The hybrids are coming

Movies and bowling and food, oh my! Entertainment venues are rapidly going hybrid to offer customers 2 for 1: plush cinemas that offer gourmet entrees and cocktails, upscale bowling lounges with menus to match and pizza buffets combined with family entertainment centers.

Yes, the hybrids are coming, but we’re not talking about “green” automobiles. We’re talking about new combinations of entertainment and food and beverage concepts.

Not that many years ago, we had separate businesses for hardware items, garden supplies, lumber, lighting fixtures and appliances. Then along came Home Depot and Lowe’s super category hybrid concepts that rolled all these stores into one convenient location. Now there are countless Home Depot and Lowe’s stores, and a whole lot fewer specialized stores, because the hybrids captured a major share of the market for all those products.

The same thing is happening in the location-based leisure industry. What once were free-standing concepts are combining into new hybrid super category centers. Take pizza restaurants and indoor FECs. Their new super category is the family pizza buffet/entertainment centers that offer one-stop convenience. Bowling is being combined into a new bowling-FEC-restaurant super category. The big bowling chains that used to develop bowling alleys are now rolling out these new concepts. Brunswick is evolving its Brunswick XL center brand, and QubicaAMF is launching its Avenue E concept.

One thing these hybrids have in common is food and beverage. They are not only an entertainment destination, but also a dining destination. The concept is called eatertainment.