Business Overview

People have been playing board games for a long time, and these games continue to be popular. In 2016, board game sales reached $9.6 billion -- and a lot of the demand was driven by millennials.

Cafes have also become popular in the past few years. Just a few decades ago, cafes were sparse and did most of their business before 10:00 a.m. Today, they’re found on many street corners, and some cafes are right across the street from each other. Additionally, the industry continues to see growth of 7 percent annually.

Board game cafe businesses capitalize on both of these trends, providing a cafe environment where people can play board games. They give people a social place to gather around a fun game. In addition to providing games, some game cafes also offer food and beverages.

Who is this business right for?

Someone who is passionate about board games and enjoys talking to people may like running a board game cafe business. Business owners need to be familiar with many different board games, and they need to be able to connect with others who like these games.

What happens during a typical day at a board game cafe?

Running a board game business involves a lot of interaction with customers. In a typical day, employees:

  • Welcome customers
  • Recommend games to customers who ask
  • Explain the gameplay and rules of new games
  • Give games to customers
  • Collect games when customers are done playing

When not interacting with customers, employees spend time organizing games and cleaning the cafe.

What is the target market?

Board game cafe businesses appeal to both children and adults. As 3 & Up explains, a cafe may see a lot of children and families during the day. In the evening, the clientele is mostly adults.

How does a board game cafe make money?

A board game cafe makes money by charging customers for playing games. As Mike Lee explains, fee structures are similar to those of bowling alleys. Customers may pay by the visit, hour or game. Many cafes also have private rooms that customers can rent out.

Like bowling alleys, board game cafes may form leagues or tournaments around specific games. Customers who participate in these pay a flat entry fee. The winner may be awarded a gift certificate or another prize that’s funded with part of the entry fees.

What is the growth potential for a board game cafe?

Most board game businesses operate just a single location. A successful business, however, could franchise and open numerous branches in other locations.