📢 Gimme an E! Gimme an A! Gimme a T! Gimme an E! Gimme an R! Gimme a T! Gimme an A! Gimme an I! Gimme an N! Gimme an M! Gimme an E! Gimme an N! Gimme a T! 📢
What’s that spell? EATERTAINMENT!💡 a consumer user experience that involves dining before, during and/or after other entertaining activities.
Albeit a long cheer, if any category in the foodservice industry deserves a post-COVID, pom-poms in the air, crowd-chanting, standing ovation… Eatertainment has undoubtedly earned it. During the pandemic, restaurants had it bad, but for dining concepts built around and dependent on social gatherings, it was a whole-other non-ball game.
Fortunately, Eatertainment didn’t just survive the pandemic, it’s now thriving largely due to consumers’ renewed desire to reconnect and socialize at fun venues that include the whole package: food, drinks, and interactive, entertaining activities.
Although Eatertainment might be the hot, super-trending buzzword bringing in crowds, the concept has been around for decades. Let’s take a look at how the industry is embracing new forms of dining and entertainment combinations while utilizing the latest tech innovations to help both old and new brands take user experience to the next level.
Program perks can reward users with exclusive offers, free food, swag, bonus points, gifts on birthdays and other incentives. For example, the Chuck E. Cheese rewards app features exclusive member-only offers that can be redeemed for pizza, play-time, churros and more!
Chuck E. Cheese continues to evolve in the Eatertainment space and even launched a virtual brands concept.
David McKillips, President and CEO of CEC Entertainment – the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese – shares,
“Chuck E. Cheese has been widely known for its innovation in games and entertainment, and now, we are thrilled to partner with VDC to lead the family entertainment and restaurant category with this new ‘eatertainment’ delivery-only dining concept with the massively popular LankyBox brand.”
HAVE YOUR CAKE & DRINK IT TOO
Another originator in the Eatertainment category, Dave & Buster’s, attributes 67% of its revenue to food and beverage sales. The company has been leaning into checkout-free technology for its customer’s snacking and sipping needs.
Guests can visit The Game & Go store located in the midway section of Dave & Buster’s near all of the games, and select from a variety of pre-packaged snacks, beverages, and even some over-the-counter pain medication.
The technology works much like a walk-in vending machine. Customers simply put their credit card in the EMV reader, then the sensors assign an identification to the customer’s head and hands which can identify when a customer picks up or puts down an item. The customer is only charged for what they selected when they walk out of the store.
Another innovative way Dave and Buster’s is providing refreshments for their adult guests while also keeping their gaming on the go is through their PourMyBeer partnership.
The CEO and founder of PourMyBeer, Josh Goodman, says,
“the great thing about working with a company like Dave & Buster’s is they do their homework before choosing a partner. It validates what we preach; we genuinely care about all of our customers and strive to deliver the best that the self-pour market has to offer.”
Eatertainment has come a long way since its early beginnings of simply serving pizzas in a bowling alley or arcade setting. Concepts like Bowlero and Topgolf are taking user experience to the next level.
With the Bowlero app “Strike”, customers can use their smart devices to play bowling games and participate in special events to win trophies, virtual prizes and real-world rewards redeemable at local Bowlero locations!
A fan favorite, Topgolf, is an interactive golfing experience that allows guests to channel their inner golf pro while enjoying drinks and chef-quality meals with friends and family. Groups can hang out in a climate-controlled bay where they can order refreshments and select from a variety of games to play. At Topgolf every player needs a membership card to compete. Memberships start as low as $5 and give users access to play all games and track their scores. The company’s Platinum Member offers guests unlimited game play hours, alongside discounts on food, beverages, retail, and other perks!
THE FUTURE OF EATERTAINMENT!
So what’s next in Eatertainment? Pickleball! Which also happens to be the fastest-growing sport in America! This hot new trend is popping up at a clip rate and brands are taking notice.
Chicken N Pickle is a unique, indoor/outdoor Eatertainment complex combining a casual, chef-driven restaurant and sports bar with pickleball courts and a variety of other yard games. For the menu offering, the company says, “we believe local tastes better!” The brand strives to source food from area family farmers in each market, providing additive-free, low-carbon-footprint, delicious dishes for all taste buds. Once guests order their food, they are given a GPS-enabled table tent and are invited to ‘sit the flock down wherever you’d like’ in open seating indoor and outdoor dining spaces. Pickleball fans continue to flock to Chicken N Pickle in droves, propelling the company’s growth from 9 locations to more than 20 in the next two years.
Research shows that people are eager to socialize again and have experiences with one another after having gone through the pandemic and the social distancing that prevented them from spending time together for a long time. Eatertainment is part of a bigger trend where people want to go out and have an interactive experience at a place that offers the whole package – food, drinks, games, and entertainment all under one roof. Savvy brands would be wise to embrace tech and loyalty programs that focus on user experience in order to capitalize on this growing trend.