Eatertainment concepts aren’t really anything new, but their popularity has undeniably skyrocketed in the 21st century. With more of these venues popping up, expanding, and competing against one another, it’s more important than ever that they focus on differentiating themselves. As a company that’s focused on creating unique, audio-video experiences that make brands stand out, Control Play is highly interested in the challenges specific to this space.
Firstly, eatertainment as a concept is tricky to define. Does a bar become an eatertainment venue when it hosts a monthly comedy night? What if there’s no live entertainment, but they have two or three pool tables? Is eatertainment simply the combination of food and entertainment?
Elise Musumano of SevenRooms suggests that eatertainment can be defined as “a guest experience that involves food and/or beverage dining before, after, or during other activities.” By this interpretation, yes, a bar hosting a comedy night could technically be considered eatertainment, and playing pool certainly counts as an activity. But that’s not normally what comes to mind when the term is used in the industry.
We tend to think more of full-featured, experience-driven venues like Dave & Busters when considering what eatertainment is today. They’re recognized as pioneers of this segment, a brand that’s molded our modern definition. It’s a large venue with quality food options, many different activities to take part in, and an atmosphere that signifies all-ages fun from the moment customers walk in. While D&B might be recognized as one of the first of this segment, since the rise of the experience economy in the early 2000s, it was hardly the last.
Experiences became the new, big selling point ever since Millennials started flexing their buying power and businesses began to favor them as their target demographic. However, patrons of eatertainment venues span a huge variety of ages and demographics. Families like them because they have a bit of something for everyone, couples like them because they can have an entire date night in one location, and friend groups like them because they can choose to sit, drink, and chat or have a meal and play some games. The point is that there’s a large variety of activities that a large variety of people take part in when visiting a modern eatertainment venue.
So, the challenge then becomes in crafting the atmosphere to fit those unique guests throughout the specific dayparts in which they’re visiting. As Control Play designs dynamic music playlists for our subscribers and schedules them to fit each daypart—ensuring that they smoothly transition throughout—the work is made all the more interesting when digging deep into what makes eatertainment what it really is.
Co-founder and CEO of Control Play, Jim Juniper, recently expounded his thoughts on eatertainment concepts and why they’re an attractive challenge for our business:
“If you asked a brand like Lucky Strike, ‘Are you a sports bar, casual dining restaurant, pub or neighborhood bar?’ They would answer, ‘None of the above,’ and frankly, assume you do not understand their business.
If you were to ask Bowlero, ‘Are you a bowling center, restaurant or nightclub?’ The answer would be, ‘All of the above!’
If a theater has bowling lanes and a full-service restaurant, is it a theater, restaurant or bowling center?
This is what makes the Eatertainment segment so unique. It’s not about what it is, it’s about the demographic and day parts. They change, and the playlist should too.”
(You can read his full article by clicking here)
He really hit the nail on the head here: eatertainment venues aren’t about a definition—they’re about the guests who visit them, what times they come in, and what their expectations are.
The venues that are leading this segment successfully are ones that do everything they can to exceed the expectations of every guest that patronizes their business. As audio-video professionals, Control Play’s mission is to aid that effort by adding to, and expanding on, the guest experience.
“I believe the required unique customer experience,” Juniper says, “is achieved with the ability to build perfect, demographically targeted, audio and video playlists. There are no cookie-cutter solutions for this segment. Every playlist is as unique as the brand it serves, however, there are distinctive demographic opportunities targeted by this segment that also need to be catered to.”
And that’s exactly what each person in this company is passionate about and works tirelessly to achieve.
Curious to see just how passionate we are? We’re excited to show you what we can achieve for your business with a live demo! Click the button below to schedule a time to talk with one of our Business Development Executives: