There's a reason why there is so much mediocrity in the community leisure venue (CLV) industry that includes family entertainment centers (FECs) and other attraction-based centers such as bowling and laser tag. When new center developers do their research, they look at existing centers and talk to their owners. Those owners rarely if ever tell the developers they need to build a better center than theirs. They tell them to build it exactly the same, or often with less bells and whistles. They don't tell them that to succeed, they need to make their center 10 times better. So new developers just benchmark against the existing centers. Mediocrity becomes the benchmark.
This is the reason dramatic improvement within any industry rarely comes from insiders. It comes from outsiders who have the vision, who aren't bogged down in the opinions of those who think mediocrity is the benchmark for being good, who don't subscribe to industry paradigms.
In this age of rapid digital disruption to every B2C industry, what was good just a few years ago no longer is. Today, and even more so in just a few more years, success in the CLV industry requires understanding that the state of the vast majority of the industry is mediocre. What people call good is often just the best of the worst. It's time to stop looking in the rear view mirror of what everyone else has done in the past.
Success now requires creating new CLV models that will be relevant to the fast changing leisure culture. We are already seeing a few examples of good, not mediocre, CLVs being created by developers from outside the industry, often from the restaurant industry, who see a better way to create a great CLV.
We'd like to thank Jim Kessler, Owner/CEO of Lasertron, for inspiring this article based on some of his recent correspondence with our CEO.