Restaurants Pass Go, Collect $200 with Board Games

BY Courtney Huckabay
Featured image for “Restaurants Pass Go, Collect $200 with Board Games”

People love to play games while noshing on their favorite snacks, so it’s no surprise that the foodservice industry has hopped onto the trend. Board game cafés and bars have been appearing in major cities, where guests can enjoy a game of Cards Against Humanity with their coffee or beer, according to FSR Magazine.

"It was only a matter of time before the industry took it one step further and combined board games with full-​service dining — so guests aren’t just grabbing a game of Exploding Kittens with their brew, but enjoying appetizers, main dishes, and desserts served right to their table while they settle in for a round of Settlers of Catan," Linda Formichelli writes in FSR.

Gaming has taken on a new connotation! Restaurants and bars could reach new customers by targeting Board Game Players! The latest AudienceSCAN survey found 13% of Americans love playing board games and/​or chess.

"The owners of these restaurants, many of whom have little previous foodservice experience, are confronted with different challenges than their café and bar brethren — and much different challenges than nontheme restaurants. They’re experimenting with ways to turn a profit when they can’t turn tables quickly, how to keep expensive games from becoming casualties of spilled beer and slopped soup, and how to train waitstaff to be fluent in both food and games."

Cafes wanting to try new theme nights could market their board game events to the game-​loving audience! They can talk about their "game masters" on staff in radio spots. The most recent AudienceSCAN study showed 49% of Board Game Players took action after hearing radio ads in the past year.

Here’s how full-​service board game restaurants are making it work:

Making Money Without Turning Tables

"The biggest conundrum board game restaurant owners face may be figuring out how to stay profitable when guests take up tables for hours at a time. Shiva Risner, co-​owner of Tabletop, reports, on average, guests stay for two to two-​and-​a-​half hours—and the longer they linger, the more they order. There’s more to profitability than table turns: Events also bring in revenue. Many board game restaurants host bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings, fundraisers, and corporate events like team-​building meetings."

Board game restaurants can promote themselves through daily deals and direct mail. The AudienceSCAN data said 39% of Board Game Players took action after getting ads/​coupons in the mail, and 26% took action after seeing daily deals in the past month.

"So far, the novel concept, plus good food and fun events, are keeping these restaurants popular — and profitable. For example, Mox Boarding House, which has two locations in the Seattle area, serves 250 to 500 covers per day at each location, and Pieces has been bringing in $25,000 more per month than Leister originally projected. Risner reports that, in its second year, Tabletop almost exactly doubled what it had brought in the year before."

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.