If you’re like most of us in the amusement industry, you were probably hooked after your first visit to a local family entertainment center. You probably didn’t even need to attend events like IAAPA and Amusement 360 to fall in love with the industry.
Before you write a fairytale ending of launching a successful family entertainment center (FEC), let’s set the right expectations. Many aspiring business owners have taken a shot at starting a location-based entertainment center. Some have succeeded and some have failed.
Many factors contribute to the top reasons why new businesses fail. Plus competition is increasing in every market. Don’t let fear stand in the way of turning your visions into reality.
One of the ways to get into the amusement industry with less risk than starting your own center from the ground up is to become a franchisor. The best franchise brands provide a scalable system of the right attractions, processes, and brand recognition needed to be successful.
More importantly, you don’t need industry experience because you can leverage the experience of the franchise in the key aspects of the business.
Before you go further down the rabbit hole, here are three crucial questions to ask yourself if you’re considering starting a franchise:
Question 1: Do I really want to be in the amusement industry?
This is the first question to ask because it’s not always rainbows and unicorns. There’s dealing with teenagers, unpleasant customers, and working nights and weekends. We’ve heard a story about a franchisee who thought she wanted to get into the business. It wasn’t until the first day of opening when she realized it wasn’t something she wanted to do.
There are many owners who show up to work 7 days a week because they want to—not because they have to. You really have a chance to create lasting memories for families and add a valuable resource to your local community.
When you start with the Why you’re getting into the business in the first place, you’re on your way to getting your staff, customers, and the local community on board with your vision.
Question 2: Do I have the knowledge and expertise to start a family fun center from the ground up?
As we mentioned before, a newbie who doesn’t know the ins and outs of starting and running a location-based entertainment center is at a disadvantage. Getting the help of an industry consultant can help reduce the learning curve, but they may only help you up until your launch phase.
Franchises on the other hand, already have a system in place to set you up for success. You also are able to get ongoing support from the home office. If you’re new to the industry, there’s no better way to get your feet wet.
Another note worth mentioning is the fact that there are seasoned owners in the industry who still invest in franchises, so you don’t have to be new to the industry to take advantage of the opportunities.
Question 3: What am I willing to give up by starting a franchise?
As with any business venture, there are pros and cons. If you’re not willing to let go of full control or share financial information, this could be a showstopper.
Another drawback is the fact that negative publicity can affect your business. The fights breaking out at Chuck E. Cheeses is a prime example:
The trade-off of getting into the industry with minimal experience and risk may come with strings attached, but for many franchisees who are experiencing tremendous success, it’s a pretty sweet deal.
Are you ready to get started?
Thomas Berger once said, “The art and science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge.” Now that you have the foundational questions answered in starting a franchise, check out this list of questions to ask prospective franchisors.
If you would like some recommendations for great franchises based on the type of center you’d like to open, we’d be happy to share some of our favorites. You can also attend an upcoming franchise expo in Mexico City to expand your research into which franchise is the best fit for you. Will we see you there?