Quoted from EvanDickson:
Sigh. This week my immaculate TOM took in $30 (Canadian, which is like $20 US), and my DW took in $20 (also CAD). Why don't people in this town play pinball?
I agree with Lloyd, that this is much closer to the norm. I have a location with similar earnings to the one you describe.
One thing I have learned, you don't need immaculately maintained or the prettiest machines. Yes, definitely keep them clean, with strong/aligned flippers and major functions working, and lamps replaced when practical. Past that it's irrelevant, to all but a few picky players, who are likely to be collectors to begin with.
And, new equipment does indeed help with earnings, but is not the answer, especially if you have nowhere else to rotate machines in and out of.
Location pinball is definitely improving overall here in the States, but not everywhere. Even in regions/cities where pinball does well, it's a far cry from "back in the day." Big operators generally have this attitude, and it's not worth their time to operate them, unless a location specifically requests one. That's how us small-time ops sneak in.
My point is, you can be doing everything "right," but at a lot of locations, it won't really matter. There's simply too much other competition for the entertainment dollar these days, and if you can't hook the younger generation and distract them from their mobile devices, it's a losing battle.