| FunFuzion FIVE GREAT ZONES OF FUN! NEW ROC CITY
– Bonnie Theard
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Five distinct amusement areas greet visitors to Funfuzion at New Roc City, a 130,000- square-foot entertainment megaplex in New Rochelle, N.Y.
At first glance it’s difficult to decide which way to go: the Fun House, Glow Mini Golf, Rack & Cue, Roc ‘n Bowl, or the Speedway.
The slogan: “Get fuzed and fall in love with fun,” comes from Michael Getlan of Amusement Consultants Ltd., a third generation amusement facility operator and author who is also a noted consultant and regular presenter at industry education workshops during events such as the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Expo and the European Amusement and Gaming (EAG) Expo.
The site of Funfuzion was once a Sports Plus location that New Roc FEC LLC acquired in 2001 and proceeded to build into Westchester County’s largest indoor family entertainment center (FEC) by gradually adding new attractions, many on a grand scale.
The Fun House alone is 65,000 square feet and contains the latest video and redemption games, rides, laser tag, a prize center, Space Shot rooftop launch (seasonal), two Max Flight virtual reality roller coaster experiences, kiddie rides, full-scale carousel, bumper cars, full service food court, and some of the birthday party areas available to visiting families and groups that can number in the thousands. Yes, the largest group can bring as many as 2,000 guests at one time.
It’s easy to see how guests become enthralled at Funfuzion and look forward to their next visit.
Rack & Cue is an upscale billiards hall with 25 Brunswick tournament-size pool tables; a private billiards room; billiard accessories available for purchase; and a snack, beer, and wine bar.
Roc ‘n Bowl features 17 AMF glow-in- the-dark bowling lanes, a DJ booth, dance floor, disco lights, air hockey and video games, and a full service bar and dining area for up to 100 guests.
The Glow Mini Golf features a multi-themed 18-hole golf experience. The Speedway offers electric go-karts that accommodate two riders who can travel a 700 linear foot track.
DEBIT CARD SYSTEM
Funfuzion is well established, and like every entertainment venue games change, prizes change, and technology makes a difference.
Getlan said that the biggest change at Funfuzion came “when we went ticket-less and adopted a debit card system from CORECashless. We’re in our second year.”
Getlan admitted that he had “always been a proponent of tickets,” adding, “but I feel that it is important to be open to change. Even though I advocated tickets for years, it was by observation of my own children, and my Uncle Ron’s grandchildren, that showed me that kids are able to process the fact that the value of the tickets is on the card and they did not need the visual reinforcement.”
He added, “Ticket-less is not necessarily the way to go in every instance, but I believe that the audience we serve is capable of making the connection. My market is 50 percent from New York City, 45 percent from Westchester County, and five percent from southern Connecticut. Guests are from affluent homes with computers and game consoles and where children have cell phones. I believe this was the right approach for these guests.”
Getlan said that one of his basic tenets of operating and consulting is “to serve your market and tailor your offerings to your audience.”
Before taking the plunge into this new system, Getlan and his family did extensive research. “I think we are very fortunate in our industry because all the debit card companies do a good job,” said Getlan. “Not every system works for every venue. My advice is to do your own research and see what best matches your requirements.”
Getlan said he would like to see more games that accommodate the new era of debit cards “because debit cards allow you to do so many things: bundle for marketing, communicate with guests, and send e-mail blasts. I was never able to do that before.”
Funfuzion also takes advantage of social media such as Facebook and redesigned its Web site to be even more user-friendly. Amusement Consultants has always been an early adopter of technology. The company was one of the first in the industry to use computers in the early 1970s.
Joe Miller, General Manager at Funfuzion, spoke about the success of the debit card system: “One of the great things about this system is it’s everywhere. It can be used for games, rides, attractions, food and beverages, and purchases at the gift showcase. Players put a selected amount on the card and can spend it anywhere in our facility.”
The only exception is for quick coin games, which are grouped together in their own zone with signage that explains how to play those games: go to a token machine with a blue light on top to get tokens, play the games using the tokens, and swipe the Funfuzion card after playing each game to have the ticket values placed on the card.
Miller said that he has had some guests tell him a redemption game must be broken because it is not giving out tickets. “When you tell them the tickets are electronically transferred to the card and our facility is ‘going green,’ a smile comes across their face and they say, ‘That’s wonderful.’”
Miller has been in the amusement industry for 33 years. He began his coin-op career at age 14 working on the boardwalks of New Jersey. Miller’s experiences there have held him in good stead during his career. “The New Jersey boardwalks provide the most unique experiences in the industry because of the range of attractions, arcades, food stands, and nightclubs,” said Miller.
SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
When asked about the most popular attractions at Funfuzion, Miller responded that the Fun House and Roc ‘n Bowl are the mainstays. He added, “Each segment within Funfuzion brings in different sets of customers. That’s what makes Funfuzion what it is—we’ve got something for everyone!”
And everyone comes. Miller said the largest number of guests in the facility at one time was 3,000! Funfuzion is conveniently located between Manhattan, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
A popular value promotion is the $100 Deal Card that includes not only the $100 of regular credits on the card but also an extra $20 worth of bonus credits, plus a soda and popcorn.
Miller said, “People are looking for value today, and this deal is a great value. It’s been a successful promotion.” He added, “The goal of any business is to increase your customer spending, and this promotion accomplishes that goal.”
The $100 Deal Card is available seven days a week. During the week there are gold, silver, and bronze packages with different levels of savings and attractions, as well as other daily specials such as Wacky Wednesday and the Monday Bowling Block.
PARTIES AND MORE
Birthday parties and group parties (corporate, church, and private) are big at Funfuzion; the facility hosts 30 to 40 birthday parties every weekend depending on the time of year. A variety of packages are available with a mix of attractions from the five different areas of Funfuzion. Miller said, “We have the flexibility to cover everything a guest might want.”
Funfuzion gives back to the community as well. For example, it recently hosted a charity event for the Starlight Foundation, which provides entertainment, education, and activities for seriously ill children in the U.S. and their families.
Miller manages a staff of 145 employees (cast members), counting full-time and part-time. Cast members get to know the guests because 80 percent of business is repeat business, and they pass on comments from guests.
Miller said “We will make changes to enhance the experience of our guests.” He added that Getlan “follows the philosophy that we do everything we can to make our guests happy, and we welcome any suggestions from them.”
Asked about any unusual happenings at Funfuzion, Miller said a guest asked to make special arrangements for a marriage proposal to his girlfriend. The couple had their first date at Funfuzion, so the guest wanted to get her something from the prize center and put the engagement ring inside. Miller said that when the guest proposed, down on one knee, everyone was taking pictures of the happy occasion.
For more information on Funfuzion, visit (www.funfuziononline.com/).