5 Tips For The Family Entertainment Center Weekend Rush

It’s Friday afternoon and eerily quiet in your family entertainment center. In a few hours, however, this place will be pure chaos. No matter how you schedule the parties or delegate tasks, the weekend rush at your family entertainment center always pushes your staff and operations to the brink. 

 

Thankfully with the right tools and planning, you can keep things running smoothly and make a great impression on new and returning visitors while maintaining a stress-free work environment. Read on to see how a few simple changes can turn your weekend rush into the perfect opportunity to attract and retain customers at your family entertainment center.

1. Preparation is Key

 

Let’s face it: You can’t plan for everything. The weekend crowd will always bring unexpected cancellations & bookings, last-minute requests, and unforeseen supply shortages to your Family Entertainment Center. However, the difference between a few blips in your performance and an all-out meltdown comes down to preparation.  

Always gather as much information before a booking as possible. Knowing the vital details of each individual reservation will give your team insight on how to schedule, staff, and supply each shift/day. So what information is important? We’ll break it down:

  • Name & age 

  • Date & time

  • Registered activities

  • Any accommodation needs or allergies

For parties or groups, you’ll need additional information:

  • An itinerary of activities, meal times, cake cutting, music preferences 

  • A designated contact person for payment, inquiries, and all correspondence

All information should be collected at the initial booking and organized for easy follow-up reference. All staff should be informed of any large reservations.

BMI’s Online Booking platform allows you to capture and organize all necessary information for each reservation. It automatically opens an easily accessible channel of communication between you and your guests, preventing miscommunications and wasted time on the phone or email. It’s an easy way to get prepared, stay informed, and handle any ‘surprises’ the weekend crowd may bring to your family entertainment center.

2. Streamline Check-in

 

Check-in can be a huge pain-point for family entertainment centers. Long wait times irritate guests and leave a bad impression. Also, as businesses and the public take precautions against Covid-19, preventing crowding is absolutely essential.

So what happens when that big party arrives during your peak hours needing to be checked in? Then suddenly, you get a bunch of walk-ins. Now what? Here are a few ways to keep check-in quick and painless for the weekend crowd.  

  • Have a booking schedule posted before each shift begins and inform employees of any large parties.

  • Always designate staff to register guests at your concierge desk. 

  • Prioritize party/group check-ins to ensure they are registered by booking time.

  • Make seating available in your entrance area.

Now, imagine if guests could check themselves in: You’d need less staff to run concierge, waiting times would be slashed, and your guests would be kept happy.

BMI’s Kiosks allow your family entertainment center to register guests quickly and easily. Not only does it cut down on staff dependence and labor costs, the check-in process automatically captures value visitor information that can be used for additional purposes such as: 

  • Booking schedule overview

  • Loyalty program for membership card 

  • Contact information for marketing purposes

Want to take your customer service to the next level? Let guests self-register with BMI’s Smart Kiosk. It includes all the features of our standard Kiosk while adding premium all-in-1 services such as:

  • Guest registration

  • Activity selection

  • Session booking

  • Payment for services and food & beverages

Minimize staffing needs, simplify operations and collect the data you need quickly and efficiently, so you can put your energy where it’s really needed. 

3. Take Control

Every family entertainment center owner knows that handling the weekend crowd means giving instructions at the laser tag arena, setting up for a 20-person party, and monitoring the go-kart track—simultaneously. 

Even the best staff coordination cannot prevent disruptions and mishaps from derailing your operations. However, with the right planning and protocols, you can prevent a snowball from becoming an avalanche. Here are a few tips on meeting the high demands of the weekend crowd.  

  • Designate ‘float’ staff

Your booking schedule provides a blueprint for how many employees you’ll need and where and when they need to be at particular posts. But what happens when a bowling ball loader malfunctions and you’ve already got a line of people waiting to rent shoes? 

In addition to covering staff needs at each activity, it’s a good idea to have some employees available to help whenever an issue arises. When everything is running smoothly, these staff can take care of routine maintenance such as stocking supplies. 

  • Have a clear-cut chain of command

Broken equipment is one thing, but what happens if a patron gets injured or when someone wants to speak to the manager? Because you can’t be everywhere at once, knowing that your senior staff can handle conflicts means problems can be addressed immediately.

All employees need to know who to contact when assistance is needed. Managers should have a clear understanding of which employees and sections they are responsible for and which situations require owner involvement.

  • Reliable Reporting

Having an adequate, capable staff is essential but it’s only a small piece of the puzzle. As your family entertainment center operates at peak capacity to handle the weekend crowd, you won’t have time to spare dealing with supply shortages, an overlooked booking, or endless customer inquiries. 

It may seem tedious, but meticulous recording will actually save you precious time when you need it the most—the weekend. Each section of your family entertainment center should have aptly-placed records where staff can quickly obtain necessary information. 

 

What if you had access to all your operational information, bookings, and staff records right in the palm of your hand? With BMI’s Back Office Mobile Assistant, you can be everywhere, remotely! See how smoothly your weekends will flow once your staff can:

  • Instantly update and share booking information

  • Digitally assign tasks and leave comments

  • Create, access, update, and share invoices, performance/inventory reports and more. 

Help your family entertainment center take back the weekend by always being there without having to be there. 

4. Keep Your Guests In-the-know

 

It’s Sunday afternoon and business is booming. You’ve got a few parties underway, plus all your activities are currently occupied—and lines are forming. It’s only a matter of time before patrons will start to grow restless, ask staff how long the wait will be and argue between themselves about what activity to do instead. 

Believe it or not, your guests don’t want to bother you with endless questions or grumbling. But time is ticking and they just have to try everything before they leave.

Screen notifications are a win-win for guests and staff alike. They can display any information relevant to the corresponding activity, such as wait-times, scores, or any facilities that are currently out-of-order. 

BMI TV is an easily integratable asset which uses the latest technology and sleek design to keep your guests informed at all times. Large display screens and a variety of media offer Family Entertainment Centers an attractive, non-disruptive way of keeping guests updated and provides the following benefits:

  • Guides patrons throughout your facilities

  • Allows guests to decide when to wait or when to choose an alternative activity

  • Minimizes inquiries to staff

  • Ensures individuals and groups are ready to go on time

  • Acts as a free advertising platform 

With BMI TV, you put the customer in control and lessen reliance on and disruption of your center’s workflows. 

5. Be Human

As mentioned before, you can’t prepare for everything. And the increased guest traffic of the weekend crowd often complicates operations. Even the best technology can’t prevent all equipment malfunctions, delays, and operating oversights. So as a family entertainment center owner, what can you do when faced with disgruntled customers?

Be human. Apologize. Explain what went wrong and offer a solution. In the heat of a disagreement, saying sorry may seem like you’re admitting that your business failed. In reality, it allows you to prove just how committed to customer satisfaction you really are.

And don’t stop at “sorry.” Offering coupons, discounts, or vouchers goes a long way in showing that you want to make things right. It also gives you a second chance to make the great impression it failed to make the first time. 

Ironically, technology can be a great way to show the ‘human side’ of your business. BMI Back Office allows you to create and deploy customized printed or mobile guest offerings such as coupons, vouchers, and discounts such as:

  • Free or discounted activities
  • Free or discounted snacks & beverages
  • Additional time on purchased gaming or sessions

Small customer gifts given on the weekends can also be a great incentive for increasing traffic during your slower weekday hours. With BMI Back Office, you can create time-sensitive coupons in a matter of minutes.

Automate Greatness

When customers can easily book online, check themselves in, and stay informed throughout their visit, they’ll leave happier and return sooner. If staff can simplify their workday and communicate efficiently, they’ll perform better and stay onboard longer. 

 

BMI is committed to helping professionals in the leisure industry streamline their operations, maximize their revenue, and grow their business. Contact us to find out how our software can automate greatness for your family entertainment center.