With the world still trying to bounce back from what seems to be a relentless tug-of-war game between at-home mandates and going to the nearest grocery store just to see people, gaming and social interaction are back in trend.
So this might be the perfect opportunity for arcade bars — which have been seriously affected by the pandemic — to get their shine once again. After all, people still love their fun, with or without a pandemic.
The arcade scene has been met with steep modern-day competition due to advancements in technology, fast and stable internet as the norm, and the rise of the casual and hyper-casual gamer. However, people are seeking change.
With the death of Irish and British pubs among other acade-related scenes, gamers might actually be interested in getting back to the old-school gaming trends. This means that an arcade bar could be one of the more successful business endeavors.
Let’s assume that you don’t have a bar or premises selected; then, you need to design your arcade bar as the first thing in your business plan — the core of your target market.
You’ll need to check up on physical assets, including gambling license, brewery, suppliers, alcohol license, staff, and to name a few. Once you list this, you’ll have a clear idea about the cost and set up the bar.
As for the bar setup, one of the essential success drivers is location (we’ve all heard the saying, “location! location! location!). The busier the road, the more costly the location. However, setting up your arcade bar in an area of high-demand with your target audience around might be worth the price. That’s how you’ll double your income… by enticing your customer base at your bar.
On the other hand, you can choose to open an arcade bar in a place where there’s scarcity, so your project adds a little spice when it shows up. The psychology behind opening in a scarce place with little to no competition is that people living around will like.y find it exciting, with their curiosity pushing them to explore what the newly opened place has to offer them.
They say that if you build it, they will come. What nobody tells you is that no one will take an interest if your product isn’t aligned correctly within the target market or if you’ve built the set up in an area with low demand in booze and high rates. If there’s less demand, success will be hard to achieve.
Therefore, it is indispensable to understand who your target research market is and who your competitors are.
Bars were previously a source of alcohol. This isn’t the case anymore. The bar scene has expanded into a social drinking spot where alcohol is a complimentary ingredient alongside socializing. This is due, in part, to younger generations (mid- to late-30s down to early 20s) turning towards the classics (i.e. arcade bars) for a striking blend of classics and modern.
So we have an idea of who’s interested. Now we have to consider:
- Drinks being offered
- Price points
- Bar aesthetic (we’ll get to this later)
One prime way to lure your target customer to your bar is to excite them drink-wise. Most of these factors will require research in order to align to the core socio-economic factors.
Not everyone is a fan of cocktails and not everyone is a fan of beer. Ideally, you’ll want to offer a variety of drinks, but to understand what exactly needs to be offered, you’ll need to conduct market research to understand if there’s a demand for your services and products within the chosen region.
Now it’s time to get your hands dirty, so to speak. It’s wise to go out and explore “as a customer” what your competitors are offering to get an idea of the “who” and the “how ” of their customer base.
If you’re opening in an area where there is already an arcade bar established, running yours successfully would have a lot to do with observing the customers who are already active in the area — with your competitors.
While most of the research could be desk-based, at some point, you’ll need to go out in the market. For a new startup, follow the crowd, brainstorm your ideas, add creativity to them, and get started in a place where there’s a demand.
Monitoring as a potential buyer will help you know what people don’t like about the services of the existing arcade bar — what annoys them, what pleases them, and what steps shall be taken to provide an enhanced customer service experience.
An interesting factor is deciding which game you want your arcade bar to focus on. Do you consider a niche-focused arcade bar a good and entertaining option? Or would you like your arcade bar to focus on a wide range of games to reflect interest for all age groups? Even better… does your target customer like what you’re presenting?
Imagine wanting toe open a futuristic themed arcade bar when your audience has expressed strict interest in vintage themes?
Often times, your customer will tell you what they want, making the job significantly easier for you. All you have to do is listen! Planning then executing will happen organically if you have a good team behind you.
Needless to say, having a consistent theme throughout the arcade bar will ensure a strong brand identity so your customers can recognize you as a consistent business — which, from a psychological perspective, will turn them into returning customers. (This is because people who are satisfied with a place, its quality, and its services, are likely to bring their friends back and recommend it to others.)
There’s no accurate answer while deciding on gaming focus for your arcade bar to portray. It’s always down to personal preferences, market research, and the passion of the arcade bar owner.
Setting up an arcade bar can be quite costly. Special gaming equipment for your arcade bars, such as pinball machines or shuffleboard tables, are high upfront costs but necessary for arcade bar success.
However, as a new business, it’s always a better idea to lower your initial costs as much as you can to invest in the future. And keep in mind that businesses rarely start generating thousand dollars within the initial days of sale.
Arcade bars might become a new standard, as younger generations like to have fresh cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks with their friends while being able to interact socially.
Business plans aren’t only limited to a successful business and how it benefits its people. If you take care of people around your business area, they will take care of your business.