The concept of “Eatertainment” has been around for some time now, and although you may not have ever heard this term, you’ve most likely been exposed to this concept at some point in the last few years. Places like Dave and Busters, and Chuck E. Cheese’s were among the original adopters of this idea, but it has developed into a tool that can increase customer loyalty and customer acquisition by offering far more avenues to experience two of human’s most common wants and needs - food and entertainment.
People enjoy experiences. Whether that be something more thrilling like skydiving or bungee jumping, or something casual like bowling or going to a movie with your friends. We are all seeking something fun that we can share with others and have an enjoyable time while doing. Eatertainment is a way to satisfy all of these wants from customers. It’s the best of both worlds so why wouldn’t it be attractive to consumers?
Now, post pandemic we are beginning to see more and more traditional bars and restaurants looking for new innovative ways to not only acquire new customers, but focus on customer loyalty and ensuring they want to come back. We’ve seen places like Top Golf where you can work on your golf game while also having a meal and a few drinks with your friends, and movie theaters that offer the ability to order full meals at your seat. We’ve also seen trends like duckpin bowling and axe throwing have become a big form of entertainment throughout parts of the country. But potentially one of the biggest areas for success in the “Eatertainment” industry could come with sports. Almost any bar or restaurant you walk into nowadays has multiple TV’s playing a sporting event. While you may not always be going to these places specifically to watch sports, people often can’t help but get drawn in.
In the US 74% of people over the age of 18 consider themselves at least a casual sports fan. Many of these people love going to watch their favorite team play at their local sports bar, so ensuring they stay entertained has become key for many bars and restaurants. Tom’s Watch Bar – originally called Tom’s Urban – was looking for new methods to focus on customer acquisition through eatertainment. They were a big proponent of the idea to give people the most possible forms of entertainment while watching sports. In an article by Danny Klein of FSR Magazine, he covers Tom’s Watch Bar and some of the steps they took to attract and retain new customers. One of the biggest issues – or challenges rather -- with sports bars, is giving people a reason to leave their house to come watch a game. Today you see plenty of people with big screen HDTVs and all the drinks and food they want without having to step out their door, so why would they leave? That’s exactly what Tom’s Watch Bar took into thought as they created a new atmosphere throughout each location. Each location has 75+ TV’s so what they did to ensure a great experience was come up with TomTV which allows consumers to personalize the content they want to watch without leaving their seat. Klein also points out, “Tom’s Urban experiments as well with live, interactive screens, like trivia, giving guests a chance to interact via mobile devices. This might grow into sports betting someday if regulations allow it, which would kick open a whole different door of possibilities''. That last part is key as well. Over the past few years sports betting has become massive throughout the US and is now legalized in over half of the US. Sports will continue to be something that American’s love to experience whether it be in person, at home or at a bar. It can be a huge selling point to customers if incorporated in a way that allows them to interact and enjoy their experience and can help businesses immensely.
It is so important for businesses to adapt and find new ways to stand out from the competition. As the country begins to open back up, it’s a chance for some restaurants and bars to reset and come up with new ways to engage their customers that they might not have thought of otherwise. Who’s willing to take a chance to stand out? What can you do to drive business? Eatertainment has become a great method to drive customer acquisition and customer loyalty to ultimately increase business. It’s something that can change the way a business operates, and it will be interesting to see the kinds of effects it may have in the coming months and years.