Business Overview

A bowling alley business offers customers the equipment and facility to go bowling. Bowling alleys are great sources of entertainment for all age groups. Customers can bowl for fun or in competition through league play. The indoor locations offer activities during inclement weather, for work socials, or birthday parties.

Who is this business right for?

If you enjoy bowling, interacting with customers, and are well-versed in the business of entertainment, a bowling alley can be a great opportunity. Customers are looking for a clean, family-friendly environment, where they can find lots of entertainment options. This is just what a bowling alley can provide. Your professionalism, attention to detail, and positive personality will be a driving force in the success of the business.

What happens during a typical day at a bowling alley?

Bowling alleys are not just for bowling anymore. Most successful lanes offer expanding varieties of entertainment and food services. Therefore, day-to-day activities can include a number of tasks not entirely related to the sport of bowling, depending on the specifics of the location.

Tasks or duties can include, but are not limited to:

  • Answering and returning calls for lane rentals and party space rentals.
  • Cleaning and maintenance of rental shoes, balls, and lanes.
  • Maintaining pinsetter systems and ball return tracks.
  • Regularly contacting equipment vendors for both bowling and any other entertainment equipment, such as arcade games, pinball machines, food service, pool tables, or karaoke machines.
  • Meeting and building relations with bowling league organizers.
  • Marketing for the business and planning promotions or related business strategies
  • Organizing and inventorying bar and food supplies
  • Hiring, training, and communicating with employees to ensure great customer service and experience.

Administrative or management duties, such as paying bills, performing safety checks, ordering supplies, and calling in maintenance will also fill your days. It is advisable, once the business is up and running successfully, to hire a person specifically for managing these aspects of the business.

What is the target market?

Customers will range in age and experience level. Many will simply want to bowl, whereas some will take advantage of the various other attractions. Currently, bowling alleys are seeing a resurgence in popularity from a white-collar crowd, who want a wide range of amenities made available, including food, drinks, other arcade-style games, and even karaoke.

How does a bowling alley make money?

A bowling alley makes its money from the hourly rental fees on shoes, balls, and lanes. There can also be revenue generated from the use of other entertainment and food services. This will vary, depending on what your alley provides. Many bowling alleys also offer deals for parties or special events. Depending on the scope of your food and beverage department, this area may also generate a sizable amount of revenue.

What is the growth potential for a bowling alley?

Bowling alleys have held their popularity for decades and are still regular destinations for fun seekers. Although league bowling is not as popular as it once was, many working professionals are choosing to frequent alleys, which have numerous options for entertainment. If your alley can provide options for food and drinks as well, you will find a greater market share passing through your doors. There are also numerous franchising opportunities for bowling alley/indoor entertainment multiplexes. When a customer feels they have an all in one package for their entertainment, they will often return and pass the good word amongst their friends and colleagues. Make sure you research the levels of competition currently in play in your area.