Last week I was discussing my experience in the Family Entertainment Industry with some new employees and it really made me think about how the industry has evolved over the last 20 years. Technology has really made a difference in how Family Entertainment Centers are operated today, so for fun I am going to share some of my observations.
In the past at your redemption area, the counter would be littered with calculators, tickets and blank paper gift certificates. The paper gift certificates had to be carefully designed so that your customers (or employees!) couldn’t change a certificate from 10 tickets into 1000 tickets by just adding a couple of zeros to the certificate.
As an operator you were stuck in a position to keep the certificates easily accessible but still secure. Good luck since this was an impossible task. And if that weren't enough, you would have to keep your redemption inventory under control, too. It was just simply overwhelming the amount of time that it took to keep up with all of these silly little prizes. In addition to this you had your tokens sitting under the counter in a bucket for easy reach for your game malfunctions. By being in easy reach anyone could pick them up, and I mean anyone.
Then fast forward to today and things look much different. You won’t see any calculators; they have been replaced by wireless scanners that are connected to redemption center management software. The software will calculate the customer's remaining tickets, print them a barcoded receipt that can’t be compromised and track the inventory used during that transaction. The software can import a DPL (Digital Packing List) from major redemption companies like Redemption Plus that will update your current QOH. So now inventory control is a breeze and theft of those little spider rings is much easier to spot. And to finish the options, you can get rid of the token problem by putting in a debit card system (which brings plenty of other benefits). Everything is now completly automated.
In the past at your admissions or ticketing counter, you would hand out numbered carnival tickets or if you were lucky you had pre-printed attraction tickets. These were very hard to control. The most widely used control method was to count the attractions sold on your cash register's Z tape and compare it to the difference between your starting and ending numbers on the tickets. Then came along Point of Sale systems. The POS system can print the atttaction information on the ticket at the time of the sale. Now security isn’t controlled by the number on the ticket and it is much easier to control via the POS system. In a POS system you can have different levels of security making it is easy to keep your manager functions separated from your cashiers. For example, you might prevent your cashiers from having the ability to perform a refund. Only the employees that you want to be able to refund would have that option. One of the coolest things that I have seen lately is the possible interface between your POS system and your security camera system. So with a single push of a button you can instantly see the camera footage of any transaction that's in question. Makes it too easy to catch a thief.
Selling attraction tickets that required a waiver were a nightmare. You had no way to streamline the process. Every customer that wanted to participate had to complete a waiver. This left you with stacks upon stacks of paper that need to be organized on a daily basis. Today you have a software solution that is designed to manage this entire process. Your customers can complete waivers inhouse or online and what is really cool is that their waiver can be valid for a certain amount of time, then expire. Also the POS system won't sell the attraction until the waiver is validated at the time of the transaction.
If you’d like to learn more about how CenterEdge Software can help you manage the waiver process, give us a call at (336) 598-5934 or click below to schedule an online demo.