Owner Chris Camp, shares his key takeaways from reopening Fun Fore All Family Fun Park.
As amusement facilities around the US begin to reopen, the real learning begins. We asked Chris Camp, Owner of Fun Fore All in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, to share his initial takeaways from his first week reopened to the public. In his own words, here’s what Chris had to say about what it took to reopen successfully.No. 1: Open when you're ready - and not before.
Camp: Our park is an indoor-outdoor facility that includes miniature golf, go-karts, batting cages, kiddie rides, XD Dark Ride, and Ballocity. For this first initial phase of our reopening plan, we reopened our miniature golf courses on Friday, May 22. I’d had a goal in mind and hoped to be able to open by Memorial Day, so that was great, even though we had been prepared to adjust according to our state’s guidelines and how the community was feeling.
In Pennsylvania, there are three phases, Red, Yellow, and Green. A week prior to our reopening, restrictions lifted on outdoor activities and golfing. Then on May 22, we moved into the Yellow Phase. Seeing the success of the first week of openings plus more counties moving into the second phase, helped us feel like opening would be the right choice. We didn’t have to be first. It was more important that we had the confidence that we were prepared to do it right.
No. 2: Be flexible.
Camp: We’re all learning as we go here and we have to be flexible to make changes. For example, typically our summer hours are from 10am to 11pm, but we’re currently starting off being open from 12 to 9pm. For when we fully reopen, we also changed our timed play packages. Normally we sell two, three, and four-hour packages and we’re still doing that same pricing - except we’re giving guests an extra hour at no additional cost. This is to help us manage social distancing and capacity on the courses and attractions, as well as the increased sanitization efforts. It will also help us create a time buffer to manage increased wait time at Admission counters and at our other attractions as we move into later phases.
For food and beverage, we also wanted to start with baby steps. We didn’t offer takeout service while we were closed because it wasn’t something we were really known for, and there are a lot of quick-serve options in our area. Now instead of our full menu, we opted to start with bottled beverages and individually packaged snacks - we even sold individually packaged cotton candy, which was a new offering.
Once we’re ready to expand our food service, we’ll begin by offering quick-serve items like pizza and fried foods, things that are popular, low waste, and that are easy for us to prepare while maintaining the right quality level even in carryout containers. Takeout is still the most common way for restaurants to serve guests, so we’ll take that approach. We’ll keep a close look at demand and expand our offerings as the demand grows.
We already have a pretty good idea of what people love to do at our facility because we have the data on the most popular attractions, times people are visiting, and menu items they prefer. And like with food service, as the demand grows, our offerings will grow right along with it.
No. 3: Stay in touch with your audience.
Camp: While we were closed, we knew we wanted to do something to support first responders and healthcare workers. We decided to offer a “Help Us Help Them” donation program that we did some organic promotion through Facebook and Instagram. Guests could purchase a time-play pass or Fun card for half price, and for every one purchased, we would donate a four-pack to first responders and healthcare professionals from our local hospital. We got some decent response on that and when it was over, we decided to just go ahead and donate enough four-packs for all of the local hospital’s workers - over 4,000 people. We just wanted to do something for them, and that felt right.
When we got ready to open, we emailed our audience of over 10,000 people and posted a video on social media to connect with our audience, share our excitement, and give them some insight into our new plans. It included park upgrades we’ve made, which attractions would be opening and our plan for the others, and instructions for some updated check-in and out processes. The response back to our social posts were all positive, so we felt good going into this and knowing our audience was behind us.
No. 4: Set the right expectations.
Camp: The video outlined that things were going to look different for guests. It was important to convey that we take their safety seriously, just like we’ve always done. We require our staff to wear masks and asked that when guests interact with our staff, they also wear them. Out on the course, they didn’t need to. We didn’t get any pushback on that, which was good.
Upon opening, we were ready with increased social distancing signage, our own custom floor markers for queuing at Admissions and other counters, and we positioned staff at the course entrance to manage capacity, interactions, and the sanitization of equipment. We also rerouted guest exists so that guests didn’t have to walk back to the entrance when they were finished playing. We had some new course guidelines printed on custom scorecards to remind guests of new processes while they were on their own on the courses.
When we move into the Green Phase, we’ll do some grassroots efforts with our local business partners, giving them passes in support of their staff, as well as some special offers to give out to their customers if they’d like. If this experience has taught us anything, it’s that it’s so important to stay connected to those around us.
No. 5: Continuously assess and reassess your goals.
Camp: We’re excited, but we’re prepared to take it day by day. We have goals for everything from attraction openings, revenue, food service, and operating hours. And every day, we’ll reflect on what’s working, what needs to change, and adjust our plans accordingly. But it’s good to be back.
*Photos provided by Fun Fore All.