Chat Area => General Chat => Topic started by: jjturbo on July 13, 2014, 10:21:57 AM

Title: Coin operated table business model?
Post by: jjturbo on July 13, 2014, 10:21:57 AM
I am trying to estimate income/costs of 2 tournament quality Tornado coin op. tables placed in a local bar in Highland Indiana (NW corner). I would like to purchase and place tables in a nearby existing bar to start up a Foosball league. Does anyone have tables existing in a similar set up for reference on maintenance, advertising, etc?
Title: Re: Coin operated table business model?
Post by: alaskan thunder on July 16, 2014, 03:17:43 AM
I have run a 2 table tournament for years. The best way to get quarters in the tables is through a tournament or league. Realistically unless you have a huge player base, you are not gonna get rich. Between parts, splitting quarters with the bar, and the cost of the tables it can be hard to make it a viable business. You would need to scale it up massively to make real $. IMO most people that do this, do it for the love of the game. That said I am happy to answer any specific questions you might have.
Title: Re: Coin operated table business model?
Post by: johnwallan on July 19, 2014, 09:21:49 PM
I was considering executing a coin op business plan myself, but found a profit model really diverges from the objective of having an accommodating environment, maintaining a great playing table, developing a core group of players, and fostering long term attendance.  I'm sorry if this seems like a hijack, but I think the independent vendor route too awkward these days unless you are connected with the bar.  I figure the money is made from the liquor sales and unless you own the bar you're losing money.  Besides, a busy bar usually makes for a ***ty table.

I figure the best profit margins these days will come from league organization and tournaments;  unless you put a table inside something like a highschool / college cafeteria / or college bar. Even with this said, the 10 balls at $3ea will constantly walk off, the table will be soaked in beer/pop, and the rods will be used for parallel bar practice at $35 a bend.  Factor in the time for site maintenance, ordering parts, loses due to downtime, and it all seems like a giant headache you'll lose interest in quickly.  There is an economy of scale there, but you'll never place more than a few tables in any city these days.

As an example, one of our trendy local chain bars charges $2 per game on a T3000.  The owner is actually a big foosballer but somehow the tables are in disrepair;  it totally feels like a rip off.  Apparently others agree as it usually sits unused on a Friday night pushed in the corner, 2bar all bent up, covered in beer, with shi t white balls, totally unlubricated.  At $2 a game I'm just not interested unless the table is leveled, in reasonable condition, and lubricated.

As an independant operator, I think you need to offer the bar a thristy niche group of people, and also offer foosballers a premium foosball experience;  Good people and good fun.  After much deliberation I've decided the conditions for placing my tables:

- the bar needs to be community oriented, somewhat quiet, open to billiards / sports / leagues, supportive and respectful of the table
- The table needs to be kept in good playing condition both level and stationary.  Ideally the table is adopted by the league members at that venue to provide maintenance feedback.
- it is better to place a used table and improve it rather than the opposite.
- charge a small fee for each regular returning player to attend on league night
- use the fees to pay for maintenance, ask the bar to cover significant damages or theft
- leave the table on free play, sell your old worn balls to the bar for $2
- hold league nights on Wednesday or Thursday to prep the table for the weekend and showcase the league and table to potential members.
- advertise your league everywhere, social media is the key to the current generation.

If you've taken the time to read this, you probably know more than I...  got any other suggestions???