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Issue Date: Vol. 52, No. 5, May 2012, Posted On: 5/24/2012


Zoom, Zoom! Andretti's Uses Attractions And Promotions To Compete In Atlanta Market


Hank Schlesinger
swag@earthlink.net
amusement business, family entertainment center, FEC business, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, Roswell GA, arcade games, redemption game, amusement center, entertainment promotion, Chick-fil-A Bowl, video game, go-kart, Andretti Grill, William Weaver, Scott Harris

ROSWELL, GA -- Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is 100,000 square feet of fun laid out on a property formerly belonging to Sam's Club, to give an idea about how large it is. The Roswell, GA-based family entertainment center is about 15 miles from downtown Atlanta and draws fun-seekers from the city's surrounding upscale suburban communities.

Andretti's features two go-kart tracks, a rock-climbing wall, zip line, indoor rope course, along with a sports bar and comedy club. It also has 10,000 square feet for private events, with names like the Grand Prix Suite, Monte Carlo Room, Sky Bar and VIP Suite. The sports bar, Andretti's Grill, boasts 50 HD screens.

Andretti's Grill
Photo: Andretti Grill has a full menu, bar service and 50 TV screens for sports viewing.

The arcade has 110 games occupying 12,000 square feet of floor space. "It's a mix of action games, simulators and other attractions like Highway 66 miniature bowling," said Andretti's arcade manager Wilson Lau. "We try for a good mix of old and new games, so we also have classic videogames like Galaga and arcade perennials like Skee-Ball and Super Shot."

About half of the games in Andretti's arcade are redemption. The operation is moving to the Embed card system. What attracted Lau to Embed was its ability to generate reports that closely track inventory for the arcade's redemption center. It also has the ability to manage pricing, switching games over to "timed play" and enabling replays during promotions. Andretti's plans to sell its debit cards from its website, which is expected to cut down on lines at the location.

While redemption prizes include a limited amount of signed memorabilia from the Andretti racing family, most offerings run the gamut from penny products to high-end consumer electronics. "Our strategy is to get a wide range," said William Weaver, Andretti's operations manager. "The smallest child coming away with plush or the adult with a keychain -- everybody gets something. We keep up to date on what's popular."

The keeping-current philosophy includes a constant rotation of games. According to Weaver, games change out every six months with new titles arriving nearly as soon as they roll off the assembly line. "We were among the first to have a four-player air hockey table from Barron Games, and it's now one of our most popular games," he said.

With its go-kart tracks, arcade games and Andretti name recognition, the location would seem an easy draw in the Atlanta area. Yet the competition to grab local entertainment dollars is tough -- Six Flags Over Georgia and the Georgia Aquarium are close by -- so Andretti's runs ongoing and aggressive promotions to compete.

Andretti's

"We do a ton of promotions," said Scott Harris, Andretti's director of marketing. "One of them is the Power Hour. We identify a time of day that needs help, say in the morning, and let customers play unlimited videogames for $2 for that first hour. People line up for that."

Harris likes to get creative with promotions. Turning adult holidays into kid holidays is one example of his imagination. Take Noon Year's Eve: in this promotion, New Year's Eve is celebrated at noon for young children. "We have a countdown to noon instead of to midnight," Harris explained. "We drop balloons and give away prizes. It's become a popular annual draw -- we had about 500 kids last year.

The venue has partnered with local sports teams. It hosts a special night for college competitors in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (the annual college football bowl game played in Atlanta since December 1968). Last year it was the University of Virginia against the University of Auburn. College athletes flocked to Andretti's to unwind and test their skill off the field, as did football fans.

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is owned by a partnership of entertainment facility operators, with some involvement by the Andretti family.


Topic: Music and Games Features

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