The World's Top FECs Share Secrets of Success
One way for any family entertainment center (FEC) to make leaps in its operations and become a competitive fireball is to learn lessons from the best. That’s the prize that the EDUSession titled “Road to Success: 2022 Top FEC of the World Finalists Share Success Stories” gave to its attendees. Three finalists—Wild Island Coconut Bowl in Sparks, Nevada; Timezone and Zone Bowling Surfer’s Paradise, Queensland, Australia; and Kingpin in Queenstown, New Zealand—shared their success stories.
The Coconut Bowl family entertainment center, located at Wild Island Adventure Park, proves that an FEC can have a modest start and grow into a major player. Opening in 2003 at 42,000 square feet, a series of smart decisions and two major expansions have grown the FEC into the 125,000-square-foot dynamo it is today and exploded its annual attendance from around 175,000 to 800,000.
Kelly Smiley, admissions and operations manager, said one of the ways the FEC has accomplished this is through league bowling. “While others have de-emphasized league bowling, we’ve focused on them and provide them a great experience.” Starting with 16 bowling lanes, Coconut Bowl has grown to 46 lanes of bowling, with eight more private lanes and a banquet area.
Coconut Bowl also features numerous billiards tables catering to 1,000 league players on 54 teams, two full-service bars, and over 100 arcade games. In a 2018 expansion, it moved its go-karts indoors and made them all-electric. The FEC has also put a major emphasis on birthday parties and hosts more than 1,500 of them annually, plus 500 group events.
Kane Fong, general manger of Timezone and Zone Bowling in Surfers Paradise said his FEC stripped its venue to bare concrete in 2019 and fully rebuilt the facility. He shared that the major winning components of the new facility include offering more than 300 games and attractions, glow-in-the-dark mini-golf, a vintage shooting gallery that dates back to 1981, a full-service bar and café, and Highway 66 Mini Bowling.
Fong then presented a spectacular video of the 65,000-square-foot facility created via a high-speed drone that spun through the entire operation and provided a whirlwind tour of every facet of the FEC. Kingpin in Queensland, New Zealand, features a design inspired by a ski lodge. Ron Mroz, TEEG group product manager and Harold Ortega, TEEG group technical manager, said the FEC features fireplaces and cobblestone walkways, a full kitchen, and a full-service bar. Mroz and Ortega stressed that Kingpin’s goal is to make its guests feel like they are royalty, regardless of how they choose to build their experience. Their presentation culminated in a mesmerizing video of Kingpin’s luxury entertainment operation.