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Expansion - November 2016

The Rec Room Looks to Grow Across Canada

by Mike Bederka

New FEC by Cineplex Entertainment plans to open 10 to 15 locations

The Rec Room is positioning itself to become Canada’s largest family entertainment center (FEC) chain.

After debuting in August in Edmonton, the company will open locations in Toronto and Calgary during the first half of 2017. Stay tuned for 10 to 15 more spots across the country in the years ahead, says Sarah Van Lange, director of communications for Toronto-based Cineplex Entertainment.

Cineplex operates 162 theaters in Canada and also has its hand in gaming operations with Cineplex Starburst. In addition, the company tackles theatrical exhibition and food service, and serves as a joint partner in the entertainment loyalty program SCENE.

Bringing this new FEC chain into its portfolio is a natural extension of the Cineplex brand, Van Lange says. “With The Rec Room, we’re leveraging our entertainment, amusement gaming, food and beverage, digital media, and operational capabilities to bring an entirely new technology-enhanced entertainment experience to Canadians.”

While careful not to call it an actual movie theater, she says the Edmonton location features the same sound and picture technology as the Cineplex theaters, in hopes of drawing the sports-watching crowd.

The Rec Room caters to customers of all ages; however, it will likely skew older, with millennials and baby boomers as the core demos and generate heavy business with parties and group events (e.g., holiday, bachelorette, corporate, and team building). To that end, it has bars throughout the space serving six draught wines and more than 20 draught beers.

Other highlights of the FEC include:

  • A 14,000-square-foot attractions area called “The Yard” with more than 100 games
  • Three restaurants—upscale casual, casual dining and pizzeria, and quick service—serving Canadian-inspired cuisine (think steak frites and a variety of poutine)
  • “The Hall” for comedy and musical acts
  • A stage in the bar area for theme nights, special events, and guest engagements (for example, trivia and karaoke nights)
  • A virtual reality experience, luxury bowling, and an axe-throwing space—capitalizing on a new Canadian trend