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Home > Master Selection Guide > Game FAQ's > Starting A Commercial Arcade / Family Entertainment Center Information Guide

           Starting a Family Entertainment Center or Commercial Arcade Gameroom

Planning and Designing A New Arcade Gameroom Free Design Service For New Commercial Arcades and Family Entertainment Centers / FEC Gameroom Blueprints For A New Family Entertainment Center / FEC Arcade Gameroom Starting A New Family Entertainment Center Designing and Planning A New Commercial Arcade or FEC / Family Entertainment Center
       BMI Worldwide's Commercial Arcade Sales Team are experts in helping you select the most suitable and most profitable mix of
       Arcade, Sports and Redemption Games, all at the very best prices available, and also provides arcade business planning, interior,
       space and theme design and internet,  viral, social and event marketing services to all Family Entertainment Centers and Arcades.

Guidelines For Starting / Planning Family Entertainment Centers and Commercial Arcades

Starting a new amusement business can be a rewarding experience but it must be planned out
properly in order to succeed. First you must consider the feasibility of the idea in the region that
you wish to operate in. For this we offer world-class feasibility studies handled by our arcade, FEC
and LBE (location-based entertainment) partner consultants White Hutchinson. We also offer a
wide variety of additional services such as business planning, layouts, theming, training and more.
For more information on all entertainment-related consulting services we provide, please click here

Please note that due to the dynamic nature of our industry, with product availability and pricing changing with little notice, we cannot create amusements or arcade machine cost estimates more
than 90 days in advance of purchase. But we can offer qualified amusement buyers and owners
some basic, generalized equipment cost estimates, based upon the project information you provide.

Commercial Arcades and Family / Location-Based Entertainment Centers Overview :

The following guide offers some basic insights, facts and thoughts on starting new arcades
and Family Entertainment Centers worldwide - Although not a comprehensive startup guide, it
does covers a number of important steps, points and issues that should be recognized prior
to planning a successful commercial arcade, fun center or family entertainment center facility.

Family Entertainment Centers (FEC), Fun Centers and LBE's ("Location-Based Entertainment" in amusement industry jargon) facilities are a very popular form of entertainment
across the world, especially in emerging / developing regions such as Africa, Eastern Europe,
East Asia, South America and the Middle East, as parents increasing seek fun, yet safe and
wholesome activities for their children, along with teens and adults seeking public excitement.

The typical floor space for Family Entertainment Centers runs from 8,000 Sq Ft (2400 Sq M)
to 50,000 Sq Ft (15,000 Sq M) or more, and the typical "standalone" arcade game room ranges
from 1,500 to 5,000 Sq Ft  (475-1525 Sq M) in size, with a complete turnkey budget for FEC's
starting about $1,000,000 and smaller traditional arcades starting about $250,000 - A very good
"rule of thumb" for budgeting many facilities uses $125 - $300 per Sq Ft or $410 - $985 / Sq M
for total project costs, but depends a great deal on where in the world the facility will be located.

Of course, if you already have built out, unused space, and adding "non-redemption" arcade
and sports games into locations such as hotels, resorts, casinos and cruise ships, a better way
to estimate startup costs would be to use 10 to15 games per 1,000 Sq Ft (300 Sq M) and using
a average equipment cost of $6,000-$8,000 per game, for budgetary purposes.

Small arcades and game rooms under 3,000 Sq Ft  (900 Sq M) are generally easy to plan, design
and implement, with the assistance from one of our experienced Commercial Arcade Consultants
helping to select the correct mix of games depending on your location, space, demographics and
budget. Most small arcades and game rooms can be planned and launched within 10 to 16 weeks.

Larger facilities over 8,000 Sq Ft  (2400 Sq M) usually take much longer to correctly plan, budget,
design, construct and furnish, and typically take from 6 months to over 1 1/2 years to launch.

Of course, these are just generic examples of typical project costs and times, and these figures
can vary depending on the complexity and size of the facility, as well as the geographical location.

As opposed to smaller traditional arcades stocked with the latest video arcade and sports games,
most Family Entertainment Centers and LBE's include a large redemption arcade game area, and
many times include "large format" attractions such as bowling alleys, go-cart tracks, batting cages, motion theater and ride simulators, laser tag rooms, miniature golf courses and other amusement-
park like components, along with extensive food and beverage operations, birthday party rooms, etc.

Because a single Arcade or FEC's success is mainly dependent on repeat local customer visits,
they are usually located near high-density residential areas, schools, malls, high traffic retail and or commercial zones. The correct size and location for a profitable facility depends on many factors,
but the population size (within a 30 minute drive of your proposed location) combined with current
local area demographics and factoring in any competitors currently operating in or around your geographical area are some of the most important ones to consider during the "feasibility" stage.

Planning a large commercial arcade or Family Entertainment Center is not a small undertaking.
Are you looking to open a small arcade geared towards teens and adults, or one catering to kids
and their parents similar to " Chuck E Cheese " ? Or perhaps a version of a " Dave and Busters "
style facility, complete with arcade and extensive food and beverage operations, catering to young
and middle-aged adults with a bar that serves alcohol, or perhaps some entirely new approach ?

Fun Fact : Did you know that Dave & Busters spends up to $15 Million USD to build and launch a new facility in the
USA, and to get a "Chuck E Cheese" franchise requires an initial investment of around $1.5 Million USD, which
does not normally include land, construction, development, finance and first year operating capital expenses ?

Commercial Arcade, Family Entertainment Center and LBE Development Checklist :

In the beginning stages of forming a new arcade, Family Entertainment Center or LBE plan, there
are a few crucial steps that must be completed prior to focusing on purchasing arcade equipment.

The basic requirements that need to be met prior to equipment purchase for your facility include :

1) Selecting the location for your arcade, game room, FEC or LBE, if not already decided.

2) Determine if you will build or lease this facility, if you do not own or rent a existing location.

3) Obtaining zoning approval for this location, from your city, county and/or state government

4) Creating business plan and budget, including target demographics and operational expenses.

5) Commissioning a Feasibility Study to determine profitability, if facility is larger than 8,000 Sq Ft.

6) Securing bank, investor, private, family and / or personal financing for facility construction.

7) Creation of the facility's theme, design, floor plan and construction blueprint, as needed.

8) Construction and/or renovation of selected facility, based on design and floor plans created.

9) Purchase of all equipment and furnishings for facility, about 3 to 5 months prior to launch date

As you can see, purchasing equipment is the last item on this general checklist

Please note that due to the dynamic nature of the industry, with products and pricing changing
with little notice, we cannot create arcade game estimates more than 90 days in advance,
but are happy to help with general equipment estimates, based upon project information provided.

Good planning for any business is essential, and in the arcade business there are some basics
that must be addressed upfront. Your most immediate concern, outside of creating a business plan
and obtaining financing, is being sure that you can secure zoning approval for your facility from your
local "zoning board" (in most countries) before you proceed. Although most governments have now
relaxed some of the strict zoning codes that have discouraged facilities from opening in the past,
there are a few areas where entertainment locations are strictly regulated, or banned in rare cases.

There are many points to consider while planning your project covered above, but having a well
prepared business plan for your project is crucial to its success. Larger facilities with budgets of
$750,000 or more should count on obtaining a comprehensive Site Feasibility Study (which can
run from 50 to 100+ pages) that will be highly instrumental in pre-determining the future profitability
and ROI for your project, as well as being a highly instrumental tool in securing project financing

The cost for this service generally runs from $2,500 to $10,000, depending on the global location and
the size / scope of the specific project being analyzed - And your BMI Worldwide Arcade Consultant
can arrange to have a Feasibility Study conducted on your behalf with one of the top industry analysts. 

Once you have determined the location/size of your facility, obtained zoning approval and conducted
a feasibility study (if needed), and have completed your initial business plan (including all startup and construction costs + initial year's operational and marketing costs) and are ready to move ahead, the
next step is to set a arcade game "budget"  and determining the proper game "mix" for your project,
which is largely dependent on your targeted customer type, local demographics and type of facility.

After completing all of the above, your final task is to actually purchasing your games and related
equipment. Depending on the type and size of your arcade, this could include anything from just
arcade games to token changers, card swipe systems, ticket redemption centers, counters or
machines and more. Your BMI Worldwide Arcade Consultant can help determine for you the best
way for customers to pay for game usage, either via coins, tokens, or for larger facilities with 40 or
more games, card swipe systems and card readers that eliminate the hassle of token collection
and offer real-time, internet accessible data on the performance and profitability of your arcade

And once you have completed all of the above steps, and are within a few months of opening your
new facility, one of the last, but most crucial steps is to "get the word" out to your local community
about your facility! Entertainment facility marketing is one of the most commonly overlooked steps
in creating a profitable operation, and effective marketing of your entertainment center is absolutely paramount to its success - There are many types of effective marketing venues, tools and methods
to choose from, and among these, some of the most effective can be direct advertising, like display
ads in local weekend entertainment guides, newspapers, radio, television or cable channels, and by
offering discount coupons through local / social media channels, as well as creating a high-quality website that showcases your facility and services, and by partnering with local schools, churches, charities, youth centers and non-profits organizations to offer group discounts - And finally, creating
some high-quality print and online brochures that details everything your facility can offer clients.


BMI Worldwide's
Family Entertainment Center Arcade Consultants are ready to share with
you our in-depth knowledge of current arcade industry trends and insights, along with knowledge
of the industry's best practices and products, when you are ready to start your new entertainment
project or upgrade your existing location. We can provide thoughtful guidance in areas from arcade
game selection to initial site selection, feasibility studies, space planning, interior design, building plans, food and beverage operations, prize redemption center plans, direct/social marketing of your business, along with some great ideas for your initial opening and the successful promotion of your new facility.

Most new or potential Arcade / FEC facility owners have lots of unanswered questions like :
How many games should I buy? What type of games should I get? How much space do I need, or
how many games will fit in my space? What do typical games cost? Are their governmental laws
affecting arcades? What about liability insurance? Where should I locate my arcade? Should I target
kids, adults or both? What is the best way to advertise my arcade?  Should I buy or lease my games?

If you need personalized information about starting a project, our Initial Arcade Consulting Session can provide you with no cost Arcade or FEC startup project advice, and answer most basic questions you might have in planning a project, via telephone or Skype voice or video conference, anywhere in
the world, and includes up to one (1) free hour of consultation time with one of our arcade experts.

Click link to schedule : Free Initial Arcade / FEC Startup Consultation Session

Family Entertainment Centers, LBE and Arcades  |  Product Sales  Contact Information :

USA / Canadian Customers :

For more information about arcade development, purchasing games or for game specifications, please
contact our Adam Pratt or Dean Smith in our North American Sales Department from 6:00am to 9:00pm 
Eastern [GMT -5:00] Monday to Friday at (800) 746-2255 or 561-391-7200 or use our Sales Inquiry Form 

Western European / Asian / Mid-South African / Oceania / Customers :

For more information about arcade development, purchasing games or for game specifications, please contact
Ms. Theresa Landman in our Global Sales Department from 6:00am to 5:00pm  Eastern [GMT -5:00] Mon to Fri
at  + 561-391-7200  | Ext 113 or  + 27-83-397-8232 or Skype theresa.bmigaming or use our Sales Inquiry Form  

Eastern European / Middle East / North Africa Customers :

For more information about arcade development, purchasing games or for game specifications, please contact
Mr. Luis Canon in our Global Sales Department from 9:00am to 7:00pm  Eastern Time [GMT -5] Monday to Friday
at  + 561-288-4889 or Skype
luis.bmigaming or use our Online Sales Inquiry Form

 Hablamos Español  /  South American / Spanish / Portuguese Customers :

Contacte Sr. Luis Canon en el Departamento de Ventas Latinoamericano está abierto de 9am a 7pm [GMT -5:00]
Lunes-Vieres en  + 561-288-4889 (US) or  + 57-1-381-9222 (Colombia) or Skype luis.bmigaming


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