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Five reasons why F&B establishments need social competition

March 5, 2024

Customer experience has always been a vital pillar of food and beverage hospitality. In addition to a core product that delivers on quality and value, a consumer’s lasting impression of an establishment can also be determined by several other factors that contribute to the overall experience – speed and friendliness of service, appearance, and cleanliness of the venue, the acoustics of the room, and more.

Recent years have also shown a demand for offerings that span beyond providing first-rate dining and drinking in a pleasant environment. More and more, people are looking to go out for an experience that they cannot replicate at home, a trend underlined by the rise in ‘eatertainment’ and, in particular, competitive socializing.

In short, competitive socializing includes any contest, competition, or game that forms an integral part of a wider social setting – in this case, going out for food and/or drinks. According to research conducted by Cushman & Wakefield, competitive socializing concepts have grown a whopping 386% since the beginning of 2021.

This has given rise to gaming arcades and dedicated ‘battle bars’. However, there is an opportunity for all F&B operators to exploit this growing trend, not least because it allows them to acquire more customers, build a base of repeat guests, increase spend per head, and improve profitability. Given the difficult financial reality facing the hospitality sector at present, it is well worth exploring the positive impact social competition could have.

Indeed, many will have already taken steps such as offering cornhole, giant Jenga, and board games for customers to play. However, these may have limited draw given the experience can easily be replicated at home.

To truly cash in on the demand for competitive socializing, F&B establishments can go a step further and offer a more compelling reason for people to leave their homes.

In the case of Duckpin Social, this offers a reimagined format of a classic game which already has universal appeal – tenpin bowling. Duckpin Social delivers all the advantages of bowling in an even more accessible and engaging way. And, crucially, it requires far less space, making it ideal for venues such as bars, social clubs, restaurants, breweries, resorts, and hotels. Duckpin Social requires one-third the space of standard tenpin bowling, translating into triple the revenue per square foot. What’s more, because there is no inventory or cost-of-goods associated with bowling, almost all the income falls to the bottom line. In fact, most proprietors enjoy a five-year ROI of well over 300% and start making a profit from their investment within nine to 12 months.

Interested? Let’s go into some more detail about why adding this kind of social competition might be right for your establishment. Here are five key reasons…

Attract new customers

Offering games and other forms of competitive socializing provides a reason for people who may not otherwise step foot through your doors to attend your venue.

As with tenpin bowling, Duckpin Social appeals to all ages because it is a game that everybody knows how to play.

Because of its approachable setup, it can be a perfect feature for all kinds of customers—from those on date nights to colleagues on corporate socials and groups of friends and family. The interactive experience can be tailored to each customer or party, who can select different games or themes using Brunswick's intuitive touchscreen scoring system.

Extend customers’ length of visit

In the food and beverage sphere, time certainly equals money. If you can keep customers on your premises for longer, they will be more likely to spend more.

The average Duckpin Social venue has a limited number of lanes, and our statistics tell us that demand outweighs supply. This means operators can build revenue-enhancing wait lists, where customers spend money in other parts of your facility while they wait for a lane to be freed up, thus increasing time on site and total spend.

Increase spend per visit

In addition to increasing dwell time, there are other ways competitive socializing such as Duckpin Social help to drive up spend per customer.

Social competition features represent a brand-new revenue stream, one that is not restricted by what customers are able to eat and drink. That said, Duckpin Social is also a proven generator of increased food and beverage sales. Our figures show that a typical group of four to six players are engaged for at least an hour, meaning the probability of consuming food and drink is high. In fact, for every dollar spent on Duckpin Social bowling, the average customer spends between $1 and $9 on F&B.

Duckpin Social makes these purchasing experiences seamless. With patented Brunswick tech, customers can purchase from the menu using the lane-side scoring tablets or their own smartphone.

Build customer loyalty

With competitive socializing on the up, today’s customers and prospects have a world of entertainment choices in front of them. By offering something compelling and unique, F&B establishments will be able to build a base of guests who keep coming back.

Duckpin Social is accessible to anyone and encourages friendly competition between friends, family and groups of colleagues. And because it is highly tech driven and interactive, it is easy for customers to enter contact data that can automatically fill up your marketing database, enabling you to keep your venue top of their social agenda.

Attract and retain talent

In addition to loyal customers, the F&B hospitality sector also craves a loyal cohort of staff. Indeed, one of the most pressing challenges facing operators is finding and keeping hold of talent, with establishment owners and managers having to navigate a fiercely competitive labor market.

Duckpin Social helps to make your venue a unique environment in which to work. It adds an element of spice that can enhance company culture while a steady flow of guest traffic drives earnings, which in turn provides additional job security for employees.

Brunswick as a trusted partner

These are just five compelling reasons to consider investing in a game-changing competitive socializing offering.

When doing so, it is important to work with a partner you can trust. Brunswick, an organization with over 150 years experience in the entertainment industry that has become synonymous with all things bowling, knows what it takes to provide an experience that will draw new customers in and ensure they keep coming back.

Let's Get Started

Duckpin Social offers proven profitability as it entices customers to spend more time and money onsite. Let us help you along your journey. We want you to be our next success story, so let's talk! Click "I'm Interested" to get started.

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Experience the thrill and excitement of Duckpin Social bowling

Duckpin Social in action: Woodrows Duckpin Bowling

Nestled inside the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Woodrows offers Duckpin Social with a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The site has seven lanes spread over two floors, its typical customer base comprising a combination of young and old, families and corporation parties, hotel guests and local residents.

Jeff Royce, co-owner of the business, gives his reflection on the two-plus years of being in operation.

“Duckpin has brought significant value to our business,” he says. “Woodrows Duckpin Bowling provides a very unique social experience that is unmatched in Grand Rapids. The bowling aspect allows our customers to socialize and play a competitive sport while enjoying a few beverages of their choice.

“Our customers constantly comment on how much fun they have and how competitive playing duckpin bowling is. They really like the layout of lanes within our space and how easy it is to move around. And our staff make the customer experience their highest priority and it shows by how many repeat customers we have.

“Brunswick has been a fantastic partner to work with. They are very attentive to any service needs that arise, as well as discussions of best practices and ideas for future locations.”

Become the next Duckpin Social success story!

With Brunswick's unmatched industry experience as your partner, you'll create the go-to entertainment spot in your community. Click 'Let's Talk' to get started.