Industry veteran Jason Mitchell recently answered a few pressing questions for Intercard’s series on getting through the coronavirus era. He gives advice on post-COVID-19 success, what amusement operators should be doing now to prepare for the return of guests and other suggestions that may improve business.
Turn Downtime Into Learning Time
By Jason Mitchell
I have spent much of my work life as an employee, manager, corporate executive and sales rep at some of the most-recognized FECs and equipment vendors in the amusement industry. I have seen a lot and I can assure you we have never experienced anything quite like the COVID-19 crisis. We are truly all in this together and we need to be there to help one another survive. As we all struggle through this difficult time, I have been getting a lot of questions from customers and partners. Below are the most frequently asked questions and the answers I have been sharing with them.
Is there any sure-fire method to ensure continued success after the COVID-19 crisis?
Sadly, my answer is “probably not.” But I do know keeping engaged with peers can be a huge help. Networking with other operators to see what they are doing and freely sharing what works, and what does not, is a great way for us to connect to steer our way out to the other side of the pandemic. Our willingness to share and support unconditionally is why I love our industry so much. Sources like the FEC channel on Slack (www.fecinternational.org) and the F2FEC NATION Facebook group are just a few ways our industry is coming together to work towards a common goal.
What should amusement operators be doing now to prepare for a return of guests to their facilities?
Make sure all game hardware and software, including your cashless technology system, is functioning optimally. Send in items that need repair or refurbishment now. Product turnaround times are at an all-time low.
Check your game card inventory and place an order if you are running low. Waiting until guests return may be too late. Card vendor delays may occur as overwhelming demand returns all at once. In other words, “Don’t hoard the toilet paper, just get a few rolls to help us get by as things return to normal.”
What suggestions can you offer that might improve a business while closed?
Education and training are paramount. Many operators only use a small percentage of what their cashless system can do. If we all take advantage of the free online training made by available by the system providers, we can change that reality now. Focus on creating memberships, collecting guest data, redemption inventory practices, game payout monitoring, data mining, and system security, just to name a few. If we do, I promise our sites will be better prepared for when business resumes.
Jason Mitchell is an amusement industry veteran who has worked at Fun Fest, Main Event and other seminal FECs. He is an Intercard sales representative for North America.