Playmeter July 2015 : Page-34

COVER STORY Are there categories of merchan-dise that are in demand right now? Categories in high demand would be similar to our most popular prize categories: balls, plush, and electronics are all consistently on the list of our top 100 items. Is there a design team that cre-ates new toys and merchandise? PLAY METER Yes, we have a full design and graphics team in-house. Their responsi-bilities include everything from new product and package design to product photo shoots, and catalog layout. We also have a team of buyers who make frequent trips to Asia throughout the year in order to source the best new and hot items. 34 More operators have embraced redemption in recent years. What advice do you give to someone new to this part of the amusement industry? Is there a formula for redemption prize centers? I believe the reason redemption is being embraced more and more is that it makes money in a variety of types of locations. Entry into the world of redemption is being facilitated by the growing number of route operators offering a variety of different revenue share pro-grams with locations. This reduces the financial burden and risk for the owner associated with filling a game room with all of the latest games and tech-nology. While having redemption in a bowl-ing center or restaurant certainly is not a new concept, the level of importance placed on this aspect of the venue defi-nitely has. In the past I think redemption was just something there for kids to do, but the focus was on food costs, entry fees, and leagues. There has been a shift in that way of thinking that puts the redemption arcade at the forefront of the attractions. Operators are realizing that the money they invest into the redemption center, be it a hot new game or a sophisticated swipe card system, is dra-matically affecting the bottom line of their entire business. It is making the games more desir-able to play; customers are staying at the location longer; they are spending more on food and beverage; and ulti-mately it is the driving factor that is boosting their overall revenue. We do have formulae that we use when consulting with a new center or a center that has been in the business for years but is looking for a makeover. Some relate the total number of games in a center to the percentage that we feel should be ticket games. Another would be the average pay-out of the ticket games when compared to the ticket mark-ups on prizes. More JULY 2015

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