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Thread: Your perfect bowling center?

  1. #41

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    Quote Originally Posted by fordman1 View Post
    How would you ever make any money with 36 lanes using the sports patterns? A good design is 60 lanes with 10 set aside for parties. It would be next to impossible to have enough scratch bowlers to fill that many lanes. Here in Metro Detroit the largest assn. in the USBC they can't get 150 bowlers to bowl in the open tournament. Too many really good bowlers and it cost too much for the payout. They have a few travel leagues and monthly tournaments but not much interest. Keep your Micky D's.
    I think it would work but only here. We have those who will only bowl for fun, we have those who like to keep there scores low, we have those who want impossible lane conditions. The lanes that would not have much action would be the easy lanes.
    All we have is pizza for food, so Micky D's would be good. WE do sell tons of beer tho....lol

  2. #42
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    I'm a bit partial to the old style centers which I believe are called "split houses". Rob might know the actual terminology. But, it's where the center has 20 lanes on each side and the traffic and viewing area is in the middle.

    I'd like every center to have a pro shop. It's really annoying to bowl in a center that doesn't have a pro shop.

    I think every sanctioned center should have much tighter lane condition requirements and pre-league inspections. MUCH stricter...but, that's a bigger topic for another day.

    I think every sanctioned center should have to sanction EVERY league except senior leagues and youth leagues. Maybe a requirement that 90% of adult leagues, at any given time, must be sanctioned. 25% of senior leagues if you have at least 4 running. And 25% of youth leagues if you have at least 4.

    Although I know it would be a tremendous expense, the IDEAL center would have technology that allows a bowler to choose an oil pattern. The oil machine would be beneath the pin deck. If you pick "PBA Dick Weber"...and centers could require an extra fee for this...the oil machine comes out from the pin deck, oils the pattern, then returns beneath the pin deck.

    Also, each rack needs to accomodate a minimum of 20 bowling balls. As has already been mentioned...some of these centers were designed 50 years ago when there were 3-4 person teams and everyone threw one ball. Now you got 8 balls on the rack and about 6-7 balls sitting on the floor, sitting on chairs, bags everywhere...I've seen entire seating areas where bowlers couldn't sit down because the balls were taking up the chairs.

    I'd like to see 2 areas of seating. One right off the lanes for the bowlers...and then a couple tables further back. Maybe a tri-level layout where the main traffic is at one level, then you go down a couple steps (on either side if it's a split house) and you have a viewing area, then a few more steps to get to the lanes. It's just too crowded when everyone is jammed into a tiny area...bowlers, friends/family, etc... I've seen almost as many fights break out over tables as I have over bowling.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslan View Post
    Although I know it would be a tremendous expense, the IDEAL center would have technology that allows a bowler to choose an oil pattern. The oil machine would be beneath the pin deck. If you pick "PBA Dick Weber"...and centers could require an extra fee for this...the oil machine comes out from the pin deck, oils the pattern, then returns beneath the pin deck.
    I love this, and I'd pay a lot of money to be able to practice on lanes with that capability. Honestly, I'd pay extra just to have an existing center oil my pair the way I want. Does any place actually do that?

    Also, each rack needs to accomodate a minimum of 20 bowling balls. As has already been mentioned...some of these centers were designed 50 years ago when there were 3-4 person teams and everyone threw one ball. Now you got 8 balls on the rack and about 6-7 balls sitting on the floor, sitting on chairs, bags everywhere...I've seen entire seating areas where bowlers couldn't sit down because the balls were taking up the chairs.
    Having just bowled the team event in my local association tournament, with 10 people on the pair, I couldn't agree more.

  4. #44
    High Roller vdubtx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by asimovian View Post
    I love this, and I'd pay a lot of money to be able to practice on lanes with that capability. Honestly, I'd pay extra just to have an existing center oil my pair the way I want. Does any place actually do that?
    Sure, just ask your local center. They will typically do if asked and you pay for it.
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  5. #45
    Bowling God Aslan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vdubtx View Post
    Sure, just ask your local center. They will typically do if asked and you pay for it.
    Why do I have a feeling that 49 out of 50 times you try this...the person at the counter will stare at you blankly for 2 seconds and then say, "What?"

  6. #46
    High Roller vdubtx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aslan View Post
    Why do I have a feeling that 49 out of 50 times you try this...the person at the counter will stare at you blankly for 2 seconds and then say, "What?"
    At an AMF or Bowlero center yep. Every time. LOL!!
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  7. #47

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    I have a vision in my head of what "I" think a bowling center should be like. Basically it's taking the best things about every center I've bowled in and incorporating them into one, keeping in mind the worst things about them all. After that, throw in my own brand of creativity and customization to make it my own.

    If someone came to you like my friend did to help design a bowling center and wanted you to run it. Maybe you just decided to build one of your own. How would you describe YOUR perfect bowling center? What would you add? How would you decorate it? What equipment? What would you that was different from the rest to attract people to your center? Why would people want to go there? I'm just curious to see what other people's ideas are for their dream bowling center.
    My dream bowling center would look as much as it could like a bowling alley from the fifties or sixties. The lanes, score boards, ball returns, etc. would all be modern, but the chairs, tables and decor would all be classic. The people working there would wear vintage-style bowling shirts (which are actually sold on Amazon).

    The service would be helpful and hands-on, asking newcomers if they needed help with anything rather than leaving them to figure things out on their own.

    The music would be classic rock 'n' roll, and they would turn the music on every night at 11 o'clock. If somebody didn't want music on, they could come earlier. There should be a paper out, where people could write down their song requests. And while not quite as classic, the alley should have high power blacklights, with glowing guide lines and glowing pins, every weekend night.

    The bowling alley should be open until at least 1 in the morning every day.

    They should host special events, a new one every month, to be repeated each year. These can include things like car shows, bike shows, dances, costume parties, and tournies with special guest pro bowlers whose scores at this event the other bowlers try to beat to win a patch that says they beat them.

    They should have a pro shop at the bowling alley that they open whenever it is needed, and that doesn't have crazy and very unhelpful hours like so many of them do.

    They should have an arcade room filled with over a dozen classic arcade games and pinball machines to choose from, at classic prices.

    They should have a small kitchen and food counter, where they serve things like burgers, hot dogs, pizza, fries, eggs, soup, pie, ice cream, root beer floats, soda, and coffee. A pretty waitress dressed like she worked at a fifties diner should bring the order to the table with a smile and a wink.

    They should have a suggestion box, so that those who actually bowl there can submit ideas.

    I'm not sure if any of this is logical or doable, but it sounds great to me, haha.

  8. #48
    Pin Crusher Phonetek's Avatar
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    Oh you found this old post LOL Most of what you say is doable but not all completely logical. Open until 1 am every night....meh....depends on location. In a place like Vegas that can work. A small town in BFE not gonna work. All you will get is the unsavory characters who tend to not spend money or even bowl, they sit at the bar drinking either Fireball shots or $3 Pabst Blue Ribbons. LOL All you do is sit there wishing they would leave.

    The Pro Shop hours would be another issue unless it's run exclusively by the bowling center and not a private individual and you had properly trained staff that could work to cover those shifts. That staff would have to be able to do the pro shop stuff in addition to other duties or you'd be paying them for a lot of down time sitting around waiting for customers. One of the centers I grew up in did that.

    Pinball at classic prices? That would be a no, many centers lease those machines. I doubt the person leasing them would go along with that. If they did own the machines, it's using space and in business space is money. You pay property taxes per that space so you want to make every bit count. Nostalgia is great BUT as long as it pays the bills. Otherwise you will be nostalgic about how you once owned a 50's theme bowling center that went under. LOL

    As for the other stuff, yeah it could be done because it's just a theme. Now doing song requests, hmmmm well if they are spending money at the bar leaving tips then I have no problem doing that. If not then you can get an old Wirlitzer jukebox hooked up to the stereo system they can put money in for that. Still fits the theme. The customers get their songs and the center brings in some extra money.

    That's one thing I get in trouble at work all the time for. I frequently have my phone plugged in playing music even if it's just softly. My boss complains that if we are playing music then nobody is buying songs. True, but he sits in his office all day with his radio on and is often out running errands. We have to sit out staring at the lanes for our entire shift with nothing to listen to besides screaming kids and I tend to work very long shifts. That just makes them drag by. I tell him to come out there and do what I do without any music for as long as I do it then come and tell me not to plug my phone in. That ends the conversation. LOL Not to mention, if someone DOES put money in the jukebox it will over ride my phone. The only thing that over rides people's music they paid for is the microphone. So if they want to pay for music they will pay for music either way. At least if my phone is playing they realize there is a stereo system. Play nothing they assume there isn't.

    As for the other ideas, I see no reason they couldn't work. Lastly, the service you mentioned being hands on and helpful. It SHOULD be like that anyway! To me customer service is the most important thing on your list and is every day I go to work. I chew my subordinates out if a customer is standing at the counter un-noticed because they are sitting there playing on their phone or gabbing. Anymore, the teens especially I make put their cell phones in the office when they punch in and they get them back when they leave. If it's an emergency whomever it is can call the center. Customer reviews are everything these days, standing at the counter for 10 minutes just to buy their kid a Ring Pop is 100% guaranteed to get you a bad review. Good reviews are hard to come by and you have to work hard and be outstanding to get them. Great customer service is a MUST!
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  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phonetek View Post
    Oh you found this old post LOL Most of what you say is doable but not all completely logical. Open until 1 am every night....meh....depends on location. In a place like Vegas that can work. A small town in BFE not gonna work. All you will get is the unsavory characters who tend to not spend money or even bowl, they sit at the bar drinking either Fireball shots or $3 Pabst Blue Ribbons. LOL All you do is sit there wishing they would leave.

    The Pro Shop hours would be another issue unless it's run exclusively by the bowling center and not a private individual and you had properly trained staff that could work to cover those shifts. That staff would have to be able to do the pro shop stuff in addition to other duties or you'd be paying them for a lot of down time sitting around waiting for customers. One of the centers I grew up in did that.

    Pinball at classic prices? That would be a no, many centers lease those machines. I doubt the person leasing them would go along with that. If they did own the machines, it's using space and in business space is money. You pay property taxes per that space so you want to make every bit count. Nostalgia is great BUT as long as it pays the bills. Otherwise you will be nostalgic about how you once owned a 50's theme bowling center that went under. LOL

    As for the other stuff, yeah it could be done because it's just a theme. Now doing song requests, hmmmm well if they are spending money at the bar leaving tips then I have no problem doing that. If not then you can get an old Wirlitzer jukebox hooked up to the stereo system they can put money in for that. Still fits the theme. The customers get their songs and the center brings in some extra money.

    That's one thing I get in trouble at work all the time for. I frequently have my phone plugged in playing music even if it's just softly. My boss complains that if we are playing music then nobody is buying songs. True, but he sits in his office all day with his radio on and is often out running errands. We have to sit out staring at the lanes for our entire shift with nothing to listen to besides screaming kids and I tend to work very long shifts. That just makes them drag by. I tell him to come out there and do what I do without any music for as long as I do it then come and tell me not to plug my phone in. That ends the conversation. LOL Not to mention, if someone DOES put money in the jukebox it will over ride my phone. The only thing that over rides people's music they paid for is the microphone. So if they want to pay for music they will pay for music either way. At least if my phone is playing they realize there is a stereo system. Play nothing they assume there isn't.

    As for the other ideas, I see no reason they couldn't work. Lastly, the service you mentioned being hands on and helpful. It SHOULD be like that anyway! To me customer service is the most important thing on your list and is every day I go to work. I chew my subordinates out if a customer is standing at the counter un-noticed because they are sitting there playing on their phone or gabbing. Anymore, the teens especially I make put their cell phones in the office when they punch in and they get them back when they leave. If it's an emergency whomever it is can call the center. Customer reviews are everything these days, standing at the counter for 10 minutes just to buy their kid a Ring Pop is 100% guaranteed to get you a bad review. Good reviews are hard to come by and you have to work hard and be outstanding to get them. Great customer service is a MUST!
    About the music requests, what I mentioned is actually what my bowling alley does, and it works great. It's one of my favorite things they do.

    Another favorite thing about them is that they stay open until one or two in the morning. It's actually when they are busiest, because that's when they do the music and the blacklights, at least on two days of the week. They don't have the problem you spoke of, because they don't have a bar, just food.

    I did not like the fact that when I first went bowling, nobody working there took the time to even show me how to put my name on the scoreboard, or asked me if I needed help with anything. I had never been to a bowling alley before, and while I knew the basics of bowling, I was clueless when it came to using the score machine. I had to figure it out on my own, or get help from other bowlers, who were more eager to help than the people working there. When the people working there saw I was becoming a regular, they became more helpful and friendly, but it was when I was new to it all that I could have used their help most.

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