Arguably the most important aspect of your bowling business endeavor is the pre-planning. You may have an extremely exciting vision for your bowling alley, but bringing that vision to life requires the right plan and strategy. From finding a bowling equipment manufacturer, to selecting the right venue for your vision, take the time to map things out before making any major investments.
Whether you have bowling business experience or not, building a bowling alley or entertainment center from the ground up is a complex and extremely detail-driven task. For most new builds or renovations, having a bowling partner that can refer to thousands of installations and experiences will help you work through any potential issues with ease.
In addition to having an experienced bowling equipment and installation partner, here’s a quick breakdown of the various aspects of your location that you must consider when planning your bowling business project.
They physical location of your business could have a huge impact on your success. High traffic and easy to access venues are ideal. In some areas, there may be no ideal existing venue that can be repurposed for your business. Some businesses can find success as a “destination” attraction where a lack of alternatives for your customers will result in them being more willing to travel longer distances to your establishment. This is more the exception than the rule, so start by trying to find the optimal location first.
Do you see this business expanding in a way that might require additional space? Have you found a venue that could work, but doesn’t offer enough space for everything you want? There are a variety of zoning laws you’ll need to navigate as you work through this process. Do your research up front to understand how much each venue can grow/expand.
Size of Business
With a strong understanding of the location and potential customer appetite there is for your bowling business, you’ll be able to make projections as to how many lanes you’ll need to be profitable. Do this research first and that way you don’t waste time looking at venues that simply won’t accommodate the number of lanes you need.
Just like with bowling equipment and pinsetters, ease of maintenance of your building will have huge impact on your bottom line. While you might have found the perfect venue from a location and size perspective, the structure itself and facilities need to be easy to maintain. Otherwise you could be in for a lot of unwanted and unexpected building maintenance costs.
When considering a building to repurpose for your business, what you’re really doing is comparing the costs of updating the existing building vs. the cost of a new construction. While new construction might be more up front, you’ll have a more updated and modern interior which could save in costs in the long term. Either way, have a good sense of what you want to have from an electrical, plumbing and facilities perspective and keep track of what will and will not need updating in order to get up to code for your business.
Having an inviting and easily accessible business is critical. Make sure you understand local guidelines as it relates to your parking lot and the size of your building. In addition to adequate parking, exterior lighting is another way to make your center more inviting. Finally, your signage is a great way to get the word out about what your business is, especially in high-traffic areas. Keep all this in mind as you plan your business.
We’ve documented lane sizes here, so we won’t get into those now. But there are customizations that can be made as it relates to the seating area or the approach. Mapping this out will help you as you explore venues to understand which offer the size you need and which don’t.
Each of the considerations above are critical as you plan your new bowling business. In some instances, you might not be sure what you want or perhaps you don’t have strong feelings either way. This is where a bowling partner can help you make decisions and help you understand what is and is not possible. The key takeaway is to do your research, have a general idea of what you want from your bowling business and work with a long-established and experienced bowling business partner that can help bring your vision to life.