The evolution of the FEC industry - over expansion and opportunity

We've been writing a lot of articles about changes to the location-based entertainment industry, and especially to community leisure venues (CLVs), which includes family entertainment centers (FECs). Changing socio/demographics, cultural values and lifestyles along with at-home digital competition are all having an impact. As Yogi Berra famously said, “The future ain't what it used to be.”

As we're reporting in this and previous editions of our eNewsletter, there is over expansion occurring in many markets, leisure and entertainment options are growing and many of the business models from earlier days are no longer viable long term. However, that doesn't mean there isn't opportunity for success in many markets.

There are many mid-size markets where there is still a deficit of quality out-of-home entertainment options. Some are small enough that a large chain like Top Golf, Main Event Punch Bowl Social or Dave & Buster's aren't likely to develop a center there, but large enough to support a medium-size, well-executed CLV.

The other big opportunity in many markets is to develop a CLV that isn't some clone of the other models, but rather incorporates in its design and operation what it takes to stand out from the competition, most of which are older legacy business models, and addresses contemporary consumers' preferences. This now includes understanding that top quality food and beverage, great ambiance and a great social experience are key to success.

No, CLVs are not dead, they are just evolving with many of the older models slowly and painfully going extinct and new school business models taking over market share.