Roller Skating Association International

Maximize Fun and Keep Revenue Flowing With Games

By Bill Freeman, Player One Amusement Group

May 28, 2020

We are in the business of family and fun. Your game area plays an important role in maintaining a positive experience for your guest. The more positive the experience the more fun they have.

The challenge is for each guest to have the most positive experience they can have. Games play an important role in the guest experience. Not every guest will play the games, however, they will see them.

Games need to be ‘show ready.” Show ready is a term used in the theme park industry to mean the show is ready. All elements in the show are ready.

From the embedded photo, you will notice that even if your guests do not play the games, the games look ready to play. All the games shown are show ready to the eyes, agreed? This is important for the positive energy influence the game area will have on your guests and their experience. 

All games on the floor need to look ready to play. That is to say, games are turned on, even if it not functioning properly. Based on revenue results, most of your guests will not play the games, however, they will see them. If the game is not functioning and can be turned on/lights on, do so and place a temporarily out of service sign over the coin/token slots. Further, just in case your guest wants to go past your temporary out of service sign, place black tape over the coin slots. The reason we are recommending over the coin slot signage is the overall show ready look is impacted by negative signage placed around the game area. A game down sign is negative energy, however, we need not advertise it to the skate-by or walk-by guest. By placing the sign on the coin slot, it will be little more discrete, but visible to the guest who may have an interest in the game. 

If you are on a card swipe system, simply out of service the individual card swipe for the game that is temporarily down. If possible, have the game on. 

We would recommend that any game that will be down for a prolonged time, be removed from the guest sight. 

For those guests who do enjoy game play, your games need to be performing properly and looking show ready. If your games are not functioning properly, or worse yet are just not working, this creates a negative experience for our guests leading to a loss of revenue. Further, a negative guest experience creates a negative ambassador for our fun centers. We work hard to have positive ambassadors for our businesses. It takes very little work to create negative ambassadors of our business. 

By definition, brand ambassador is (sometimes also called a corporate ambassador) a person who is hired by an organization or company to represent a brand in a positive light and by doing so helps to increase brand awareness and sales.

For our application, the brand ambassadors work voluntarily for us. These are the guests who frequent our fun centers and then, through word of mouth, socially sharing, voluntarily market our fun centers be it for the good or bad. The good news is that we have a direct impact on the ambassadors’ message. When we do all we reasonably can to impact our guest in a positive way, they will voluntarily become a positive ambassador.

Many of us make choices in restaurants, movies, recipes and so on based on the positive or negative experience of others. Family entertainment is not exempt to this influence.

We shared the ambassador point to say this. Your game offering to the guest falls under the ambassador influence. When your games are working properly, when your games are meeting the guests’ perceived value of game play and entertainment return, you are lending to the positive ambassador influence. 

Good Place To Start

Each game comes with its own operator’s manual. It is important to review these manual before you start making changes, adjustments or repairs to your games.

In many of the manuals you will find preventive maintenance procedures. I like to call them “prevent the maintenance procedures.” Likely, you will find routine maintenance and cleaning processes described, as well as troubleshooting process and error codes. Once you are familiar with the game you are ready to take care of it. It you are in need of game manuals, please feel free to contact me.

Prevent the Maintenance

Likely in your fun centers there is equipment that needs Preventive or Routine Maintenance e.g. HVAC, Skates, Skate Floor, Kitchen Appliances. Games are in need of the same love shown to them. Since your guest will come directly in contact with them, whether it be visually or physically. We need to insure they look Show Ready and to the best of our efforts function Show Ready. Just as skates need to roll, games need to work properly. When they do you are in position to enhance your guest experience and maximize revenue.

We would encourage you to coach each member of your Team to be familiar with how the Games Properly Look and how the Games Properly Work. Further, we would suggest you start a Daily Game Log for the games. The Game Log will be a valuable communication tool for your Team. 

Start each business day with full game look and function test. This is an important step to ensure your guest have a positive game experience. By checking games each business day, you will discover/uncover potential or existing game problems. 

Take A Close Look

Look before you start. Give your games a good visual safety inspection. Look for anything that will cause harm to your guest, e.g. broken plastic, a loose screw, potential trip hazards or any other dangerous conditions that could potentially cause an injury to your guest. This is something that each team member should be made aware of and responsible for. 

Be sure your team members are making journal entries in the daily game log. Your team will enjoy doing the game checks because they are having fun playing games. Just make sure your team members understand the reason and the method of why they are doing game checks. Game checks include everything the game does. If you are on a coin or oken system, the coin acceptors must be checked every day for proper function. 

From the daily game log, generate priority action items. It is good to have a weekly routine for game maintenance. When possible, you would want to respond as soon as possible to each game needs, preferably the same day, if possible. We recommend routine maintenance on Mondays. This allows you to recover from the weekend, troubleshoot and order parts, if needed. In many cases, parts will arrive before the weekend business. Your team can install and test the game to have it ready for weekend business.

Games Need Love Too, Clean Them

Keeping our games clean is a top priority. We would suggest using lent free microfiber cloths for your cleaning applicator. The cleaner needs to be non-ammonia based product. Ammonia is abrasive and will etch/scratch glass, plastic, lexan and Plexiglas surfaces. If you have seen swirl marks on glass or Plexiglas, that’s the effect of ammonia. Typically, you will not see this immediately, but you will after prolonged use.

All game surfaces that are guest-facing should be cleaned every business day. Further, your team members should be wiping down the games during your guest hours of business. This points directly to your positive guest experience. Believe me, the ambassadors will spread the news!  It says that your family fun center is serious about their health.

The Deeper Side of Cleaning

This type of cleaning will help prolong the life of your games. Inside the games need cleaning.  You may be thinking, if the cabinet is closed why do I need to clean inside?  Answer: all particles (dust) in the air carry a charge. Unlike charges are attracted to each other and like charges repel each other. Most electrical items have areas of either positive or negative charge. Thus, they will attract ions (dust) of the opposite charge. And that’s how the stuff gets inside the games. Dust builds up and when on components it can create heat. Heat then, over time, fatigues the component. Then, on Friday or Saturday night when the place is rocking and your revenue is flowing, your prized game goes down. 

On a monthly routine, vacuum out the inside of the game. Power down the game to do this function. Use a non-metal vacuum tool. Also, use a soft brush to help the vac to remove dust from circuit boards, power supplies, fans, etc. Power supply fans are important to clean. Power supplies most often fail due to neglect in cleaning. Make sure the fans are operating properly once you've cleaned off the dust, and change the vents and fans as needed. Make sure you inspect the inside of the game when cleaning. You are already in there, so make the best use of your time. Fix, repair, and replace what you need.

Ticket dispensers also need to be cleaned. Because you are moving a paper product at a good speed, you will have dust build up. Vacuum this area, as well. Because ticket dispensers sense when a ticket is in position, it is necessary to also blow out this area. We are talking about the ticket path here. It would be a good idea to have a small compressor with the attachments as part of your tool kit. 

Coin/token machines need special attention as this where you receive your revenue. The hoppers need cleaned monthly, as well as the dollar bill acceptors. Ticket eaters perform a dirty, dusty job. We recommend you clean them weekly.

Once your team completes the full cleaning process. Give the games the white glove treatment. Literally… put on white gloves and wipe the top of the games, the marquees, the back of games and other surfaces. When your team sees how serious you are about cleanliness, they will buy in. Make it fun!

After performing maintenance on the game, always check the game for proper full function.

Closing thoughts: when you control the games, the games don’t control you. If you ignore them, they will be demanding your attention at the most inconvenient time. Stay ahead of them on your schedule and “prevent the maintenance.”

ABC’s to Best Game Practices

A) Become familiar with your games, using the game operators manual

B) Maintain a daily game log journal

C) Make close, visual inspections of your games each business day

D) Clean the games each business day

E) Check game function each business day

F) Establish a monthly plan to prevent maintenance


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