"I Love Waiting" - No One Ever
Have you ever walked into an “Entertainment” venue that has games and noticed the same thing I do nearly every time? Empty dining rooms.
Once you dodge the tumbleweeds in vacant di
Empty dining rooms mask the excitement of an entertainment venue.
ning spaces and traverse the empty function rooms, you enter a mecca filled with energy and excitement. The games space. Rows of exciting games and groups of people having fun. Arcades games, bowling lanes, and table games like billiards, ping pong, and shuffleboard. These rooms are busy with people and positive energy. They are fun and interactive. Designed to bring groups together.
Riddle me this: Why are there dining room tables in a place where people’s primary purpose is to play games? Who is “dining” at the entertainment venue? Do you go to a 5-star restaurant and expect to see people playing video games or ping pong? No. Sure it could happen, but it may not be an environment you’d fully enjoy.
Don’t get me wrong, people want to “nosh” on some food and perhaps get their money’s worth out of “cheat day”, but these unused tables become glorified waiting rooms when the game space reaches capacity. 99% of guests walk into an entertainment venue to be entertained, so why is over 40% of the space built for them to “wait”? Why wouldn’t you just put more freaking games in these oversized waiting rooms!? Why have the spaces been designed as incubators for frustration and delayed gratification?
Waiting rooms: incubators for disappointment
This hit me on a Saturday night as I watched the room start to fill up. The lanes were at capacity, the table games filled up and groups continued to walk through the doors with visions of head-to-head gaming action dancing in their heads. As they neared the front desk, they would be given the worst news of the night, usually by a young host, emotionally hardened beyond their years from consistently delivering disappointment to unsuspecting joy-seekers. “There is a wait”. You could almost feel the wind leaving their metaphorical sails in this moment. I watched as the groups would step back and talk among themselves for a few seconds as their plans changed, not letting disappointment overcome their desire to seize their rare night out with friends. Alas, they’d have to wait. They would sign up on the “waiting list”, a ledger of other once-hopeful souls relegated to an indefinite and disappointing immediate future. They would shuffle over to a high top table where the clock would start and the waiting would begin. Tick-tock, tick-tock. This hit me like a ton of Jenga bricks. Our dining spaces were more akin to DMV’s than social emporiums.
According to a Timex survey, on average Americans wait:
- 20 minutes a day for the bus or train
- 32 minutes whenever they visit a doctor
- 28 minutes in security lines whenever they travel
- 21 minutes for a significant other to get ready to go out
- 13 hours annually waiting on hold for a customer service
- 38 hours each year waiting in traffic
- 50 hours annually in traffic (for city residents)
This is about 37 billion hours each year waiting in line somewhere! Human beings spend approximately 6 months of their lives waiting in line for things or roughly 3 full days a year of queueing up. The average person spends about 43 days on hold with automated customer service in one lifetime. Those who take the bus will wait about 27 days of their lives waiting around on the platform or at the bus stop. Stop. The. Madness. The person who figures out traffic in America will likely be crowned as one of the greatest innovators of our lifetime.
Creating waiting rooms, where they don’t need to be created, is a disguised way of saying “we don’t care about your time”. Rude! Would you be on a waitlist if we built fewer dining rooms and had more gaming space? Could we have our cake and eat it too? Can we have spaces that are designed for playing games AND for noshing and imbibing with friends and family? What if we broke the mold and designed our space differently?
Enter the Cabana…
Imagine a space that you and your group can go to that has the following amenities: Comfortable semi-private seating. Your very own VIP service delivering you food, drinks, and even bottle service. What if at that space, the menu you are given allows you to choose food, drinks, and games and all are brought right to you? What if the space was designed to be the most desirable space in the whole venue and not an unwelcome, not-so-subtly forced diversion? It’s not a bunch of dining room tables pushed together. It’s not high top tables thrown in the middle of the space conveniently designed for your waiting displeasure. Imagine having a spot that is all yours that lets you go into the ocean of games and back to the “shade” of the cabana whenever you want. Imagine being able to press a button and a “connector” shows up with a silver platter menu of social games they can bring to you and your group.
The term is “Experiential Dining” and not “dine, wait, then experience”.
Although most guests haven’t caught on yet or have helplessly learned to stick it out, they instinctively know something isn’t right. They are being robbed of what they came in to do and are being told to wait (and spend) to have fun. Kenekt is designed to never have a wait for fun. Coming in for a cabana that combines all the elements of “Eatertainment” in a setting that feels more like first-class on the greatest airline in the world? No problem, no wait. Want to just stop in and head right to the ocean of retro arcade, table games, bowling, and low-tech gaming options in the Kenekt space or beer garden. We gotchu. There is NEVER A WAIT FOR FUN
. Take a look at our Kenekt Cabana rendering provided by our innovative partners at Whitlock Design Group.
Our Mission: Value Time
Time is a reflection of change. From change, our brains construct a sense of time as if it were flowing. Life is measured in moments and the older we get, the faster time seems to fly by. This is the “reminiscence bump” that is designed to hold on to “firsts” and memories that are meaningful when our brain begins to conserve its storage. This is why 10 minutes to a child feels like an eternity versus a “patient” adult who views ten minutes as nothing. The child has more storage to burn so they hold on to every second, therefore seconds feel like minutes and minutes like hours, and frustration sets in, and before you know it, they are tantruming on the floor telling the whole world they are being robbed of their time and pooped their pants to express their gratitude. Adults, however, seem to just accept patience as a virtue. That’s crap.
Time is our most precious commodity Our goal is to give shape to time.
For years we have studied our guests’ behaviors and are not satisfied that most have succumbed to waiting. Time is too precious and we have watched the powerful impact that creating positive, unexpected memories has on the loyalty that guests have for a business. If we dissect the guest flow from the moment they walk through the doors and every moment they are in the building and design the Kenekt experience around creating more positive memories, we end up with loyal, raving fans. Let’s stop working backward and creating distractions for the fact that we are robbing people of their precious time and instead deliver to them the vision they had for their time when they chose to walk through our doors. Perhaps then, we might earn their return visit a bit sooner or their recommendation to a friend to check us out.
We are no longer designing waiting rooms for our guests. We are creating a space that respects and gives shape to time. We are creating a process that allows us to bring fun to the table along with food and beverages and we no longer believe they have to be mutually exclusive. We create a system that allows us to integrate powerful moments as part of the regular operating culture and not as a reaction. Such moments should be built into the experience and not activated only when there is reactionary stimulation to do so. We will value time.
When you leave a place where you’ve spent several hours, what do you remember the most? How is it that you can spend 4 to 5 hours out with a group and sum that visit up in a few memories? How you recall that visit is referred to as the “moment of truth” for any business. Check your ego and listen carefully to this feedback and you begin to shape the experience around what the guest really wants and not what you think they want. When you truly value time, the entire design changes. Welcome to Kenekt. As long as you walk through our doors, there is never a waiting list for fun.