Upon arriving at your facility, your lobby is the first impression your customers will have of your facility. Customers will be here to purchase games, redeem tickets won, and buy refreshments. The lobby is the central hub for the rest of your facility.
Your lobby will include
- Front Counter
- Redemption Counter
- Entrance to your various attractions
- In-store marketing items
- Closed Circuit TV for arena viewing
- Tables and waiting areas for those waiting to play
Your goal should be to create a lobby environment where those waiting to play your attractions are able to spend time having fun or learning more about your facility.
A well laid-out arcade and redemption center can increase your potential income drastically. Also having the hottest, most profitable arcade/redemption mix is equally important.
Operators can either lease their arcade games from a third party vendor or own their games outright. The benefit of leasing is that you can keep your games cycling through as newer games are released while broken games are repaired by the third party company. Your profits this way are also usually split 50/50 with the leasing company. Owning your own games increases your profits but you’ll have to do the repairs on broken games yourself. Operators who have experience fixing these machines generally choose this option or move to this option over time.
Industry experts suggest that you allocate about 50 sq. ft. per video game for your arcade. If you plan to purchase your games, an average price per video game or redemption game would be around $9000.00 per machine. The industry average revenue per machine is around $200 per machine. Some machines will make considerably more but others could generate less than the $200 per week. But for initial planning purposes, the $200 per machine is a safe number.
Redemption games are usually the bigger money makers in your facility as the reward options at your redemption counter feed the desire for your guests to play these games. A well-stocked redemption counter can create a real excitement for your customers and their children who will want to take those prizes home.
A great layout tip for your arcade is to put it in front of your operations counter as your customers will have to walk through your arcade to play at your facility. This will create the desire for your guests to spend time in your arcade while they wait for their laser tag game (or other attractions).
We work with a number of arcade providers and have strong relationships with the quality suppliers. Feel free to contact us and we can help you choose your arcade vendor that is best suited for your needs.
Before vesting up to play in your laser tag arena, your guests will need to be briefed on how to play the game. Your briefing room should make it easy for your game commander to explain the arena rules and how to use the laser tag equipment.
Some operators prefer to use a DVD or video when briefing the players on the laser tag system, while others prefer a live presenter for every game. Bringing in equipment to show players how to use the equipment is also common and can be very interactive, especially with birthday children. Some briefing rooms have places or areas to sit while others have all the players remain standing during the brief.
These are all preferences as briefing can be done in any of the ways listed above, but you’ll only need about 9 square foot per pack to comfortably fit your players.
Your layout between your briefing room, vesting room, arena, and lobby are crucial to your throughput. While customers are being instructed, those playing the game should be hanging up their vests in the vesting room and exiting to your lobby through an exit in that room. That way when the briefing is completed, they should be able to move directly into the vesting room without encountering the previous game’s players. Facilities that can’t accommodate this kind of flow can suffer lower revenue and fewer games per hour.
Check out the Arena tab in this section to see a sample layout of how the briefing, vesting, tech, and arena rooms should be laid out for optimal throughput.
Theming in your briefing room is an important aspect of starting to set the mood for your guest’s experience.
Located between your arena and briefing room, your vesting room is where your players go to put on the laser tag equipment and get ready to enter the world you’ve created for them.
It’s important to allow for enough room for the hanging equipment and incoming players to get suited-up comfortably. Approximately 14 square feet per vest should cover this.
Don’t forget to check out the Arena tab in this section to see a sample layout of how the briefing, vesting, tech, and arena rooms should be laid out for optimal throughput.
Theming in your vesting room is also important to continue the immersive experience in your laser tag attraction.
This is where your ultimate vision for your facility gains traction or falls on its face! Having a well-designed and playable arena is absolutely crucial to the success of your laser tag business.
A good rule-of-thumb for laying out your laser tag arena is to allow for 100-120 square feet per vest on the floor footprint of your arena. This allows for comfortable play and your players won’t feel so crammed if you try to go for a smaller footprint. It is always a good idea to design for a slightly larger arena and add more packs to your attraction than to build too small and not have any room for growth.
The shape of your arena can vary depending on your building and layout. Some facilities try to design for a mirrored arena, split down the center to allow for a more fair experience among players while others try to create a less conventional design allowing for more sporadic and unique elements and obstacles to hide behind. Also when designing your arena, it is important to include either a second level or half levels, as these outperform and outlast single level arenas nearly 2 to 1.
When it comes to theming, your imagination is the limit, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and ideas with your arena theming company about what your vision is for your facility.
Below is an example of a well laid out laser tag attraction that optimizes throughput for higher game counts per hour and overall attraction flow.
The tech room is the area where you or your employees can work on equipment that need minor repairs or cleaning. No matter which equipment you select, you WILL have to make repairs.
Ideally, your tech room should be attached to your vesting room and near the entrance to the arena. This is so that players who need simple fixes can find and receive the quick fixes without losing a lot of precious game time. Having your tech room near the vesting room and arena will also keep your equipment from having to travel through the lobby where guests will be.
To see a sample layout of the optimal location of your tech room, click on the Arena tab in this section.
Your tech room should be large enough to accommodate:
- Adequate table workspace
- Shelves and drawers for replacement parts
- A tech log
- A spot to hang non-functioning packs
- Can even include your laser tag gaming computer and/or your controls for the arena (sound/fog/lights/etc.).
These are the rooms where your groups and parties will spend a good deal of time at your facility, so you have to continue the feel and theme of your facility into these areas.
Sometimes operators will have the option to do either party rooms or party areas where multiple parties are going on at the same time. In our experience, party parents and group leaders will choose exclusive party rooms over party areas nearly every time.
Party rooms are generally around 15’ x 18’ or so and utilize an 8’-12’ table or pair of tables to meet that size. This gives you seating for 12-18 guests plus things like a counter or other space for the party host etc.
Multiple connected party areas can also be designed to open into larger rooms for corporate or larger group functions. An increasing number of facilities are even including options like projectors for presentations and buffet style food preparation for these larger, more professional, events.
In today’s culture of “try before you buy,” an observation deck allows you to sell your laser tag attraction to those who aren’t sure if they or their children want to play in your facility. Letting mom take a look at your attraction and seeing their child’s happy and excited face is a fantastic way to win more parties at your facility.
Mothers also like to watch their children play and appreciate the opportunity to make sure their children are having a good time in your arena.
Observation decks don’t often take up that much space and if placed on the second level, give viewers great spots to watch the action taking place. These areas are generally completely cut off from the lobby by a door with no windows as to not disturb the players in the arena.
A less recommended alternative is light reflective, tinted, glass that can be incorporated into a lobby wall connecting to the arena. The observation glass can often times let light from the lobby into the arena disturbing the effects. Many visuals in the arena, such as the black light painted walls and obstacles don’t glow when exposed to white light. This option has to be done carefully and wisely to be effective in your facility.
Another option is to have cameras in your arena with a display monitor in your lobby or party rooms so that the parents and waiting players can view the action going on in the arena as well. Many facilities with observation decks create this option for those who cannot visit the observation deck on a second floor.
To feed or not to feed, that is the question? Most Family Entertainment Centers include a full kitchen to maximize food profits rather than just relying on snack sales or ordering from nearby restaurants.
Having the ability to make your own pizzas, hamburgers, fried foods, and/or birthday food options can help increase your overall profits significantly.
You’ll want to include space for:
- Refrigerators and Freezers
- Sinks and dish washers
- Storage containers and shelves
Speaking to your fire marshals and contractors, you can learn about other local and federal compliances you’ll need to abide by to include a full kitchen into your facility.
Your office spaces are where your management will be handling facility matters, handling phone calls, counting money, recording security cameras footage, storing important or expensive items, and usually tracking daily statistics.
It is important to have a space for your management to be able to work away from the facility’s action, as many of your manager’s functions and appointments need their full attention. These offices don’t usually need to take up much room at all to store a desk, computer, and perhaps a few filing cabinets and shelves.
Another office space should be considered to be used as an employee break room. This is a place for employees to store personal items and have meals.
Not having a break room means that employees will hang around the lobby or tech room or other places you don’t want them to eat and spend their break times. This can create problems where staff and your customers interact. Having your employees use your office as a break room can create other unwanted situations if theft were to occur.
Besides the main sections of your facility, you’ll have to include other areas every facility will need to consider.
Restrooms - Your local fire marshal can tell you how many restrooms and stalls you will need based on your parking and occupancy of your facility. If you have to relocate a restroom from another part of the building, this can be an expensive item to budget for.
Storage - DO NOT underestimate how much storage you will need for your facility. You will need separate storage spots for cleaning chemicals, restaurant supplies, tools, extra lights and maintenance equipment, party supplies, employee supplies, seasonal items, redemption prizes, and more based on your other attractions. Many facilities forget to include or end up lacking these in their initial designs.
Additional Attractions - Be sure to include realistic space requirements for your other attractions. Talking to your other attraction suppliers can provide you with real numbers on square footage recommendations. Also providing a healthy attraction mix and targeting specific age ranges tends to be more profitable than facilities that try to cater to every age bracket in the market. This can create customer confusion as to who you are actually targeting with your attractions.