantime we want your feedback! Tell us what you like, what you don’t, and share any ideas about how the Insider can add value here.

Last month, our feature articles, Understand and Control the Hidden Payout Cost of Recent Leading Games and Skill Cranes and Fair Play, created some discussion as we heard from several of you that you were unaware of the major impact that “Ticket, Chip, Collectible Card” games like Andamiro’s Sponge Bob Pineapple or Elaut’s Wizard of Oz games can have on cost of sales. We suggest you check your redemption product cost of sales history, game settings, and ticket management procedures to ensure that you have it under control.

Howard’s article Skill Cranes and Fair Play got some great reaction and uniform agreement. In addition to the ethical reasons for setting cranes and merchandisers for “fair” play, there are practical considerations. Family Entertainment Centers are not the Jersey Shore. FEC’s see their customers many times over the course of a year. When understood in this context, winners make players.


At Pinnacle, one of our key areas of focus is on increasing our data analytics capability. We receive more than 80 emailed Embed report packages each week and are focusing on using this information to find data-driven opportunities and insights for our clients and subscribers.

In analyzing 2016 numbers in the aggregate, we see that 46% of card sales for our customers are purchased at $10 or $20 price points. Individual locations are nearly always even more concentrated in 1 or 2 price points. Here are our suggestions for focusing on these price points to increase sales:

Identify the most purchased price point and set a goal of up-selling from that price point. For example, $20 is often the most popular price point and offers $5 in bonus play. Targeting this price point to convert $20 customers to $25 customers could offer an additional $2.50 in bonus for “Powering Up” to $25.

The “Power-Up” feature in Embed kiosk will prompt clients who select a price point to pay up for more bonus. For example, the client selects a $20 card and then is prompted to add $5 (a 25% increase in sales for that price point) and receive $2.50 more in bonus play.

The most important aspect of any pricing strategy is training staff to promote the strategy. Teaching staff the price point to focus on and up-sell is key. Given the above example, staff need to be telling customers they can get $7.50 in bonus for a $25 card versus only $5 for a $20, the $25 card is a better value for the customer.

When pricing signage is created, the targeted price point(s) can be highlighted by using bold print, larger font, or putting a box around the pricing. The idea is to “shout out” the benefit of “Powering Up.”

Limited time is an issue for all of us, and using data to focus efforts is essential to maximizing efficiency. Of course, we want to maximize all possible sales points and efforts, but, by focusing on maximizing the most popular price point, you can increase sales very efficiently. It takes time to train and focus staff, create signage, and, to a lesser extent, set up the debit card kiosk, so focus is essential. This idea of focusing on strengths is a philosophy we believe in strongly. This is discussed further in the following article.

While working with these data sets we often notice red flags and can alert our customers to potential issues. If you would like to participate, we welcome any Insider clients with Embed to contribute numbers to the database, it is an automated process once you authorize, and we keep individual location info strictly confidential. Contact us now to participate!


Focusing on improving strong performing areas of a business is usually more profitable than focusing on underperforming areas. There is a tendency in business to focus on underperforming areas with the assumption that there is the most room for improvement. I know, I thought this way as a young operator. Our main client was Walmart, and we had games in about 50 locations. I wanted to examine the lower performing stores and try to get them up to par with the rest. Fortunately, I had an experienced partner in my father who had learned this lesson years ago, and so he showed me how we could focus on the stronger locations and get more for our effort. Here are the basic tenets of the philosophy:

Lower performing aspects of a business are often macro in nature. For example, a low performing location is often due to the physical location in a well-managed company. Improving operations can’t fix the physical location.

Growing a $500,000 location 10% brings $50,000 in revenue growth. In a $250,000 location you would need to double that percentage increase to 20% to earn the same $50k.

Capital, games, and other hard costs are finite. “Bang for the buck” is essential to drive profitability.

Time is another essential (though often ignored) resource– choosing where to focus time and energy is key. If time is limited, as it is with most leaders, then it is vital to focus on the areas with the biggest potential, not the least.