Friday, June 19, 2009

A Hot Time In The Old Bowling Center

When I ran a bowling center, I always tried to keep the temperature at 70 degrees in the spring and summer. It's much easier to do in the fall and winter and often it was a cooler. Target the winter temp to around 65. If customers remark about the temperature, their immanent exercise will change the temp. The combination of the outside air coming in with customers and cooler starting temp will be brisk initially but the body heat (from a full house) raises the temp.

Same thing happens in the spring/summer, but the AC typically can't keep up if the center's busy. Newer centers, or centers replacing air units should upgrade the units to be able to quickly respond to the changes in summer business. At least try to keep your customers comfortable.

Have you ever been in a movie theater that was warm? NEVER. Many theaters, years ago featured COOL AIR CONDITIONED COMFORT as a big selling point (prior to widespread air conditioning). This point shows my age but is VERY valid.

The dilemma, if you don't know what to expect, as far as the business for an evening, trying to save on energy costs is sometimes hit or miss. But, if the center gets busy, and customers get warm, they leave and won't soon be back, because of the bad experience. Sacrificing future business will only make tomorrow more challenging.

Trying to save a buck, will sometimes shot you in the foot. No one saves themselves to riches. Get out and get more business. Check with your heating and air guy about the advisability of keeping the temp predetermined, or does fluctuating the temp up and down cost more?

If you are a business owner and can't afford the expense of waiting for (sometimes more profitable) open play bowlers, then build some leagues and they will help you afford the AC and heat.

Experiencing the problem? Get some signatures from your fellow bowlers, request that the air be lowered about an hour to an hour and a half before league, and cranked to whatever temp about a half hour before league ends. A defined schedule should be doable for the center, and a reasonable compromise.

Many centers have multiple zones. Have the center manager or owner agree to keep one end of the center cooler for your league. It's not necessary to cool the entire place to a workable temp for the athletes bowling.

Proprietors, many centers in my experience whine about the difficulty of creating summer bowlers, or maintaining summer league play. Yet, when they do get people to commit to visiting the center for 10, 12, 14 weeks, the temp and facilities are less then comfortable and accommodating.

I sure would like to go golfing if it was guaranteed it would rain each and every time I played. Let's go watch a movie in a building about 80 degrees. What a great idea.

If your center is not comfortable, close in the summer. Or, cut your staff and work next to the remaining over stressed, over worked employees, experience what they go through, dealing with customer complaints and dissatisfaction. You won't wonder why no one visits you in the summer. You've driven them off.

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