Family Entertainment Group

Callam WallerLucy Pilgrim
Callam Waller - Head of North American Operations Lucy Pilgrim - Deputy Head of Editorial
Family Entertainment Group Facilitating the Future of Fun
Highlights
  • Family Entertainment Group excels in providing attractions in conjunction with entertainment and resort partners, as well as owning its own facilities, bringing to the forefront everything from arcade games and escape rooms to laser tag and outdoor facilities.
  • "Whether it be a date night, a bachelorette party, escape room adventure, or a team-building axe throwing event, we want people to have fun," says George Smith, President and CEO, Family Entertainment Group.
  • Family Entertainment Group is currently planning addition of nine to 12 locations in 2024, alongside other acquisitions which could potentially double the size of the company.

Family Entertainment Group has been providing endless amounts of fun for over 20 years. President and CEO, George Smith, tells us about the company’s rapid geographical and operational expansion to bring forth a new generation of entertainment.

FACILITATING THE FUTURE OF FUN

Family Entertainment Group (FEG) has been providing fun, memories, and joy for thousands across the US since its inception in 2004 as a full-service entertainment company.

FEG excels in providing attractions in conjunction with entertainment and resort partners, as well as owning its own facilities, bringing to the forefront arcade games, escape rooms, mini golf courses, go-kart tracks, virtual reality (VR), laser tag, and more across a number of indoor and outdoor facilities that range from 17,000 to 40,000 square feet (sqft).

FEG also has its own entertainment brands, including In The Game which provides the latest games and attractions and a delicious chef-inspired menu – all in an exciting atmosphere designed for guests of all ages to enjoy.

FEG also owns Bonkers fun centers, designed with children aged 12 and under in mind. Each facility has a brightly-colored design both inside and out to welcome guests to great food, big fun, and happy smiles. They also own the Max Action Arena brand which focuses on more extreme fun with an adult vibe, featuring axe throwing, VR, and more.

From the beginning, FEG has been a key partner to some of the country’s greatest family amusement parks and resorts.

“We opened our first location in November 2004 in the beautiful city of Sandusky, Ohio, known as Castaway Bay. This was in cooperation with Cedar Fair Corporation, who recently merged with Six Flags Corporation to become the third largest theme park operator in the world,” opens President and CEO, George Smith

The company’s collaboration with industry-leading brands did not stop there, as it subsequently worked with Kalahari Resorts and Conventions, who represents some of the largest indoor water park resorts in the US. It also works closely with Great Wolf Lodges, Cedar Fair Parks, and Universal Orlando Resort Properties.

FEG is particularly proud of its food and beverage facilities, as each location features high-quality, fresh food with either a sit-down restaurant or counter service providing a wide range of offerings.

George Smith, President and CEO, Family Entertainment Group

It is important for us to create memories that last a lifetime for tourists and locals alike. Whether it be a date night, a bachelorette party, escape room adventure, or a team-building axe throwing event, we want people to have fun.

George Smith, President and CEO, Family Entertainment Group

In its totality, the company strives to curate a place where both families can have wholesome fun, and where adults can go out at the end of a long week.

“It is important for us to create memories that last a lifetime for tourists and locals alike. Whether it be a date night, a bachelorette party, escape room adventure, or a team-building axe throwing event, we want people to have fun,” emphasizes Smith. 

ENJOYMENT AND DURABILITY

Alongside its entertainment facilities and restaurants, FEG offers an added retail experience.

Approximately 80 percent of the company’s revenue is generated from retail, as a significant amount of its locations contain vibrant, well-stocked stores where people can win prizes by cashing in tickets they have won by playing arcade games and activities.

FEG’s Prize Stores offer a wide range of items from collectibles, games, novelties, and cookware to sports memorabilia and candy.

Its prize options include items that are not only trendy and current in the marketplace but also cater to all ages.

On an operational front, although many of its smaller projects go from inception to reality in a short period of time, the company’s larger, multi-faceted facilities can sometimes take years of planning as they are built from the ground up. 

As such, FEG conducts in-house design, construction, marketing, and graphics, as well as serving customer requirements across many facets of the building process.

“We have the team to create the elements that attract people, catch their eye, and make it a place that always feels fun and inviting,” highlights Smith.

Furthermore, FEG strives to cultivate long-term game play across all its products. This is secured by acquiring only the highest quality games from manufacturers around the world.

“We want to deliver a reliable product for our customers with state-of-the-art equipment. From the claw on a crane game coming down to grab a prize to making a prize wheel spin, it is our goal that the game play is seamless, making our games durable and attractive.” 

A further differentiator of FEG can be found in its distribution capabilities, as the company possesses the workforce to not only produce and buy a product, but also distribute games to entertainment facilities across the world.

STAYING AHEAD OF THE CURVE

FEG has recently implemented an integrated system in the form of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology that streamlines the tracking and operation of the company’s facilities.

This technology spans the entirety of the business, from customers’ payment methods to the wristbands used to access rides and games.

“Each wristband contains an RFID chip that starts the equipment, including arcade games, laser tag, VR experiences, and even bumper cars, which are all tied into and connected by a single system,” Smith explains.

As such, the integrated technology allows the company to maintain its operations at the most efficient level, as each facet is accounted for. For example, the merchandise team can track prize inventory, while the food and beverage team can track food deliveries.

“We can identify the status of thousands of pieces of equipment to address any issues instantaneously.”

Similarly, FEG can assess and make modifications to the food menu if need be, through the highly-precise monitoring of produce quantities to within half a percentage point, resulting in greater efficiency.

“By having better information input consistently, we’re able to refine that data by utilizing staff expertise and their extensive experience.  Overall, we can have a greater understanding of what’s going on in any given moment,” surmises Smith.

Seamless integration extends to the training of its staff, as all the company’s training systems can be found online via an internal FEG website. A single interactive data program provides guidance on a wide range of topics including HR, medical enrollment, and even providing access to information for fixing equipment.

The company has placed significant investment and effort into building the system from its foundations to create the most efficient platforms to prepare for ongoing growth. All the modules are interactive, allowing employees to add to the database to build a greater bank of knowledge and expertise.

GLOBAL INFLUENCE

FEG has a solid pipeline for expansion going forward. Plans include the addition of nine to 12 locations in 2024, alongside other acquisitions which could potentially double the size of the company.

It is particularly focusing on areas of greater population density and abundance of resources to draw upon, specifically in tourist hotspots like Florida, Texas, California, and Hawaii. FEG also has an eye on international markets, such as the UK.

“London is a great place for social entertainment, and we want to incorporate some of those elements in select US locations to cultivate more unique experiences for FEG guests.

“Although some of the entertainment itself differs, London provides some unique places for people who want to go out and have fun; we would like to offer that here,” Smith comments.

Elsewhere, the company also strives to replicate facilities in the Middle East, which has some of the most advanced family entertainment centers.

“They are often built well; due to the wealth in the region and the abundance of high-end malls. Therefore, adopting the look, feel, and finish of these facilities could be advantageous,” he adds.

By taking this approach, FEG is creating new experiences for families and fun-seekers across North America by adopting the aesthetics, functionality, and attractions of centers across the world to create the most enjoyable facility possible.

The business’ unmatched success in the sector stems from its ability to cater for a vast customer base, and its uniqueness in doing so.

“No other industry players have the geographical scope or customizable capacity that we do, thanks to the breadth of expertise and diversity found on our team,” states Smith.

For example, the company has the comprehensive capabilities to customize each location depending on geographical trends and tailor to various customer requirements.

“We’re currently building a location in downtown Las Vegas on Fremont Street, which differs from our typical facilities. We expect our audience to be happy-go-lucky people and party goers, so we’re customizing our environments and offerings to suit this new influx of people.”  

Going forward, the organization is looking to refine each department in preparation for the anticipated expansion of the company, as it hopes to double in size over the next 18 months. This involves laying the groundwork so that it has the right people in the right place, at the right time.

“I’m optimistic that we are going to have a strong sales year, which will result in even more opportunities.

“The goal is also to not only maintain our quality standards, but continue to improve them and grow as the business evolves,” concludes Smith.

FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT GROUP PARTNER

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By Callam Waller Head of North American Operations
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Callam Waller is Head of North American Operations at North America Outlook Magazine. He is responsible for showcasing leaders, c-suite executives and corporate success stories from across North America.
By Lucy Pilgrim Deputy Head of Editorial
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Lucy Pilgrim is an in-house writer for North America Outlook Magazine, where she is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.