Looking for Pinball "Barcade" owners for advice

(Topic ID: 216090)

Looking for Pinball "Barcade" owners for advice


By lord_norm

10 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 60 posts
  • 34 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by Whysnow
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    There are 60 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
    #51 10 months ago
    Quoted from lord_norm:

    I am sure you have all heard this before, but i am about to sell some property and open up a pinball barcade. It will only have beer and wine due to the expense of a full liquor license. Looking to have about 10 machines, 1 or 2 pool tables and a bar for drinks...
    Any advice would be much appreciated!

    I don't remember whether or not you said you have any background in running a bar. If you don't, you should think long and hard about any decisions you make. I bought my golf course from a guy who was a golfer but did not have any background in the golf industry. He liked to play golf and thought it would be neat to own his own course. He netted 13k the first year, spent it on two snowmobiles, and five years later was going to close the course until I happened to come along.

    Be careful.

    #52 10 months ago
    Quoted from GhostThruster:

    Here is a question for operators and/or owners.. how well do the Super Chexx bubble hockeys earn? Thinking about putting one of those in one of my bar locations.

    Not recommended in small barcades, very high maintenance comparative to incomes of pool tables.
    Much more fragile and less durable, which can negate all earnings in these types of locations.
    If you want something similar, use a foosball table.

    We do not use them specifically in barcades for the above reasons.

    #53 10 months ago
    Quoted from Cantaffordgames:

    The PInball Bar I work at is owned by a game distributor, and a couple with both bartending/cooking AND ownership experience.
    The place is constantly packed and pinball as a hobby gets picked up by a lot of new players.
    Lots of water drinkers, but I assume business is very healthy, with nearly 400 Google reviews in just a year.
    I would highly recommend partnering w someone with ownership or GM experience if it's your 1st go.

    I love going to Tilt! Games are well maintained, staff is very friendly and the water is cold as ice!

    #54 10 months ago
    Quoted from FlippyD:

    I would be wary of writing off hobby expenses for any extensive length of time. Eventually the IRS or state tax board will say “this isn’t a business, it’s a hobby, you owe us all these back taxes...”

    It's not hobby expenses. They are legitimate business expenses. I just wanted to make that clear. It is all on the up and up. My point was that even though I'm losing money, I'm losing less than I would just collecting machines since it is a business and there is a tax advantage although I do invest more time than I would've sans business.

    #55 10 months ago
    Quoted from fattdirk:

    Think of the worst behavior from people and then multiply it by 5.

    I can back this statement up 100%. I've lost count of the times I've seen couples walk in with a baby in diapers, put the baby on a pinball glass where it crawls around on the glass while they play the game next to it. I'm not worried about the machine or the baby so much, its just poor parenting and the glass gets nasty.

    #56 10 months ago

    One night at my bar, after-hours, I witnessed a very 'free-spirited' bartender receive cunnilingus while sitting on the lockdown bar of my TSPP.
    Those were some crazy days!

    #57 10 months ago
    Quoted from lord_norm:

    Thanks for all the great responses!
    Id love to sell liquor but the license is about $100k. Hopefully i can work up to it and eventually upgrade to the full liquor license.
    I understand it needs to have a great atmosphere to keep people coming back. If you guys have some time, id love to hear ideas and opinions about the decor / paint / theme... Im sure some of you have opinions on what you enjoy the most.
    Also, I trying to figure out what the lineup of games should be, I personally would like newer stern pro's and some older 90's ones if i can afford them.

    If you’re struggling to afford 90s games, maybe it’s time to rethink this plan.
    It will cost you more money than you think.

    #58 10 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Where are you located? What city do you plan to open in?
    Go visit the barcades in your area to see what works. Visit them on a wed, visit them on a sat, visit them on a sun. See what works and what doesnot work.
    In my experience, pay for play is the only model that really works unless you are in a location so hot that the games are just something for people to feel hip about and you are making money on $10 beers. Games need to be well maintained and the way to do that is to charge per game. Even .25 so long as you charge. People treat the games better when they are paying and you will also mantain them better.
    one time entry fee seems to work for the huge arcades, but then again they seems to struggle w game maintainence.
    Figure out the model, sub model, that works for you and confirm what will give you the best chance of success in your region.
    I am sure plenty of us have crunched the numbers and few have undertaken it. Even fewer appear successful.
    Best of luck!

    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.

    #59 10 months ago
    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.

    Yikes!

    #60 10 months ago
    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.

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    There are 60 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.

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