Thoughts as We Close Out 2021
by Jack Guarnieri, Jersey Jack Pinball & PinballSales.com
Like Groundhog Day in February, to me it’s more or less six weeks of winter until spring. We are turning for home and some warmer weather in most of the USA while my friends “Down Under” are heading for autumn.
There is a huge demand for amusement and entertainment inside and outside the home. Many people have become accustomed to staying at home, working from there and also dining in as well. I have many friends who are very happy being at home.
I have other friends who just can’t wait to travel, go on a cruise or go to amusement parks. They are tired of staying home or close by. I guess most people fall within one of these two general groups so, the question is, how do you plan your business for this spring and summer?
Years ago when I had an FEC, I would plan for busy no matter what. Why plan for slow? It’s not in my nature to have a negative outlook. I can be realistic but still optimistic! If I plan for busy, I’m “ready” but what does that mean?
First, we must staff accordingly. Maybe its not an “all-hands-on-deck” plan but the proven amount of staff based on experience with call-in staff available to come in if it gets busier. This paragraph could take a book to write because of the challenges our industry faces with finding people to work. Obviously, proper staffing is very important because without it, you cannot run your business. Too many, and you’re burning payroll.
The next issue is supplies: food and consumable goods of all kinds. Ordering product is another critical function and again one that has been challenged in this environment.
The third issue relates to your games. What do they look like? What merchandise are they loaded with? Do they work properly? There’s so much to do every day to catch up, and then stay on top of, every aspect of the business.
Rewarding good management for a job well done is great but an incentive for ongoing operations is more important. The profit of your business is directly linked to the actions of your managers and their staff. Supervising people in-person is a very difficult job that needs to be done by interested and engaged employees who buy into your business and your vision.
If you’re running a seasonal business, I just fired the starter pistol. Get going, you’re running late! If you are running a year-round business, take another good look at EVERYTHING! Evaluate every department for past and future profitability. Look at your business as a new customer would. Get down on the floor (if you dare) and crawl around to see it from a child’s point of view.
Visit your bathrooms…not your bathroom but the ones customers use. Get on your knees and see what that all looks like. Look up at the exhaust fans, the light fixtures, the ceiling fans, the fire sprinklers…look for and clean all the dirt, dust, grime and yuk.
Go into the kitchen and look under your deep fryers. Look at your exhaust fan filters. Look everywhere and see it as something to be improved upon.
I’ve proven for years that I can see and find things many others cannot see or find. I can go to any amusement venue and find something that needs attention, even at world-class amusement parks. I once took pictures of the inside of a competitor’s candy crane that had rodent droppings and chewed candy bars.
Dedicate yourself to making your business THE BEST you can make it. Some new merchandise, some new games, fresh paint, Windex, paper towels and elbow grease go a long way.
Don’t be a director throwing orders. Get your staff together and tell them what you are going to do as a TEAM and then do it with them. They will have a new (or renewed) respect for you and for the business, the place where they will love to work and take care of happy customers.
Maybe seeing the results, you will feel energized about your business as well.
Jack Guarnieri started servicing electro-mechanical pinball machines in 1975 and has been involved in every phase of the amusement game business since then. He was an operator in NYC, then began a distributorship in 1999, PinballSales.com, selling coin-op to the consumer market. In January of 2011, he founded Jersey Jack Pinball (named after his RePlay Magazine pen name), which builds award-winning, full-featured, coin-op pinball machines. Email Jack at jack@ jerseyjackpinball.com.