Finally, once you have completed all of the above steps and are preparing to open up for business,
Guidelines For Starting / Planning Family Entertainment Centers and Commercial Arcades
Although this document is not a comprehensive guide on how to plan or startup a new arcade
or Family Entertainment Center, it does touch on a number of important steps, points and issues
that should be recognized prior to planning a successful new Arcade / Gameroom / FEC business.
For a more in-depth information on specific consulting services we provide for larger entertainment projects, click here
Commercial Arcade Gameroom and larger Fun Centers and Family Entertainment Centers (FEC's
in industry jargon) are becoming very popular across the world, especially in growth areas such as
South America, Asia, and the Middle East, as today's increasingly hostile environment encourages
parents to seek out exciting yet safe, fun and wholesome activities for their children, along with teens
and adults seeking the latest 3D video games, sports, redemption and motion simulator games to play.
Smaller arcades under 2,500 sq. ft. are usually easy to plan, design and get up and running in a
short amount of time, with the help and assistance of one of our experienced commercial arcade
planners helping you to select the correct mix of games depending on your arcade location, space,
theme, demographics and budget. Most small arcades can be planned and launched within 4 to 16
weeks, and a good rule for budgeting purposes (for games only) is about $5,000-$7,000 per game.
The typical "standard" arcade ranges anywhere from 1,500 to 10,000 sq. ft., with a complete turnkey budget for a 2,500 - 5,000 sq. ft. facility generally running from about $250,000 to $500,000 + USD,
while Family Entertainment Centers start at 10,000 sq. ft., and can go up to 50,000 sq. ft. or more,
Of course, these are just two extreme examples of facility costs, and your costs can vary greatly, depending on the complexity and size of your facility, as well as your specific geographical location.
A "good rule of thumb" for budgeting larger arcades uses $200 to $300 / sq. ft. for turnkey costs. A
small arcade can be up and running in as little as a few weeks if the facility is already build-out and
has power, but launching a large Family Entertainment Center requires much more planning, design
and construction time to be successful, and typically takes from 6 to 12 months or more to complete.
First Off : In the beginning stages of forming a new arcade or Family Entertainment Center plan, there
are a few crucial steps that need to be completed before focusing on purchasing arcade games - The basic requirements that need to be in place before purchasing arcade games for your facility include :
1) Selecting the general location for your Arcade / FEC facility
2) Determine if you will build or lease a facility at this location
3) Obtaining zoning approval for location from your city, county or state government
4) Creating a business plan and budget for startup and ongoing operational expenses.
5) Obtaining bank, investor, private, family and/or personal financing for your facility
6) Creating the theme, design and floor plan for your facility.
7) Purchasing equipment, furnishing and games for your facility
As you can see, purchasing games is the absolute last item on this checklist. Another step not noted above is the need for a Feasibility Study for larger (10,000+ sq. ft.) facility to help in obtaining financing.
As opposed to smaller and "standard" arcades under 2,500 sq. ft. with the latest video arcade games
and prize redemption games, Family Entertainment Centers include a large ticket redemption game
component, and can also include "large format" attractions like laser tag rooms, miniature golf courses, bowling alleys, go-cart racing tracks, baseball batting cages, motion ride simulators, amusement-type "large" rides and other such major-type arcade attractions, along with extensive food and beverage operations, and takes a much longer amount of time to correctly plan, fund, order and implement.
Because an arcade or family entertainment center's success is mainly dependent on repeat local
customer visits, they are usually located near high-density residential areas, schools, malls or high
traffic retail and commercial zones. The size and location that is right for your local area depends
mainly on the population size and "market demographics" of your area, and of course your project
budget, factoring in any "competitors" currently operating in or around your geographical area.
Planning a large for-profit Arcade Game Room or Family Entertainment Center is usually not a small undertaking. There are many points to consider, and having a well-prepared business plan for your
arcade is crucial for your success. Larger FEC's that cost upwards of $1,000,000 or more should seriously consider a comprehensive Site Feasibility Study, which runs from 100-200 pages or more
and can be extremely instrumental in determining the future success and profitability of your project,
as well as being very helpful (if not a requirement) in obtaining third-party financing for your new facility The flat fee for this service runs from $10,000 to $50,000, depending on your global location and the
size and scope of your specific project, and BMI Worldwide can arrange for this study to be conducted
on your behalf by one of our partner firms who specializes in conducting these types of industry studies.
Good planning for any sized business is essential, and in the arcade gaming business there are a few basics that must be addressed upfront. Your most immediate concern, outside of your business plan
and obtaining financing, is being sure that you can get zoning approval for your facility from your local Zoning Board before you proceed. Although most cities have now relaxed the strict codes of the past
that have discouraged some arcades and family entertainment centers from operating, there are still a
few cities out there where the location of an arcade is strictly regulated, or even banned in rare cases.
Are you going to plan for a small video arcade for teenagers or adults, or a facility catering to children
and their parents like "Chuck E Cheese", or perhaps a smaller version of the "Dave & Busters" type approach to arcades, with a full restaurant and food / beverage operation catering to young and middle aged adults with liquor and food being served, or perhaps some entirely different or new concept ?
ps: Did you know that Dave & Busters spends more than $15 Million USD to build and launch each new facility in the
USA, and to get a "Chuck E Cheese" franchise requires an initial investment of about $1.5 Million USD, which does
not including real estate costs, construction costs, development fees and financing expenses ?
Once you have determined the location/size of your facility and obtained zoning approval, and have also completed your initial business plan (including all startup and construction costs, along with initial first
year operational and marketing costs), the next step is to set a "game budget" to assist you in the "floor planning" of your arcade, and then determining the proper "game mix", which will be largely dependent
on both the local demographics of your market, your marketing plan and the type of facility you want to create, with the game mix primarily being determined on the age range you are planning to appeal to -
BMI Worldwide's experts are ready and willing to assist you with these steps and more
from A to Z, to help you start your new Arcade Gameroom / Family Entertainment Center.
After completing all of the above, your final task is to actually purchasing your games and related
arcade equipment. Depending on the type and size of your arcade, this could include anything from
the actual games to prize booths for ticket redemption, back-office computer systems, plus you will
need to determine how your customers will pay for their games, either change, tokens or the newer
"card swipe" readers that eliminate the hassle of token collection and give you real-time data on the
profitability of your game mix (for arcades with at least 30 games or more). All of this will depend on
the actual size of your arcade, your budget, your theme and what games you ultimately select.
the next crucial step is getting the word out to the public. Successful marketing of your new arcade
or family entertainment center is paramount, and there are all types of marketing tools and ideas to
choose from. Among these choices, some of the most effective can be direct advertising, ie; display
ads in your local weekend entertainment guide or local newspaper, radio and cable ads, yellow page
advertising, offering discount coupons through your local print media, etc, as well as creating a high-
quality website that showcases your gameroom, or partnering with local non-profit organizations,
schools, churches, youth centers, charities, and finally, creating a high-quality brochure about your
arcade or family entertainment center, complete with pictures, driving directions and operating hours.
| Need Financing ? If you are a new or existing USA-based business and looking to finance|
your purchase, up to $100,000.00 dollars (or more), our excellent US financing partner, with
super-quick approval and easy terms specializes in approving arcade equipment financing
for both start-up firms and existing businesses alike! Click here for details + application
BMI Worldwide's Arcade / Family Entertainment Center Consultants stand read to share with you
our knowledge of current arcade industry trends and insights, along with our knowledge of the industry's
best practices and upcoming products when you are ready to build out your new entertainment facility
or upgrade your current arcade or game room location. We can provide you with thoughtful guidance
in areas such as initial site selection, space planning, interior design, prize redemption center plans,
direct / web / viral / social marketing of your business, along with some great ideas for your initial
"grand opening" and the successful ongoing promotion of your new entertainment business.
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 have obtained financing and ready to begin planning your facility, please learn more about
how BMI Worldwide can help you bring your project to life with our extensive page on facility feasibility, concept development, design and theme planning, construction, installation, food & beverage service, management / employee training and many other consulting and turnkey services and solutions here :
Click link to read : Commercial Arcade Planning, Design, Construction and Consulting
If you need personalized information about starting a project, our Initial Arcade Startup Session
can provide you with free Arcade and FEC facility startup advice, as well as answer any questions you may have in the planning of your project, via telephone or video conference via Skype, anywhere in the world, and includes up to One (1) Hour of Consultation Time with one of our startup experts for a small
deposit of $500.00 USD, which is applied as a $500 Credit toward your first order of $15,000 or more.
Click link to schedule : Initial Arcade Startup Consulting Session
* Of course, our experts are always available to offer you free telephone advice on any specific product we sell, and
of course discuss with you what we think would be the appropriate product / game choices for your new or existing facility.
Family Entertainment Centers and Arcades | Games Sales & Information Contact Information :
For more information about purchasing arcade games, or for game specifications and information,
please contact Mr. Adam Pratt in our Global FEC / Arcade Sales Department from 10:00am to 6:00pm
ET (GMT -5:00) Monday to Friday at + 1.561.910.0570 | Or anytime via our Online Sales Inquiry Form
Hablamos Español : Contacte Sr. Luis Canon en el Departamento de Ventas Latinoamericano está abierto de 9am a 6pm (GMT -5:00) Lunes-Vieres en + 1.561.288.4889 | email@example.com