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Tips & Best Practices for Family Entertainment Centers

Sell More Than Ever In 2010

I recently exchanged a “linked–In” message (yes, I am on linked–in, facebook, and twitter) with an old friend and we laughed about the decade mark of the new–year. Wasn’t it just yesterday that we were worried about Y2K! I love this time of year. There’s a spirit of giving and a reflective sense of turning the page to a new chapter as we enter the new year. The new year brings new dreams and new goals. It’s a fresh start and I love that!

I hope you’ll accept my personal invitation to attend our webinar tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. CST, Wednesday, December 23rd, as we focus on how to set effective, measurable, goals so that we can WIN in 2010.(Click here to sign up now).

I’ll keep this part of your weekly newsletter short, but invite you to celebrate our year in review. We’ve had amazing opportunities this year and have worked with some wonderful clients. I’ll spend the rest of the newsletter to celebrate those successful projects. But before I close here, I know some of you don’t click through to get the whole story, and I did not want to let you go before I wish you the happiest of holidays. My hope is that you are surrounded by family, friends, and of course lots of guests in your facility!

Happy Holidays from the TrainerTainment team . .

Celebration of the Greatest Clients on Earth!

We started the year running as fast as we could. It was our privilege to work with two new Grand Opening projects that had a great impact on our first quarter. Xscape, in Indianapolis, IN, opened mid December 2008, and so much of our focus for their project ran into 2009. Xscape is an incredible pizza buffet located in a mall. With several party rooms and activities that range from indoor go–karts, mini–lane bowling, wonderfully themed mini–golf, and more, this location is the right place for any gathering from 2 to 102!

Laugh Out Loud, one of my favorite named facilities, is also a pizza buffet location in Lawton, Oklahoma. What a great group of owners these guys were to work with. We have an ongoing relationship with this location that has a pizza buffet, lots of games, mini–bowling, laser tag, and the best family entertainment in Lawton, Oklahoma.

Our most significant relationship is one that we hold very close, and have had the honor of working with their team since 2006. Food Service Management is the BEST management group that we know, and happens to allow us to pseudo sales manage their large chain of Gattis Pizza projects located in Texas, Kentucky, and Mississippi. We helped open two locations this year for this group, and continually push their growth of birthday and group sales for the entire team.

We were lucky enough to be brought into an incredibly themed indoor/outdoor project in Yuma AZ. We started working on this project after Fun Expo in 2008, and celebrated the grand opening of the Yuma Fun Factory in May of 2009. This adventure was amazing. We love our grand opening projects and feel like we’ve mastered the art of job fair, auditions, sales office set up, orientation, operations training, birthday launch, corporate party Outside–InTM sales events, and more. However, Yuma Fun Factory gave us even more opportunity to leave the TrainerTainment mark on their location. J Brock, our VP of operations, spent four months on–site to help cement the training processes, bookkeeping, and operations of the center. It was a tremendous opportunity for both companies, and I’ll take this moment to publicly thank Aquilla, J’s wife, for sharing him for 16 weeks of this year.

Pinz is one of the most beautiful bowling based FEC’s in Oakdale, MN (Minneapolis/St. Paul area). We worked closely with Len Ghilani, a brilliant food and beverage project manager, and helped open this new location. Our services help provide locations’ job descriptions, product development, employee hand books, shopping services, guest service training, and more to insure that they get open with the enthusiasm and the training that is needed to give each guest that WOW experience that they desire.

Eric Linfors of Brunswick, brought us to a bowling based FEC project in Pooler GA called Frames N Games. This new center is run by bowling enthusiast Rick Danis, and they have a beautiful mix of entertainment offerings for families in the Savannah, GA area. It was great to have the opportunity to team up with a world class organization like Brunswick.

The Dadeland Mall in Miami, Florida, is home to a facility that we also helped with Grand Opening, OneStop FunDrop. Jeannette Albo was a joy to work with, and the facility is a great family oriented arcade location.

We also were fortunate to work with Palace Entertainment in California, specificaly with one of our favorite Sales & Marketing Directors, Janet Wilson-Irving, at Boomers, their Irving location. We partnered with Redemption Plus for a sales and birthday seminar. And continued to work with them on their birthday parties sales.

Throughout the year we’ve had the gift of working long term with other bowling based FEC locations, like Alley Cats in Arlington, TX, Fast Lane Bowl in Lowell, AR, Shenaniganz in Rockwall, TX.

Other bowling opportunities included teaching at Bowling Management School, guest speaking during Bowl Expo, and providing education for several state association meetings including, Ohio, Howard Baum’s July meeting in the Carolinas and GA, the Northern California’s Bowling Centers, West Coast Bowling Convention, the Texas and the Louisiana state meetings, and we never miss the Mid–South Trade Show in Tunica, MS.

This year we were invited to speak to the Blue Ribbon Bowling group in the Detroit, MI area, and enjoyed a full day of interaction with 10 different centers. We worked with a number of individual bowling proprietors this year, including Mandy Haws at Sooner Bowl in Norman, OK, Melanie Warmke of Holiday Lanes in Bossier City, LA, and of course my good friends the Schumackers in Davie FL. We are delighted to begin a partnership with the Schumackers this year, and I will officially become a proprietor.

And after 4 ½ years of me wishing the Bardon Bowling Centers group would hire us for something – my wish has come true! As I type this message here in Wisconsin, this cold December morning, I’m celebrating a great Sales Summit that we held with David’s leadership team. We are very excited to be working with this forward thinking proprietor, and look forward to an extended relationship.

Indoor inflatables are a big business and we participated in the Monkey Joe’s annual conference in early April. We were charged with providing them a training program that helps their franchisee maximized birthday revenue. From hiring, sales, and efficient operational systems, this project made us jump for joy! I still can’t make it over the first obstacle in the maze, but with a little less weight and a lot more practice, I think I can do it. We worked with the folks at the corporate level and helped open a new franchise location in Indiana.

We did a lot of work with the Roller Skating Association International this year and got to speak at the National convention as well as several section events. In my opinion, roller skating is the best kept secret in town. It’s inexpensive, and the lights and sound are nothing short of top notch. It’s exciting. It’s great exercise! I even skated myself this year and honestly it made me smile from the inside! The section events included many many centers and we spoke in Myrtle Beach, SC, Lewisville, TX, Kansas City, MO, Fort Wayne, IN, and California. The enthusiasm we receive from the rink owners is incredible. It was great fun to share new ideas and to learn more about the industry in general.

Bill Carlson hosts U–Profit which is an amazing event that Bill lets me participate in . . Talk about progressive entrepreneurs. The people that attend U–Profit are serious about making more money and making their businesses better. Bill is a dream to work with. His commitment to helping operators is genuine and it is my honor to work with him. We also co–hosted a Leadership Seminar in the DFW area in September, and look forward to working together again in 2010.

Jim Dvorak of United Skates of America let us work on a rockin’ new birthday party program with his organization; and through the grapevine I hear awesome reports of 35% + increase in some centers year over year in November! We launched their program in early October.

Late in the 3rd quarter, pizza buffet and “2009 FEC of the World winner”, iT’Z, hired us to ramp up their group and birthday sales. Dallas based, iT’Z has big box pizza buffets that are loaded with games and attractions; and have locations in Houston, TX, Albuquerque, NM, and Colorado Springs, CO.

Finally, I was invited to speak at the Dubai Entertainment Amusement &amp Leisure Show in Dubai, UAE. What an amazing adventure. It was so cool to see this unbelievable city, and to learn that no matter how someone dresses, families are families everywhere on earth. I’m on the roster to speak again in 2010 and can’t wait to go back. My topic in 2009 was centered around our Fun Training Serious Results training method for staff. It was incredible to understand that the owners and managers around the world have the same training issues as we do here at home. They bought every book and DVD that I took (I’m taking a bigger bag next year!)

I continue to write a column for Replay magazine called The Party Professor. If you aren’t taking that magazine, I encourage you to do so. You can also find archived copies of the Party Professor on our Xpress Training website (click here to sign up today). We worked closely with Fred Groh at Bowling Industry magazine and they published three articles throughout the year that included information from our Great Leader SeriesTM training program. I love to write and I love it more when you take the time to interact and respond. We hosted a number of webinar events this year and our attendance continues to grow. Thank you to those of you that support and enjoy this program.

Thanks to the many new customers this year who bought our products at the trade show events we attended. Our new “Everything Birthdays” product was a huge hit. Rarely does a week go by that someone doesn’t call and say how much difference a scripted system for handling the birthday inquiry, or the host training has made in their party program! I love that.

As I close this review on a wonderful year (forgive me for any of you that I missed) there are two things that stand out in my mind when I think of the clients that we work with. Those two things are that these business owners are progressive and there is always a choice. The folks that choose to work with us do so because they believe we can help them make more money. There’s no other reason to sign up for our services or any other training companies’ service unless you know that there’s something in it for you.

Our commitment is that we are passionate and devoted to that effort of putting our customers in better position to make more money. We believe we have expertise in sales and training, and that the combination of those two will help you get more money to the bottom line.

Merry Christmas to you that celebrate Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. If you’ve made it to the bottom of this lengthy email and have been one of our customers this year, I invite you to leave feedback on the blog about anything you’d like to see in the coming year or input on how we helped you this year. Happy new year and let’s WIN in 2010!



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  1. Email Marketing on April 13, 2010 at 10:26 pm

    Thank you for your help!

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