Eatertainment refers to any combination of food service and entertainment, from Chuck E. Cheese to Topgolf. It can refer to food service at an entertainment venue, like a museum café or a food truck at a brewery, or a fully integrated food-and-entertainment concept, like Punch Bowl Social or Barcade.
Eatertainment concepts can be an all-in-one venture or a partnership between two businesses. Consider these eatertainment examples. For existing restaurant owners, exploring eatertainment could mean opening up a kiosk or food truck location within an established entertainment venue. Upward Brewing Company in New York state has a food kiosk partner at its biergarten location. Or, if you’re looking to launch a new restaurant concept, partnering with an entertainment business could provide you a built-in customer base. Ludwig’s German Table, for example, in San Jose, California, began as a museum café. Or you could launch a completely new eatertainment concept, potentially focusing either on the eat or entertainment side and looking for a partner to handle the other half of the experience.
Whether you’re interested in opening a new location, starting a partnership, or launching a whole new eatertainment empire, here are three tips for launching an eatertainment business:
Eatertainment concepts are particularly popular with Millennials and Gen Z, and these demographics don’t want to settle for the bland chicken fingers and basic burgers you might associate with concessions-style food from the 80s and 90s. Today’s young consumers want delicious, high-quality food whenever they go out. They also love to share appetizers and taste multiple items on a menu. Popular eatertainment venues, like Punch Bowl Social and Topgolf, tout their chef-driven menus and offer lots of shareable small plates.
Whether you’re focusing on the experience side or the eating side, creating a social-media-worthy experience is key. Especially if you’re one half of a partnership, make sure both halves of the equation are working together to create a total aesthetic. Think themed specialty cocktails, piled-high plates, and photo-friendly decor. Remember, your customers’ Instagrams create free marketing that will hopefully send their friends to your door.
Eatertainment venues are popular with groups—including families with young kids, groups of friends or colleagues, and events. Depending on your concept, your kitchen and your staff need to be prepared to deal with large tables, kids’ birthday parties, office happy hours, and corporate events. The challenge on the food service side, of course, is creating memorable, delicious food that can also be prepared quickly and reliably on a busy Saturday night.
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