As a concept, “eatertainment” is not new.
It’s evolved from the “arcade and pizza” format of Chuck E. Cheese and Gattiland to venues that offer several activities including Pinstripes and the ever-expanding Punch Bowl Social and target adults. Eatertainment is defined as “a guest experience that involves food and/or beverage dining before, after, or during other activities.” The “eatertainment” concept emerged in the early 2000s due to the rise of the experience economy, as mostly millennial consumers prefer experiences over products. In other words, 78 percent of millennials are more likely to spend money on trips and nights out rather than material items. To this group of consumers, it’s all about capturing and creating memories from those experiences and sharing them with social networks.
Let’s Talk Demographics
As this trend continues to gain momentum, operators must consider changing consumer preferences as it concerns the success of these venues. When it comes to the priorities of adults on an impending night out, YouGov’s “The New Nightlife” report offers these survey results:
78 percent of millennials are more likely to spend money on trips and nights out rather than material items.
- 25 percent of adults have more fun at eatertainment venues that combine food and drink with activities
- 64 percent would leave an overcrowded bar or club
- 34 percent would not patronize bars or clubs without food items
- 25 percent would take dates to eatertainment venues
- 49 percent report choosing eatertainment venues for nights out with friends
Additionally, when it comes to generations, consumers are shifting from simply spending money at nightlife venues. Now, it’s more about wanting to spend money on experiences, especially when it comes to millennial consumers. According to SevenRooms, American consumers are more likely to patronize eatertainment venues for these occasions:
- Nights out with friends (62 percent)
- Birthdays (43 percent)
- Anniversaries (38 percent)
- First date (27 percent)
- Sporting event (27 percent)
- Daytime activities with children/families (20 percent)
- Work-related (19 percent)
- Bachelor/bachelorette party (19 percent)
What’s the Thing With Eatertainment?
Eatertainment has become and remains successful according to these aspects:
- The activities offer a unique novelty that attracts guests.
- Customers now crave shareable experiences. Since eatertainment environments are visually appealing, more opportunities exist for referrals.
- With the addition of activities, guests stay longer that lead to increased check sizes and money spent.
Eatertainment venues offer the combined attraction of entertainment and dining, which helps drive revenue. "It's important to create a personalized experience for customers," says the VP of the Foundation Room at the House of Blues, Victor Sutter.
It’s all about capturing and creating memories from those experiences and sharing them with social networks.
Lida Ahn, Chief Training Officer at Pinstripes credits 20 percent of sales to the gaming concept of the business. In 2018, Punch Bowl Social had an increase in sales by 34 percent, says Technomic. However, 89 percent of the company’s revenue comes from its menu. According to Food Newsfeed, although the games and entertainment attract customers, at these venues, 75 percent to 80 percent of their revenue comes from food and beverage. Therefore, something must be said for eatertainment venues offering quality menu items.
On the customer side, 21 percent of American consumers are willing to pay more at an eatertainment venue than at a traditional nighttime venue, according to a SevenRooms report. When it comes to preferred activities offered at eatertainment venues, live performances rank the highest (30 percent), then movies (15 percent). Arcade games (9 percent) and bowling rank the lowest as activities that will appeal to consumers. However, these venues can’t solely rely on fun and games. As consumers prepare for a night out, when comparing venues they consider quality food the most, while proximity to home follows immediately as the second consideration. Interestingly enough, craft alcohol selections were the lowest consumer consideration.
Considering Jumping Into Eatertainment?
If you want to offer more at your restaurant along with food and drink options, consider activities to draw customers into your establishment. Remember, your customers' priorities are not only to go out but to have a shared experience and create memories. Allow your customers to have an experience every time they visit so they return often. Need more tips?
- Add variety – When it comes to seating, for the most social setup, have regular tables, but also benches, and unique seating areas for groups.
- Add games – Not every venue needs to have a bowling alley or even arcade games. Start a little smaller with board games, ping pong tables, and the like. These are all ways to attract groups of people.
Of course, these tips encompass only a few suggestions. If you need a few more ideas or inspiration check out this article.
When it comes to eatertainment, it’s all about creating an experience as well as offering cool food and drink options on your menu. To be an eatertainment venue, a restaurant simply needs to pair activities with food, giving your patrons options for nightlife outings.