Great food for thought! I always love reading your blogs. Just wanted to comment on your last blog. I agree completely!!
Knowing a rain dance that worked would be a great thing. Cold weather sure isn't a bad thing but if these are the only things we have going for us, our industry is in trouble.
I know that most of the centers close to ours close on certain days or cut back their hours in the summer. A few even close for 3 months. The reasoning I hear most is that “Nobody wants to be inside in the summer”.
I think we often use excuses, valid or not to explain why we aren't busy. At a staff meeting a few years ago I pointed out to my employees, managers and even my business partner the danger of looking for an easy way out when it comes to having slow periods of income.
1) Summer – Nobody wants to bowl or even be inside during the summer
2) August/September – People are getting and paying for their kids back to school.
3) August/October/November/December/January and the first week of February –
4) When they aren't watching football its basketball, then baseball or even NASCAR.
Don’t let me get started about soccer.
5) October – All those Halloween parties that weren't there 15 years ago are taking over.
6) November – First we lose the Friday after Thanksgiving and now Thanksgiving due to
7) December – Everyone is shopping and nobody has extra money
8) January – Everyone is paying off those Christmas bills they made
9) February – Everyone is still broke from Christmas and now they are spending on
10) March – The weather is getting nice. I sure do hope it rains this weekend
11) April /May – Kids are all outside. We can’t get any business until dark, if then.
We all know that there is even more excuses than this but listing them all here would take too long and do nobody any good. As you can see there is always an excuse that can be used.
Should we just except that sales will continue to dwindle and there is nothing to do about it except hope for rain? I think not, many of these things can be used as marketing opportunities if done right.
Pretty strange that even with all these challenges the movie industry has went from barely existing in the 1970’s to thriving, the restaurant industry has seen people go from eating at home 90% of the time to eating out 90% of the time and they now sell more game system than ever.
If you think everyone wants to be outside when the weather is nice just drive past a movie theater in the summer. Even on Mondays, Tuesday and Wednesdays they busy while most bowling centers close on those days.
We must set goals and come up with ideas on how to obtain them. Spend more time creating business than complaining about business. Take a positive approach with our customers, employees and ourselves rather than looking at just the bad.
We must set very high standards when it comes to customer service. When your staff does a good job let them know about, when they do an excellent job let everyone know about it and If they fall short address the issue and show them how to correct it.
Train and involve your staff in coming up with new ideas (Example: How can we be busy this Halloween season?) and big dividends will follow. Have employee meetings on a regular basis and make sure that you talk with and not at them. Make things fun for them and they will make things fun for your customers.
Market your business every month of the year, not just August and maybe springtime. Why not invite people to your center during the “busy” months too?
Afraid of a waiting list? If you market your way to being too busy during the hours everyone wants to be there come up with off hour specials and events to drive them from prime-time weekend hours to late night, early morning or weekday business when you have lanes available.
The bowling business can be like a snowball rolling downhill. If we have more business than normal in the winter we will have more business than usual in the spring, more business in the spring than usual and you can have a better summer and of course a better summer equals a better fall. REPEAT-REPEAT-REPEAT.
The opposite can be true too. The worst thing we can do is cut marketing, hours, staffing, days of the week we are open.
Would you drive to a restaurant if you didn't for sure if they would be open? Why do we think our customers would drive to a bowling alley under the same circumstances?
Lewis Sims, Director of Fun and Co-Owner Operator
Dynasty Lanes 3105 St. Rt. 103 Willard Ohio 44890