In the past year, Bowlmor AMF’s Mar Vista center in Los Angeles saw revenue surge 157 percent, and another one in Norwalk, Connecticut, saw a 254 percent revenue jump, helped by a gain in millennial consumers. The company is taking a cautious approach to expansion and is focusing on fixing its existing locations this year, then it plans to open a handful of new ones in 2016.
“The operators had allowed their centers to really become run down and just not appealing for the modern consumer,” Shannon said in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch. “The whole point is that so no one walks into one of our centers, turns around and leaves because it’s just not nice enough for them. We have a lot of work to do to raise the level of the product.”
One of Shannon’s biggest challenges is balancing the needs of the league bowlers, who take their sport seriously, with those of more casual players looking for a fun night with their friends or a place to throw a birthday party for their children. Shannon is also promoting professional bowling through Bowlmor AMF’s ad campaign featuring pro bowler Jason Belmonte.
“Sport bowling, league bowling has a very long tradition in the U.S., and I think that’s going to continue for many years to come,” Shannon said. “We have embraced that heartily, and we have also renovated and upgraded the user experience on the casual side to a much greater degree.”