5 Essential Features of a Family Entertainment Center Software
5 Essential Features of a Family Entertainment Center Software
Over the years, Family Entertainment Centers (FECs) have evolved to become hubs for holistic entertainment. In the past, you had to go to one venue if you wanted to play arcade games and another venue to jump on a trampoline and a food court or restaurant if you wanted a bite to eat. But modern FECs bring it all under a single roof — arcade game machines, trampolines, bowling alleys, bumper cars, kiddie rides, miniature golf, playground equipment, food, and beverages!
What’s more? FECs are the perfect place to host birthday parties and they offer something for kids of all age groups. In the last decade, the implementation of RFID technology has transformed the FEC experience with seamless cashless payments. Guests can also get memberships at FECs and make it their default option for when they want to have fun!
All this and more is possible when the right Family Entertainment Center software is in place. But with the variety of FEC solutions available in the market, it can be tricky to identify the ideal fit for your venue.
This is why we have put together this handy guide outlining the 5 essential features to look for in a Family Entertainment Center software solution. Whether you are setting up a brand new FEC or considering upgrading your current software, this guide should help you make a thoughtful decision.
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Here’s a quick outline of the 5 features — feel free to skip ahead to a specific section that grabs your attention:
1: A Variety of Self-Service Options
Self-service technologies have seen a dramatic rise in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a majority of guests choosing to avoid interactions with staff as much as possible. The shortage of staff has also driven demand for these technologies. There are 3 key self-service options that can give your guests the option to make purchases and recharges on their own:
- Online Booking Module: Guests should be able to make card purchases and recharge online with an online booking module that integrates seamlessly with your website. It’s important that this module has an easy-to-use interface with multiple payment options so that guests can make fast and secure purchases on any device of their choice.
- Mobile App for FECs: While online bookings are great, having your own app is even better! Look for a solution that includes a white-label mobile app for FECs that can be customized to your brand. The added advantage is that this app can also help you communicate with your guests with push notifications — roll out personalized offers and engage them effectively, even outside the venue!
- Self-Service Kiosks for FECs: Walkins usually bring in about 50% to 60% of the revenue for entertainment venues. To make the most of this, you can deploy self-service kiosks so that guests can make purchases and recharges all on their own. Look for an FEC kiosk that is capable of both issuing and recharging player cards or wristbands. You can also look for a redemption kiosk for your FEC if you wish to automate the ticket redemption process.
The various self-service modules must work together seamlessly and they need to be integrated with the on-site point-of-sale too, which is what we will look at next.
2: Point-of-Sale Software for Family Entertainment Centers
The second essential feature to look for is a Point of Sale software for your Family Entertainment Center that can help your cashiers bust queues by processing transactions quickly. When you’re looking for POS software, you need to ensure that it has an intuitive interface and is functionally versatile.
- Versatile functionality: The point-of-sale software should support a cashless payment system that relies on a single tag — be it RFID, barcode, or QR code. Guests will be able to use these tags for cashless payments, which we will cover in part three. Additionally, the POS should support food and beverage, as well as retail sales at your FEC.
- Intuitive interface: The FEC point-of-sale counter is usually the first place your guests go up to when they reach your venue. While your cashiers process transactions, they have the added responsibility of engaging the guests in face-to-face interaction to create a great first impression. This is why the user interface of the POS should be intuitive and easy to navigate from one screen to the next.
Apart from a counter POS, you can also consider getting a mobile POS for your Family Entertainment Center. Your staff can carry these handheld devices around the venue, helping guests with purchases or recharges wherever they are!
Monster Mini Golf, an FEC chain with 30+ locations across North America, manages its venue with the Parafait point-of-sale software. “Like many other Family Entertainment Centers, we have struggled through various frustrating Point of Sale system solutions over the last few decades,” says Christina Vitagliano, co-owner of Monster Mini Golf. “After learning of Parafait through another industry partner, we quickly discovered that they placed ethics and prompt, sincere customer service at the top of their list, and I believe, as a result of their self-pride, the Parafait system is top-notch in both technology and reliability. In addition, our franchisees are more than pleased with the lack of exorbitant and unnecessary fees.”
3: One-Tap Payments with Cashless RFID Solutions
Once guests are inside your venue, they should be able to maximize their time having fun! Dealing with cash for payments can hamper the guest experience. Fortunately, you can deploy a cashless debit card system at your FEC to enable one-tap payments. There are two components that make up this system:
- RFID Cards/Wristbands: RFID cards or wristbands allow your guests access to the venue and they can also be loaded with entitlements that guests can use to play games and engage in other activities. The key advantage here is that these entitlements are easily programmable! Operators can set an expiry date for the entitlements, create ‘happy hour’ packages, as well as other offers and upsells. Apart from RFID, these cards can also be based on barcode or QR code technology.
- Wireless RFID Card Readers: Card readers built on wireless technology can be deployed across all touchpoints at your FEC allowing your guests to simply tap their cards and play! With vibrant displays, multilingual support, and built-in audio guidance, these readers are a must-have for modern FECs.
4: Holistic Guest Experience Solutions
An FEC isn’t just a collection of games and activities, it’s the complete destination for family entertainment! With that in mind, the software solution for your FEC should include modules that help operators create a holistic guest experience.
- Party/Event Reservations: An integrated party booking software is a key part of a complete FEC solution. Guests should be able to visit your website and effortlessly book slots for birthday parties and other events. Look for the option to create combos and party packs that include food and beverage options for the party attendees. As an operator, you should be able to manage, edit, or cancel bookings with ease!
- Play Area Management: If your FEC includes a play area or trampoline park, you will need a check-in/check-out module to facilitate a smooth guest experience.
- Waiver Management: While making party bookings or before entering the play area, guests might need to sign a waiver.
- 360° CRM Solution: To help make sense of the mountain of data gathered from various touchpoints across your FEC and leverage it to create personalized experiences for guests, you need an excellent CRM for FECs. Loyalty programs, VIP memberships, and campaign management are some key components of a 360° CRM solution.
- Digital Signage: To communicate important information to your guests and to help make wayfinding easier, you need a digital signage solution for your FEC. These vibrant displays have the added advantage of adding a dash of color and a cheerful vibe to your FEC!
5: A Single Platform for Seamless Management
There is no advantage in having a feature-rich family entertainment center software if it doesn’t also make it easier for you to manage your venue. The key here is to have a single platform that gives you the right information at the right time. There are 3 components that will simplify FEC management to a great degree:
- Inventory & Recipe Management: To track the movement of stock and make sure that you never run out of the essentials, you need a comprehensive FEC inventory management system. The task of managing purchasing, receiving, and costing should become a breeze! Additionally, it helps to look for built-in recipe management as this would help you forecast future sales and streamline your purchasing, saving money in the process.
- Redemption Management: If your FEC is offering guests the option to redeem points earned for prizes, then you need a redemption management system that’s integrated with your inventory. Everything from issuing the ticket to remainder value management should be handled by this system seamlessly.
- Analytics & Reporting: Detailed analytics help you make sense of the data being generated by your venue. This is why your FEC software must include an effective data reporting tool. Reports related to sales, CRM, cash flow, inventory, etc., as well as custom reports should be available to you anywhere you are with the click of a button!
- Mobile Dashboards: Operators might not always be able to sit down in front of a desktop or laptop to pull up reports.
The Complete Family Fun Center Management Software
Modern FECs need a software solution with modules that communicate with each other seamlessly. When you have to deal with multiple vendors and spend a fortune on getting the different modules in sync, the whole process becomes very cumbersome. This is why Parafait is built from the ground up to be the complete Family Fun Center Management Software!
Deployed at 1800+ venues across 50+ countries, Parafait comes with round-the-clock support from our local offices and partners, as well as our Global Support Center.