Eatertainment venues proved popular because they “caught on with young consumers, the millennials of their day. It had the gaming, the pool table, and the sports bar,” Tristano says.
Indeed millennials and GenXers are attracted to playing ping-pong, arcade games or bowling while waiting to eat or post-dining. “They’re exceptional multi-taskers so they can text, check social media, maintain a conversation, and play ping pong in between,” Tristano says.
Though casual dining chains Applebee’s and Ruby Tuesday’s have been struggling, eatertainment eateries are thriving because they “focus around being a destination and focus on the experience,” Tristano says. And most of these food-plus-gaming chains rely on a more upscale menu than their casual dining rivals, he points out.
In fact, menus at eatertainments appeal to millennials that prefer “grazing. They like to eat appetizers, rather than a main course. But he adds that “socializing is the driving force of these brands.”
The games may lure them in, but Tristano expects most eatertainment venues derive 75 to 80 percent of their revenue from food and beverage, and the remainder from fees for playing games.