Quoted from lord_norm:
Im in Tempe AZ... i have a building that is about to be listed that has a patio and is a good size for about $370k... id like to buy the building put the pins and pool tables (pay per game) in and sell beers for about $5... the hard part is selling all of my assets to hope the bar income can feed me.... worst case scenario, in a few years i could sell the property, hopefully for as much, or more than i bought it for.
I gotta be honest, sounds like a bad idea from all sides, UNLESS you have the perfect locaiton with a high density of younger hipster type young professionals that like to drink and play games. Games wont ever make you real money, they are just the entertainment for the drinkers to stick around.
Tempe appears under 200k population and only growing at 2% yoy. 30% population appears to not be in workforce (retired? or kids) and while a decent amount of 25-45 year olds, just not enough population to support a barcade unless you have the exact perfect location.
The greater area could of course support it, but are people going to travel in for this? Esp when it appears that you have pinball places in the area that would be direct competition (3 places within and hr drive with 20+ games each). Most barcades that are successful are in high density and walkable/bikable (or easily uberable) neighborhoods that still offer good parking opportunities. I would always encourage anyone to persue their dreams for anything pinball arcade related, but please sit down to create a legit business plan and crunch the real numbers before you start selling assets to try this out.
I will agree that in these ventures, real estate ownership is the real investment. Buying the property is often not feasible for most people, but that will get you through the lean times and be your possible retirement when the time comes. Owning the building and location you are going to pour your life into is very important IMHO. I wish you luck either way and while I dont own or operate a barcade, I have friends that do and I have been part of a group operating over 35 pins in a similar sized town for over 5 years now so I am happy to talk details if you ever want to PM to pick my brain.