The Oracle - Issue #3

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ISSUE <strong>#3</strong><br />

JAN 24<br />

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THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />


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- Graham Cook<br />

CEO All Star Lanes<br />

Unit 8<br />

Redhill Farm Business Park<br />

Marshacre Lane<br />

Elberton<br />

Bristol<br />

BS35 4AL<br />


YEAR!<br />

Here’s to a successful and prosperous 2024.<br />

Welcome to the third issue of <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Oracle</strong> – once again it’s packed<br />

with business building content,<br />

industry news and valuable<br />

insights from our partners.<br />

We start the year by announcing<br />

an important date for your<br />

diary! Competitive Socialising<br />

– <strong>The</strong> Power of Play returns<br />

to <strong>The</strong> Lighthouse in London’s<br />

Camberwell on on May 9th 2024.<br />

Home Leisure Direct and Inntegra<br />

are proud to announce that<br />

our industry leading event will<br />

once again provide you and your<br />

teams with a premium speaker<br />

programme, an opportunity to<br />

sample the latest in technology,<br />

gaming along with food and drink<br />

supplied by our partners; plus a<br />

new AV system!<br />

This year there’s a new element<br />

with the launch of the first ever<br />

Competitive Socialising Awards.<br />

We will be celebrating the best<br />

in the business, so check out the<br />

categories and get entering now.<br />

Like many things in our sector<br />

it’s not just about the winning but<br />

getting involved! See pages 8-9 for<br />

further details.<br />

For our first issue of the year, <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Oracle</strong> has been out and about<br />

seeing some of the amazing<br />

things this always innovative<br />

sector has to offer.<br />

We met with Rachel Lamb, the<br />

Business Development Manager<br />

at Sixes, to discuss how they go<br />

‘all out’ to offer all customers -<br />

from novice to fanatic - the best of<br />

cricket entertainment.<br />

We talk licensing with Luke Elford<br />

our advisory board member to<br />

discuss some of the challenges<br />

the sector faces – as well as how<br />

our benefits including our 24/7<br />

legal helpline is there to help ALL<br />

Gamechangers members.<br />

Plus we’ve also been to London,<br />

Bath and Iceland to check out<br />

concepts in our <strong>Oracle</strong> About<br />

Town feature.<br />

We are always on the lookout for<br />

great places to feature so if you<br />

want to see your venue highlighted<br />

in the next issue email us here<br />

oracle@gamechangers.org.uk.<br />

We can’t wait to meet you.<br />

Sharon Dickinson, Commercial<br />

Director & Content Editor<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

Editor-in-Chief<br />

Matt Eley<br />

matt@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

Commercial Director & Content Editor<br />

Sharon Dickinson<br />

sharon@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

Graphics & Design<br />

Cieran de Valmency<br />

cieran@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

This Month’s Contributors<br />

Mark Walsh, CEO & Founder, Kwizzbit<br />

Tom Brady, CEO, GigRealm<br />

Katie Jenkins, Marketing & Partnerships Director, KAM<br />

Peter Innes, Sector Marketing Manager at Brakes<br />

Luke Elford, Partner, John Gaunt & Partners<br />

Molly Davis, Head of Communications, BII<br />

Advertising Opportunities<br />

oracle@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

CEO & Founder, Gamechangers<br />

Jade Craig<br />

jade@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

Hospitality Consultant, Gamechangers<br />

Kelly Mortimer<br />

kelly@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

Gamechangers Organisation Ltd<br />

Coach House, Ryeford<br />

Stonehouse, Gloucestershire<br />

GL10 3HG<br />



How was Christmas for you? Early intel<br />

into <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> suggests that competitive<br />

socialising venues saw a strong appetite from<br />

guests to fully maximise on the joy of a festive<br />

night out.<br />

At All Star Lanes we are pleased to<br />

report LFL activity revenue growth<br />

of 4%. As if we needed more<br />

proof that competitive socialising<br />

continues to be the place to be<br />

with the greatest reach of guest<br />

engagement.<br />

Hearing such positive results from<br />

our sector is hugely encouraging,<br />

especially as this was, regrettably,<br />

not the case across the industry,<br />

with traditional restaurants<br />

reporting a LFL loss of up to 8% .<br />

With the cost of living biting this<br />

Christmas and, of course, train<br />

strikes continuing to hamper key<br />

dates, it is especially encouraging<br />

to see that guests continue to<br />

favour spending hard earned<br />

money on experiences that they<br />

cannot replicate at home.<br />

In this issue we look at changes to<br />

laws around tipping that include<br />

preventing any deductions from the<br />

amount of Tronc (monies charged<br />

as service charge) paid out to staff.<br />

We, at All Star Lanes, support the<br />

ruling and have never included<br />

a split of the tronc collection as<br />

part of a salaried team members<br />

compensation and benefits<br />

package.<br />

Notwithstanding this, I do join<br />

industry peers in disappointment<br />

that businesses will no longer be<br />

able to make deductions to recoup<br />

for legitimate administrative<br />

expenses from running a tronc<br />

scheme. <strong>The</strong>se, in my business,<br />

would include the engagement<br />

of an external tronc master,<br />

facilitation of a tronc committee<br />

and, of course, payroll and credit<br />

card commissions associated<br />

with receiving and then paying out<br />

monies from such a scheme.<br />

Running a legitimate tronc scheme<br />

will, therefore, cost businesses<br />

money moving forward, and it<br />

may be time for some companies<br />

to revisit the benefits of a scheme<br />

altogether.<br />

In this cost conscious market, the<br />

addition of a service charge does<br />

impact perceived value for money<br />

when it comes to guests ‘popping<br />

in their pin.’ Would a removal of the<br />

12.5% standard charge allow for a<br />

modest increase in prices which<br />

could, in turn, be passed onto the<br />

workforce? <strong>The</strong> obvious stumbling<br />

block here is that we are not,<br />

culturally, a nation of great tippers<br />

and removal of a scheme could<br />

cost us all dearly in our ongoing<br />

recruitment and retention efforts,<br />

if team members back pockets are<br />

impacted as a result.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> will keep a close eye on<br />

this issue and be sure to keep you<br />

in the loop.<br />


Graham Cook,<br />

Chairman of Gamechangers<br />

4<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

08<br />


Competitive<br />

Socialising Awards<br />

Be in it to win it and<br />

enter our inaugural<br />

awards<br />

21<br />


Postcards from a<br />

Competitive Crawl<br />

We enjoy all the fun of the Fairgame and<br />

bend it like Beckham at Toca Social<br />

28<br />

F&B ADVICE<br />

Thought for Food<br />

Brakes offers advice and insight on<br />

planning those spring menus<br />


10<br />

18<br />


Hit for Sixes<br />

We catch up with an operator<br />

that is truly smashing it out of<br />

the park<br />


Amplify Your<br />

Offerings<br />

GigRealm reveals how<br />

live events can bring a<br />

new dimension to your<br />

venue.<br />

24<br />


Luke Elford<br />

Licensing expert Luke Elford helps<br />

members navigate potentially choppy<br />

waters<br />

29<br />


Tips on Tips<br />

We examine how new tipping laws could<br />

impact on your business<br />

Editor’s pick!<br />

14<br />

26<br />

36<br />

16<br />


Meet KwizzBit!<br />

Fastest fingers first! We see<br />

how the traditional pub quiz is<br />

evolving<br />


Competitive<br />

Socialising <strong>The</strong><br />


Make a date in the<br />

diary for our big<br />

industry day<br />


How Gen Z Are Shaking<br />

Things Up<br />

KAM shines<br />

a light on the<br />

next generation<br />

of competitive<br />

socialisers<br />


Competitive Socialising: Road Trip<br />

How to beat the January blues<br />

38 40<br />


Game On!<br />

TNT Sports shows how live action<br />

could increase dwell time in your<br />

venue<br />

WHAT’S NEW<br />

Changing the Game<br />

<strong>The</strong> latest opening and goings on<br />

from across the sector<br />

6<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />


31ST MARCH<br />


AWARDS<br />

9TH MAY<br />


SUBMIT<br />

YOUR<br />

ENTRY<br />


<strong>The</strong> Competitive Socialising Awards aim to recognise the excellence of established and up-and-coming operators within the<br />

competitive socialising, immersive gaming & interactive leisure spaces.<br />

8<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />


Rachel Lamb, Business<br />

Development Manager at<br />

Sixes<br />

While the recent Cricket World Cup did not exactly go to plan<br />

for England, the team at Sixes Social Cricket have continued to<br />

smash it out of the park.<br />

<strong>The</strong> concept which launched just<br />

three years ago has gone from<br />

strength-to-strength. Expansion<br />

has continued across the UK and<br />

its first overseas site opened in<br />

Dallas last year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> current dozen venues in the UK<br />

will be added to. <strong>The</strong>re are plans<br />

for mobile nets to take Sixes on<br />

tour, and openings in cricket-crazy<br />

countries such as India and South<br />

Africa are expected in the near<br />

future.<br />

<strong>The</strong> pace of growth is akin to<br />

a Jofra Archer bouncer, which<br />

makes sense considering that the<br />

fast bowler, along with England<br />

skipper Ben Stokes and Ashes<br />

legend Stuart Broad are part of<br />

the 4CAST investment group that<br />

has backed the Andy Waugh and<br />

Calum Mackinnon led business.<br />

Like much of the competitive<br />

socialising sector, a large share<br />

of Sixes’ business comprises<br />

pre-bookings and corporate events<br />

and parties.<br />

Rachel Lamb, the Business<br />

Development Manager at Sixes,<br />

explains: “Competitive socialising is<br />

massively pre-booked. Our walk-in<br />

trade is not as big as a normal bar.<br />

People want to make sure they<br />

have got a slot for their game. Our<br />

weekend trade is purely social<br />

events – birthdays, families – all of<br />

our venues fill out.<br />

“We do breakfast events, meetings<br />

and conference style but corporate<br />

events are the majority of our<br />

business.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> team will do all they can to<br />

make any event idea come to life,<br />

from a birthday party enjoying a net<br />

for an hour to a group of 300 taking<br />

over an entire venue.<br />

Rachel continues: “We have a full<br />

events team and we look after<br />

bookings with a full pre-order so<br />

everything is pre-arranged, such<br />

as the game they are going to<br />

play. <strong>The</strong> guests know what they<br />

are doing. If it’s a bigger group of<br />

30-plus they’ll have a dedicated<br />

person looking after their group.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’ll be there to take orders and<br />

help with the game.<br />

“When they take over the whole<br />

venue it’s great because you can<br />

be more creative. You can have DJs<br />

and bring in external entertainment.<br />

“People can really make it their<br />

own, we can move furniture around,<br />

they can do awards or speeches. It<br />

feels so exclusive. We can pretty<br />

much do anything. In events there<br />

is no such thing as a ‘no’ and if we<br />

can make it work for you we will.”<br />


Matt Eley, Editor-in-Chief,<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

10<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

Make guest experience<br />

your competitive edge<br />

Brands with<br />

good taste<br />

Drive incremental spend by at least 30% and level<br />

up your guest experience by adding a seamless QR<br />

code mobile ordering tool into the mix.<br />

Ready to come<br />

out on top?<br />

With me&u, guests can order and pay for food<br />

and drinks without having to leave the golf course,<br />

shuffle table or karaoke booth.<br />

“me&u helps us deliver a seamless guest<br />

experience in-venue with our food and drink<br />

whilst capturing really detailed customer data<br />

that we can use in our marketing campaigns.”<br />

Ella Parkes<br />

“We have 350-400% more orders from in-game<br />

boxes than at tables... having a system that<br />

picks up those sales opportunities that we may<br />

not be able to capture makes total sense.”<br />

Matt Lawrence<br />

Scan here to see<br />

more.<br />

While the cricket game itself<br />

is naturally at the heart of the<br />

business so too is hospitality,<br />

which is a point Rachel is keen to<br />

emphasise.<br />

“That service element is so vital to<br />

what we are trying to achieve here,”<br />

she adds.<br />

“We really drill this into the team.<br />

It’s not just about the concept<br />

it’s about us and the customer<br />

service we are giving. From the<br />

moment we answer the phone we<br />

are representing Sixes. We are a<br />

fun young brand and if you are not<br />

answering the phone excited this<br />

isn’t the job for you.”<br />

It’s that kind of passion that<br />

ensures that even people who<br />

have never held a bat before will<br />

almost certainly get into the swing<br />

of things once they step inside<br />

a Sixes net. <strong>The</strong> game itself is<br />

both simple and hi-tech. From the<br />

player’s perspective they enter the<br />

net, bat in hand, and try to hit the<br />

balls that are fired at them from a<br />

machine and screen projecting a<br />

bowler running in.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are various levels to suit<br />

from beginner all the way up to<br />

world class. <strong>The</strong> recent World Cup<br />

saw Sixes introduce a new game<br />

in which players could face historic<br />

deliveries bowled by legends such<br />

as Shane Warne, James Anderson<br />

and Wasim Akram.<br />

Rachel continues: “It’s about<br />

getting involved and the good<br />

times shared. You can play in<br />

heels; you can be glammed up. It’s<br />

a laugh, it’s not serious, and it does<br />

the scoring for you.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> success of events naturally<br />

leads to further bookings with<br />

people coming back with friends<br />

and family and spreading the<br />

word across social media. It adds<br />

to Sixes own marketing strategy<br />

which includes influencers making<br />

their mark in the nets and then<br />

online.<br />

One of the latest developments for<br />

Sixes is perhaps a little leftfield.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y have partnered with Lucky<br />

Voice to launch karaoke booths at<br />

some of the venues.<br />

It means guests have even more<br />

to do, providing Sixes with another<br />

way to increase dwell time.<br />

Rachel says: “Lucky Voice is a great<br />

concept and their tech is amazing<br />

so we were happy to partner up<br />

with them.<br />

“Not everyone is always playing at<br />

the same time, people have this<br />

obsession about doing something!<br />

So we thought we would utilise the<br />

spaces that we have and add onto<br />

the Sixes experience.”<br />

It’s another string to the bow,<br />

which also includes live sport.<br />

Sixes shows cricket and other<br />

major events. <strong>The</strong> World Cup and<br />

Ashes series brought guests in and<br />

helped to keep them entertained<br />

beyond the batting.<br />

And you can bet that when people<br />

leave Sixes after an event, whether<br />

they’ve visited a karaoke booth<br />

or not, they’ll be singing 10cc’s<br />

famous tune because they won’t<br />

just like cricket, they’ll love it.<br />

Discover Sixes<br />

across the UK<br />

sixescricket.com<br />

Head of Marketing at Swingers Crazy Golf<br />

General Manager at TOCA Social, O2<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />


Home Leisure Direct and Inntegra are back with a full speaker programme<br />

and the latest in competitive socialising games and experiences for 2024!<br />

Whether you’re looking to optimise your existing competitive socialising space or to expand into the exciting<br />

world of immersive leisure, this is the place to be. Celebrating its 4th year, growing from 350 guests in 2020 to<br />

over 950 guests in 2023, this event has become a flagship event for the hospitality industry.<br />

Join us on Thursday 9th May for a day jam packed with talks, demos, epic products to play on, awards<br />

announcements, networking opportunities, live bands, DJ’s, drag acts, interactive quizzes and so much more!<br />


GET YOUR<br />


TODAY!<br />

14<br />



THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

<strong>The</strong> pub quiz, with its roots dating back to the 1970s,<br />

has faced challenges in recent years from smartphones,<br />

the internet, and changing participant preferences.<br />

However, KwizzBit saw and took an opportunity to breathe<br />

new life into one of the Great British pastimes.<br />

Chief Executive Mark Walsh<br />

founded KwizzBit in 2017<br />

MEET<br />

Established in 2017 by Mark Walsh,<br />

this innovative company has set a<br />

new standard in the hospitality<br />

sector by successfully blending<br />

classic quizzing with cutting-edge<br />

technology, utilising a cloud-based<br />

interactive quiz platform.<br />

With over 500 venues playing<br />

nationwide, KwizzBit offers a userfriendly<br />

and engaging quizzing<br />

experience. Hosts can log in,<br />

select a topic, and launch a quiz,<br />

while players join by scanning a<br />

QR code on their smartphone,<br />

before answering questions within<br />

a 20-second timer - the faster the<br />

response, the more points you win!<br />

Mark emphasises the demand<br />

for fast-paced, gameshow-style<br />

quizzing.<br />

He says: “More and more<br />

customers are seeking new<br />

experiences from their local pub,<br />

and we’ve tapped into that desire.”<br />

According to KwizzBit, venues<br />

using their platform experience<br />

a significant revenue boost, with<br />

an average increase ranging<br />

from £350 to £600 per quiz night<br />

compared to traditional pen-andpaper<br />

formats.<br />

Notably, Wednesdays, Thursdays,<br />

and Sundays are the most popular<br />

days to host a quiz - days that<br />

generally see lower footfall within<br />

the industry.<br />

“Getting people into your venue<br />

midweek can be hard, but the<br />

pub quiz is still one of the most<br />

effective weapons in your toolkit.<br />

<strong>The</strong> problem we’ve encountered<br />

is today’s technologically driven<br />

consumer isn’t excited by pen-andpaper,”<br />

adds Mark.<br />

Driving Innovation<br />

At the heart of KwizzBit’s ethos lies<br />

a belief in technological innovation<br />

to amplify the power of competitive<br />

socialising. In 2023, they launched<br />

a trio of core products to support<br />

this in Live, Leagues and Music.<br />

KwizzBit Live is a plug-andplay<br />

solution that empowers<br />

venues to host national pub quiz<br />

competitions – with monthly<br />

jackpots up to £500 – at the push<br />

of a button. Leveraging their native<br />

live streaming capabilities, KwizzBit<br />

orchestrates live quiz events from<br />

their Leeds-based studio to venues<br />

across the UK and Ireland.<br />

In a testament to this development,<br />

KwizzBit recently hosted a Live quiz<br />

for 650 Greene King venues which<br />

raised £33,000 for Macmillan<br />

Cancer Support.<br />

‘Leagues’ enables venues to<br />

accumulate player scores over a<br />

number of weeks to encourage<br />

repeat footfall. Whereas ‘Music’<br />

saw KwizzBit secure a unique<br />

licence from MCPS and PPL to<br />

incorporate audio playback into<br />

their quizzes.<br />

Mark continues: “Challenges are<br />

coming at all angles for operators<br />

right now. By developing genuinely<br />

fun and exciting features, our aim<br />

is to create new opportunities for<br />

venues that increase customer<br />

dwell time, without adding more to<br />

their full plates.”<br />

In essence, KwizzBit’s latest<br />

developments are more than<br />

technological upgrades, they’re a<br />

strategic push towards shaping<br />

competitive socialising for the local<br />

pub.<br />

Partnering with GigRealm<br />

In response to a British Beer & Pub<br />

Association’s report that 61% of<br />

venues nationwide are affected<br />

by understaffing, KwizzBit has<br />

recently unveiled its partnership<br />

with fellow Gamechangers<br />

members, GigRealm.<br />

“Attracting and keeping customers<br />

becomes increasingly difficult<br />

without the resources to serve<br />

them. This partnership aims to<br />

bridge that gap to ensure no venue<br />

gets left behind,” says Mark.<br />

KwizzBit users can access<br />

GigRealm’s online platform to<br />

discover, connect and book local<br />

quiz hosts. <strong>The</strong> platform allows<br />

venues to list advertisements,<br />

receive applications, and review<br />

them based on talent profiles<br />

which include images, videos,<br />

social media links and reviews.<br />

GigRealm Chief Executive, Tom<br />

Brady, says: “This is a fantastic<br />

initiative between two companies<br />

that have a deep understanding of<br />

the challenges faced by operators,<br />

including the growing need to<br />

provide customers with richer<br />

experiences.<br />

“GigRealm’s platform contains a<br />

huge mix of talent from traditional<br />

quizmasters to musicians and<br />

drag artists which gives venues<br />

opportunities to diversify their<br />

entertainment offering”.<br />

Check out Kwizzbit<br />

today: kwizzbit.com<br />


16<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />



GigRealm helps you give customers the show stoppers they want<br />

to keep them in your venue<br />

Creating the right vibe and<br />

atmosphere in venues is no longer<br />

an option – it’s essential to draw<br />

and retain customers.<br />

Enter live entertainment, a powerful<br />

tool in the hospitality arsenal.<br />

Research by GigRealm reveals<br />

that 78% of consumers are more<br />

likely to visit a venue if it offers live<br />

entertainment such as music and<br />

artists – with 76% willing to spend<br />

more on drinks.<br />

<strong>The</strong> impact of live entertainment<br />

on customer attraction and<br />

spending habits isn’t just a fleeting<br />

trend. Throughout 2023, operators<br />

witnessed its substantial benefits<br />

to their bottom-line. Whether it’s<br />

the charm of live bands or the<br />

allure of up-and-coming DJs, live<br />

entertainment is an integral part of<br />

a venue’s appeal and a key aspect<br />

of creating the right environment<br />

to bring customers through their<br />

doors.<br />

This shift in consumer preferences<br />

is vividly illustrated by GigRealm’s<br />

recent statistics. Live events<br />

organised through GigRealm<br />

spiked by 494% in January 2024<br />

compared to January 2023.<br />

Operators are seeing that live<br />

entertainment can be used as a<br />

standalone event, and within the<br />

competitive socialising world it can<br />

also be a fantastic tool to amplify<br />

their existing offering.<br />

In creating the right atmosphere,<br />

operators are setting the stage<br />

for an enhanced competitive<br />

socialising experience. From<br />

drag queens hosting weekend<br />

extravaganzas to resident DJs<br />

injecting high energy vibes, the<br />

possibilities are endless.<br />

<strong>The</strong> question then becomes how<br />

to easily activate this without<br />

overburdening your teams.<br />

494%<br />

increase in<br />

GigRealm usage in<br />

Jan 24 vs Jan 23<br />

76%<br />

spend more when<br />

there is live music<br />

Technology is the answer and<br />

platforms like GigRealm, automate<br />

and enable events to be scheduled<br />

and booked with ease.<br />

It takes away the worry about how<br />

to find and pay acts and alleviates<br />

the stress of figuring out how to<br />

integrate this with your existing<br />

offerings. <strong>The</strong> tech can take care<br />

of business for you.<br />

Is now the right time to blend<br />

live entertainment with your<br />

competitive socialising<br />

offerings, to ensure that<br />

every event is not just<br />

an occasion but an<br />

unforgettable<br />

experience.<br />

Want to get started on your<br />

entertainment journey?<br />

Gamechangers members have access to<br />

exclusive offers from GigRealm so you can<br />

try out the platform with peace of mind.<br />


Tom Brady, CEO for GigRealm<br />

18<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

mPay & Play<br />




EPOS & payment in one<br />

device, mPay integrates and<br />

replicates your ePos making<br />

it perfect for the competitive<br />

socialising environment.<br />

Why is it great for<br />

your customers?<br />

Served and orders delivered quickly<br />

and directly to where they are playing<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

Easy to split complex bills<br />

Can pay and order at the same time<br />

using just one device<br />

Peace of mind due to advanced<br />

security and fraud protection<br />

Why is it great for<br />

your teams?<br />

Optimises staff time – a single<br />

device for multiple operations<br />

Less time processing orders<br />

and payments – more time chatting<br />

with customers<br />

Oversight of the availability of menu<br />

items whilst with the customer<br />

To find out more contact Polaris Elements: www.polaris-elements.co.uk<br />

Tel: 0203 198 8000 Email info@polaris-elements.co.uk<br />

CRAWL<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> got fully immersed in the festive spirit and took on<br />

plenty of fun and games at venues both in the UK and overseas.<br />

December is of course renowned<br />

for socialising with colleagues,<br />

friends and family, so <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

made the most of the opportunity<br />

to visit competitive socialising<br />

venues, immersive dining and<br />

virtual technology.<br />

Fairgame, London<br />

<strong>The</strong> first stop on our international<br />

adventure: Fairgame in Canary<br />

Wharf. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> and Editor-in-<br />

Chief, Matt Eley, arrived at the<br />

adults-only playground at noon,<br />

diving into a nostalgic journey<br />

infused with modern technology.<br />

Fairgame has ingeniously<br />

transformed a vast London<br />

space into an interactive indoor<br />

fairground. Every inch of the venue<br />

is adorned with vibrant colors,<br />

strategically staged to evoke a<br />

giant nod to yesteryear. Despite the<br />

nostalgic feel, Fairgame brings the<br />

fair experience to the 21st century<br />

with digital scoring, an intuitive app,<br />

and technical enhancements.<br />

As just a group of two, Matt and<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> tried to agree this<br />

wasn’t a contest – merely two<br />

colleagues enjoying leisurely time.<br />

This, of course, didn’t last long.<br />

<strong>The</strong> gloves were off as soon as<br />

the pelting of milk cartons, cereal<br />

bowls and tins of beans began with<br />

Pantry Pandemonium.<br />

<strong>The</strong> heat was on. By the time the<br />

pair had tackled Circus Freak,<br />

<strong>Oracle</strong> favourite Gopher Broke, and<br />

Final Furlong they felt like they had<br />

been through a full body workout.<br />

While absorbed in their<br />

non-competitive facade, the duo<br />

almost missed the other groups of<br />

10 to 15 players ready to compete<br />

for teddy bear prizes. Realising it<br />

was time to retire, they explored<br />

Fairgame’s street food, perusing<br />

the digital leaderboards and<br />

proudly sharing their triumph over<br />

‘Phoney Island.’<br />

Fairgame is truly ‘all the fun of<br />

the fair’ with a modern party<br />

atmospheric twist and technology<br />

fuelled competitiveness. It’s the<br />

perfect place to have good old<br />

fashioned fun.<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

Reykjavik<br />

Toca Social, London<br />

Toca Social at the O2, London,<br />

was the natural choice for football<br />

enthusiast <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> to transition<br />

from fan to baller. This interactive<br />

football experience caters to all<br />

skill levels, with enticing, innovative<br />

games that keep you kicking all the<br />

way through.<br />

Accompanied by a lively entourage<br />

of would-be Premier League<br />

players, the group excelled at<br />

Striker. <strong>The</strong>y clearly channelled<br />

their inner Beckhams, delivering<br />

precise shots at targets and<br />

scoring point after point.<br />

Meanwhile, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> faced off<br />

against a zombie horde in the<br />

fast-paced ‘Zombie Attack’ game,<br />

frantically kicking as many balls as<br />

possible to fend off the oncoming<br />

undead army. <strong>The</strong> primary goal<br />

was survival, and by the end, the<br />

team had worked up quite the<br />

appetite for American-style food.<br />

Bath<br />

Humbug, London<br />

London<br />

Amongst the graffiti and grime of<br />

Waterloo’s Leake Street railway<br />

arches, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> sought out the<br />

dingy, festive dive bar known as<br />

Humbug — website designed by<br />

Gamechangers. Nothing outside<br />

the venue indicated what awaited<br />

within, but from the first step<br />

inside, the group were instantly<br />

immersed in the glitz and glamour<br />

of Christmas.<br />

<strong>The</strong> group were welcomed by a<br />

surly bartender. He whined about<br />

Father Christmas having been<br />

drinking the bar dry for months<br />

in a sort of ‘festive depression’.<br />

<strong>The</strong> group pledged to help Santa<br />

rediscover his holiday spirit before<br />

being escorted to a cosy ski lodgethemed<br />

booth with ambient lights<br />

and ‘mountain’ views.<br />

Shortly after ordering food<br />

and drinks, a frantic mailman,<br />

having lost Santa’s letters during<br />

a drunken blackout, sought<br />

their assistance to save his job.<br />

Meanwhile, Father Christmas<br />

swaggered around in a leather<br />

Santa suit, resembling a rockstar<br />

who just downed a bottle of JD.<br />

To lift Santa’s mood, the group<br />

joined a venue-wide pass-theparcel<br />

game before indulging in a<br />

mouth-watering Christmas dinner<br />

wrap and a signature Grinch<br />

cocktail. Festive spirit soared with<br />

more party games, leading to an<br />

audience with Santa in<br />

his ‘grotto,’ where he<br />

pondered the meaning of<br />

his hard work.<br />

As the live band set the<br />

party in motion, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

wondered: Is Christmas<br />

really just about the kids?<br />

Bath On Ice & Glow<br />

Golf, Bath<br />

Accompanied by a skilled<br />

skier and a golfer, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

quickly stumbled upon Bath<br />

on Ice in Somerset. <strong>The</strong> Mogul<br />

Bar, resembling a ski lodge in<br />

the Austrian mountains, offered<br />

the group a welcome warm-up<br />

with rum-infused hot chocolate<br />

before they ventured onto the ice.<br />

Considering they spent a long time<br />

clinging to the rails amidst Torvill<br />

and Deans wannabe, the group<br />

thoroughly enjoyed the experience.<br />

Glow Golf next with <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

a complete novice and the odds<br />

stacked against winning – but<br />

never assume that a good golfer<br />

will excel against an above-average<br />

mini-golfer.<br />

Each hole presented tunnels, paths<br />

of lights, unexpected corners,<br />

and a brightly lit cup! With<br />

determination and a surprising<br />

amount of beginner’s luck, <strong>The</strong><br />

<strong>Oracle</strong> skillfully manoeuvred<br />

the neon ball through all 18<br />

holes, smashing, grabbing, and<br />

knocking their way to victory.<br />

<strong>The</strong> lesson? Anyone can do it!<br />

Auroroa Reykyjavik,<br />

Iceland<br />

In full festive spirit, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

jetted off to Iceland in pursuit of<br />

the Northern Lights and to explore<br />

Reykjavik’s social scene. While the<br />

UK leads in competitive socialising,<br />

it’s interesting to discover how other<br />

regions embrace these concepts.<br />

Darts, pool, snooker, and escape<br />

rooms are a regular fixture in town,<br />

offering a more traditional approach<br />

to a gaming night out. With only<br />

three days in Iceland, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

opted for a cutting-edge virtual<br />

tour to explore the entire country<br />

and its captivating landscape.<br />

In a thrilling 10-minute experience,<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> enjoyed a remarkably<br />

realistic flight across Iceland’s<br />

four corners, showcasing its<br />

natural beauty. <strong>The</strong> lightweight<br />

and comfortable tech, paired<br />

with 360 swivel egg chairs,<br />

provided a magical, lifelike, and<br />

breathtaking whirlwind tour of<br />

places they wouldn’t have time<br />

to see otherwise, enhancing the<br />

visit. Or maybe it’s a clever way of<br />

encouraging further visits!<br />

Want to be<br />

showcased next?<br />

Get in touch today:<br />

oracle@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

22<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

As well as being a partner at law<br />

firm John Gaunt & Partners, and<br />

a member of the Gamechangers<br />

advisory board, Luke is one of<br />

the team that mans our legal and<br />

licensing advice helpline.<br />

<strong>The</strong> service is available 24-hours a<br />

day for members – it has already<br />

helped one company save around<br />

£150,000 in legal fees.<br />

Luke explains: “I man the 24-hour<br />

helpline which is one of our offers<br />

to members. <strong>The</strong>y come through to<br />

us and we can signpost them in the<br />

right direction.<br />

Luke Elford, Partner at John Gaunt & Partners<br />

Licensing Solictors<br />

If you ever find yourself with a<br />

licensing conundrum there’s a<br />

good chance you could end up<br />

getting advice from Luke Elford.<br />

“If it is a licensing query that<br />

they want help with they get a<br />

significant discount on our fees,<br />

and that covers the entirety of<br />

England, Wales and Scotland.”<br />

After starting his career as a<br />

solicitor for a local authority Luke<br />

moved to the private sector to<br />

specialise in licensing and has<br />

never looked back.<br />

He began at Jeffrey Green Russell<br />

before moving onto roles at TLT,<br />

Woods Whur and since 2022 John<br />

Gaunt & Partners.<br />

In the last few years he has been<br />

heavily involved in the explosion<br />

of competitive socialising venues<br />

across the UK – helping brands<br />

such as Flight Club and Electric<br />

Shuffle secure licences.<br />

He explains: “I have watched and<br />

have been a part of the evolution<br />

of competitive social venues and<br />

social entertainment.<br />

“It’s a really interesting space to be<br />

in. I love the different things that<br />

people come up with. Any activity<br />

there is, people are thinking ‘how<br />

can I turn this into a competitive<br />

socialising venue?’”<br />

With the sector being new and<br />

innovative it means licensing also<br />

requires a specialist eye.<br />

Luke continues: “Everything is<br />

slightly different and because<br />

they’re different they require a<br />

bit of a bespoke approach to the<br />

licensing of them.<br />

“That attracts me because you are<br />

really thinking about what you are<br />

putting into the license to make<br />

sure it fits the venue.<br />

“Some of the larger venues in<br />

experiential leisure require huge<br />

amounts of space. We worked on<br />

a railway arch under London Bridge<br />

being transformed into an Electric<br />

Shuffle.”<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are of course barriers to<br />

overcome, some of which can<br />

be challenging especially when<br />

dealing with new concepts.<br />

“Invariably competitive socialising<br />

venues want to be in among the<br />

cut and thrust of where things are,<br />

which are typically where councils<br />

have said we don’t want any more<br />

venues. You have to find your way<br />

through the local authority policy.<br />

“Sometimes if something is brand<br />

new, you have to explain that it’s<br />

going to be a fantastic concept but<br />

we can’t quite tell you what it is yet!<br />

“You also might get objections<br />

from people who don’t really<br />

understand what you are going to<br />

do.”<br />

And he is very happy to provide<br />

that expert help to Gamechangers<br />

members.<br />

“I was really pleased to see<br />

Gamechangers develop.<br />

“ I am involved<br />

with various trade<br />

organisations<br />

but competitive<br />

socialising is<br />

so niche that it<br />

needs someone<br />

representing its very<br />

specific interests.“<br />

“In terms of Gamechangers<br />

members I can help with legal<br />

advice around what’s required to<br />

set up a competitive socialising<br />

venue especially around the<br />

licensing side of things and advise<br />

on the whole piece. I love seeing<br />

these new concepts or takes on<br />

existing concepts come to fruition.”<br />

Luke jokes that competitive<br />

socialising is a good fit for him<br />

personally and professionally.<br />

“As a lawyer being competitive is<br />

in my nature! It’s just nice to get<br />

together and see the various things<br />

that are on offer. It’s a great sector<br />

to be involved in.<br />

“I want to see new venues<br />

succeed and people achieve the<br />

best licences possible,” he adds.<br />

“Licensing as a sector is becoming<br />

increasingly difficult with more and<br />

more hurdles being put in the way<br />

of the applicants.<br />

“What I would say, is if you are<br />

looking to start something new<br />

or move into a new town make<br />

sure you take advice at an early<br />

stage. It can save you running into<br />

problems further down the line<br />

and can ultimately save you good<br />

amounts of money in terms of fees<br />

and failed applications.”<br />

Need help understanding how<br />

the latest legislation affects<br />

your business?<br />

Gamechangers members receive access to<br />

a free 24 hour legal & licensing helpline. Join<br />

today to save time, money and headaches!<br />


24<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />




Just who is this ‘Generation Z’ (aka Gen Z) that we see referred<br />

to across all multitudes of press, social media and more these<br />

days?<br />

And what the heck have<br />

those pesky kids been up to<br />

now, I hear you ask?<br />

Gen Z includes those born in<br />

1997 to 2011 – or close to – and<br />

represents the latest defined<br />

generation to be independently<br />

spending in the hospitality sector,<br />

following on from Millennials,<br />

Gen X and Boomers. <strong>The</strong> oldest<br />

are now in their late twenties<br />

so fully working, socialising<br />

and experiencing life and all its<br />

challenges and excitements.<br />

KAM have been researching Gen<br />

Z (aged 18+) over the last four<br />

years to understand their drinking<br />

and socialising habits. Every year,<br />

the number of Gen Z spending in<br />

hospitality is growing – and many<br />

are not even 18 yet, therefore,<br />

familiarising yourself with how Gen<br />

Z think and act will give you a head<br />

start to winning their spend.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’re seeking activities<br />

and experiences<br />

A typical Gen Z will visit a<br />

hospitality venue five times a<br />

month, with this visit frequency<br />

having risen 5% since 2021.<br />

<strong>The</strong>ir preferred venue ‘type’ is<br />

casual dining, with quick services<br />

restaurants and pubs following<br />

closely behind – but the real draw<br />

for this generation is Competitive<br />

Socialising venues – playing<br />

‘games’ whilst drinking (or not….<br />

more on that later…) and eating<br />

with friends and family. <strong>The</strong> main<br />

drive to going out is not as ‘alcoholcentred’<br />

as previous generations,<br />

it really is more about the activity<br />

and experience.<br />

In fact, 82% of Gen Z over the age<br />

of 18 have visited a competitive<br />

socialising venue in the last 12<br />

months — with 53% visiting this<br />

type of venue more than they did<br />

12 months ago (vs only 9% across<br />

all other age groups).<br />

Drinking habits are changing<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’re also a discerning bunch,<br />

with 57% rating ‘range of drinks’<br />

important to them – this was the<br />

second highest importance after<br />

quality of food, which perhaps<br />

also shows that the quality as well<br />

as the range generally is of high<br />

importance.<br />

In terms of the range of drinks,<br />

this is where we need to be<br />

Katie Jenkins, Marketing &<br />

Partnerships Director of KAM<br />

mindful of what they want to drink.<br />

Over 60% (50% in all other ages<br />

groups) said they were looking to<br />

moderate their alcohol intake vs<br />

the previous year, and 30% (25% in<br />

other age groups) said they were<br />

drinking more ‘low and no’ drinks<br />

vs the previous year.<br />

This is perhaps why the ‘range<br />

of drinks’ highlighted above is so<br />

important. We hear regularly in<br />

our research that choosing ‘not to<br />

drink’ doesn’t mean just wanting a<br />

Diet Coke – but wanting access to<br />

a range of low and no beers, spirits<br />

and mocktails.<br />

Alongside the low and no range<br />

requirements of this generation,<br />

we also found<br />

that Gen Z value<br />

the quality of the<br />

drinks serve,<br />

with 21% more<br />

saying this is<br />

important to<br />

them than<br />

all other age<br />

groups.<br />

Social media has significant<br />

influence on their choices<br />

Other important considerations<br />

when looking to attract<br />

this generation are how<br />

they are influenced to try<br />

drinks, and how you may<br />

want to consider talking to<br />

them.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y listen to ......<br />

recommendations from<br />

friends and family first and<br />

foremost. This is ahead of<br />

looking at online reviews,<br />

including viewing social<br />

media profiles and looking<br />

at / listening to what social<br />

media influencers have to<br />

say online.<br />

Social media does still play<br />

a big part – with Instagram<br />

the top platform of choice<br />

(50% of Gen Z will use Insta first<br />

and foremost), ahead of TikTok and<br />

emails both at 22%. Interesting that<br />

email is certainly not dead...<br />

Loyalty<br />

I think this will be the big buzz word<br />

of 2024 as venues (and brands)<br />

look to encourage customers to<br />

visit.<br />

Whether this loyalty is driven and<br />

measured through frequency<br />

of visit, spend per head, clicks<br />

and engagements, or driven by<br />

loyalty card and apps, it all adds<br />

up to a happy, frequently spending<br />

customer who will hopefully then<br />

recommend your brand to others.<br />

In summary, whilst some of Gen<br />

Z are still to come of age, they are<br />

not an age group to be ignored.<br />

<strong>The</strong> best news activity-led,<br />

Competitive Socialising venues are<br />

an increasingly important part of<br />

their Hospitality spend.<br />

In need of sector reporting<br />

that fits your business needs?<br />

Gamechangers members benefit from a ‘free<br />

competitive socialising customer deep dive’ session<br />

with KAM Insights.<br />

Join Today<br />


26<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />


F&B ADVICE<br />


Now is the perfect time to be thinking about refreshing your menu for the spring/summer season. Here are tips to help you create an amazing menu that fits in with your business.<br />


Understand the preferences of your target audience and design your menu accordingly.<br />


As customers become more informed and interested in food, it becomes more integral to their<br />

social occasions. Expectations on variety, quality and sustainability are increasing, while their meal<br />

occasions are becoming more informal.<br />


Have a look at the trends in customer behaviours – beyond just flavour trends, which are affecting<br />

the way they make decisions about what to choose when eating out of home.<br />


Avoid overwhelming your customers with too many options. Instead, focus on a few signature dishes<br />

that you can be renowned for.<br />


<strong>The</strong> trend in street food plays into this in a great way as the simple menu, easy preparation and<br />

authentic dishes excite customers.<br />


Simplicity also makes it easier to cross train your team.<br />


Easy to assemble component-based dishes, using part prepared items mean that with little<br />

preparation you can get great dishes to your customers in a few simple steps.<br />

Peter Innes, Sector Marketing<br />

Manager at Brakes<br />


Buying high quality, fresh, and seasonal means<br />

you can use more of the ingredient when it is at<br />

its best. This will help to create dishes that are<br />

both delicious and more sustainable.<br />


With high quality fresh ingredients and a little<br />

knowledge, you can ensure that you use up<br />

different parts of your ingredient for different<br />

dishes on the menu.<br />


What about “ribs” made from cauliflower stalks<br />

or frying the leaves for a great crispy garnish?<br />


Less waste is better for the environment and for<br />

your profit margins.<br />


Use clear typography with crisp legible lettering, laid<br />

out clearly so it is easy to read and understand.<br />


In the fast-paced, active world of competitive<br />

socialising, having simple easy to read menus is<br />

more important than ever.<br />


When naming dishes ensure that the name or the<br />

description let the customers know exactly what<br />

they will be ordering so that there on no surprises<br />

other than the delicious flavours!<br />


Experiment with new flavours and combinations<br />

to create your signature dishes that your team<br />

are proud to serve and allow you to stand out<br />

from the competition.<br />


Looking at some of the latest flavour and cuisine<br />

trends, it is clear that consumers are open to<br />

experimenting with flavours and cuisines in a<br />

less defined way.<br />


What is important is a level of credibility and<br />

authenticity in whatever you choose to put on<br />

your menu. So do a little research and find the<br />

flavour and dish combinations that work for<br />

you, and that your team are excited and proud<br />

to serve.<br />







We hope these tips help you create a menu that is focused on wowing your customers and bringing them back for more. If you need further assistance visit brake.co.uk.<br />

28<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

TIPS FOR 2024?<br />

HERE’S ONE:<br />





May probably seems quite a long<br />

while away, yeah? It’s going to roll<br />

around quicker than you think and<br />

with it comes a new law that will<br />

make it illegal for venues to withhold<br />

tips or gratuities from staff<br />

<strong>The</strong> Employment (Allocation of<br />

Tips) Act 2023 (“the Tipping Act”)<br />

was signed into the statute books<br />

in May 2023 and one whole year<br />

later, it comes into force.<br />

What the Tipping Act actually does<br />

is amend the Employment Rights<br />

Act 1996 so that employers are<br />

now required to:<br />

Pass on all tips and<br />

service charges to workers<br />

without deductions,<br />

except in very limited<br />

circumstances, such as the<br />

deduction of income tax.<br />

Ensure that all tips<br />

are distributed in a fair<br />

and transparent manner<br />

when the employer takes<br />

control, or exerts significant<br />

influence, over their<br />

distribution.<br />

Have regard to the<br />

Government’s code of<br />

practice on tipping.<br />

Maintain a written policy<br />

on how tips are dealt with<br />

at their place of business,<br />

and ensure the policy is<br />

made available to all their<br />

workers.<br />

Maintain a record of all<br />

tips paid at their place of<br />

business and their allocation<br />

and distribution between<br />

each worker, to which<br />

workers have the right to<br />

request access.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Government estimates that<br />

more than £200 million a year will<br />

be returned to workers by virtue<br />

of their retaining tips that would<br />

otherwise be withheld from them.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y are describing it as the<br />

biggest shake up to the industry for<br />

some time.<br />

Luke Elford, Partner at John<br />

Gaunt & Partners Licensing<br />

Solictors<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

Need help understanding how the latest legislation affects your business?<br />

Gamechangers members receive access to a free 24 hour legal & licensing helpline. Join today to save time, money and headaches!<br />

Join Today<br />

So what does this all<br />

mean?<br />

First, venues will be required<br />

to share all tips, gratuities, and<br />

service charges with staff without<br />

deductions being made. This<br />

applies to “qualifying tips.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> key factor in determining<br />

whether a tip is a qualifying tip is<br />

whether the employer received<br />

the tip (in the case of employerreceived<br />

tips) or exercises<br />

significant influence over (in the<br />

case of worker-received tips) the<br />

distribution of tips.<br />

Not all tips fall under the scope of<br />

the Tipping Act. If, for example, a<br />

worker receives a cash tip, with no<br />

employer control or involvement,<br />

then that tip is not a qualifying tip<br />

and is outside of the scope of the<br />

legislation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Government recently<br />

published (15 December 2023) a<br />

draft code of practice on fair and<br />

transparent distribution of tips<br />

(“the Draft Code”).<br />

Another issue that<br />

venues will need<br />

to watch out for is<br />

“fairness.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> Draft Code makes it clear that<br />

“fairness” does not necessarily<br />

require employers to allocate tips<br />

equally in the same proportion to<br />

all workers and acknowledges that<br />

there may be legitimate reasons<br />

why employers might choose to<br />

allocate different workers different<br />

proportions of tips. <strong>The</strong> Draft Code<br />

gives an example of some of the<br />

factors that might come into play<br />

when making such a decision:<br />

Type of role or work,<br />

for example distribution<br />

between front of house and<br />

back of house workers<br />

Basic pay (and how<br />

workers are engaged)<br />

Individual and/or team<br />

performance<br />

Seniority or level of<br />

responsibility<br />

Length of service<br />

Customer intent<br />

<strong>The</strong> Draft Code suggests<br />

employers should consult with<br />

workers to seek “broad agreement”<br />

that the system of allocation of tips<br />

is fair, reasonable, and clear. <strong>The</strong><br />

Draft Code (unfortunately) doesn’t<br />

give any guidance as to how that<br />

consultation should take place,<br />

save that larger organisations may<br />

need to consider whether there is<br />

a legal or contractual requirement<br />

to engage in formal collective<br />

consultation e.g. with a trade union.<br />

Second, venues will need to keep<br />

records of how tips are allocated.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se records will need to be kept<br />

for at least three years and staff will<br />

be able to request copies. Copies<br />

of allocation records will need to<br />

be provided within four weeks of a<br />

request being received.<br />

Third, venues will need to put in<br />

writing their policy for allocating<br />

tips. That policy will need to set<br />

out how tips are managed and<br />

allocated. <strong>The</strong> purpose of the<br />

policies will be to ensure that staff<br />

know how tips are managed, up<br />

front, and in a transparent way.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are a couple<br />

of other key aspects<br />

of the legislation:<br />

Venues will no longer<br />

be able to deduct the cost<br />

of processing tips from the<br />

monies provided to staff. This<br />

means that if you use a thirdparty<br />

to process tips, the<br />

third parties’ costs will need<br />

to be borne by the business,<br />

not staff.<br />

Businesses will no longer<br />

be permitted to pool tips<br />

across venues. If this is<br />

something you do currently,<br />

arrangements will need to<br />

be made to change this.<br />

And what happens<br />

if we get it wrong, I<br />

hear you ask?<br />

Staff members will be able to<br />

make claims to the Employment<br />

Tribunal. A claim can be made<br />

at any point up to 12 months<br />

after a failure to comply with the<br />

legislation. Failures to comply<br />

with the legislation could have<br />

both financial and reputational<br />

consequences for venues.<br />

Perhaps as important as the<br />

financial consequences, are the<br />

reputational ones. Customers<br />

may well be dissuaded from<br />

using a business that has been<br />

found not to be acting in a fair<br />

and transparent manner with its<br />

staff when it comes to tips. A<br />

social media pile on over a tipping<br />

scandal isn’t going to be high on<br />

anyone’s list of wants for 2024.<br />

<strong>The</strong> good news is, there is still time<br />

for businesses to get their houses<br />

in order. <strong>The</strong> first step is to look at<br />

your current practices and consider<br />

whether they will fall foul of the<br />

new legislation come May 2024.<br />

When making this assessment,<br />

make sure you consider the Draft<br />

Code. Whilst there may be changes<br />

to the Draft Code, these are unlikely<br />

to affect the overall tenor of the<br />

document.<br />

Venues making changes to<br />

existing arrangements would be<br />

well-served speaking to staff as<br />

soon as possible and explaining<br />

what changes are being made<br />

and why. <strong>The</strong> policy mentioned<br />

above will also need to be drafted,<br />

signed-off, and communicated to<br />

management staff.<br />

<strong>The</strong> key message is<br />

that you need to be<br />

preparing now.<br />

<strong>The</strong> last thing we want is for any<br />

Gamechangers member to get<br />

caught out come May.<br />

Luke Elford is a Partner at John Gaunt & Partners<br />

specialising in licensing, and provides updates on legal &<br />

licensing information by writing regularly for <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

Luke can be contacted at lelford@john-gaunt.co.uk<br />

32<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

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THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />




“ You could be<br />

reaching a whole<br />

new audience<br />

by collaborating<br />

with other local<br />

businesses and<br />

tempting them<br />

into your sites “<br />

From quirky Brooklyn bars to<br />

undiscovered B&Bs, the power<br />

of social media and particularly<br />

recommendations from others<br />

on various platforms, meant that I<br />

stumbled on a place with its own<br />

private pool and hot tub, sleeping<br />

12, ALL en-suite, with more<br />

amenities than you could shake a<br />

stick at. And guess what? It had 16<br />

Xbox controllers, multiple screens<br />

for game play, a Pac-Man arcade<br />

machine, as well as pool, foosball<br />

and air hockey tables. Three nights<br />

away, and all this, just for a few<br />

quid more than a spa day! Girls just<br />

wanna have fun it would seem…<br />

Clever accommodation providers<br />

are cashing in on the competitive<br />

socialising boom, meaning you can<br />

spend a whole weekend tucked<br />

away, playing games with friends<br />

and families.<br />

Did we just stay in though? No – we<br />

visited two local towns, because<br />

we had budget to spend on DOING<br />

things. If there had been a cvenue<br />

nearby, we would 100% have gone.<br />

As it was, we supported the local<br />

pubs and restaurants, knowing<br />

that we could afford to splurge a<br />

little and cook for ourselves that<br />

evening.<br />

Whenever I go away with my<br />

husband, we actively look for areas<br />

with things to entertain us – you<br />

can find food and drink venues in<br />

most places, but not necessarily<br />

places to play, and that is exactly<br />

what we wanted.<br />

When you have been married for<br />

20 years (good grief we are getting<br />

on a bit!) you need to DO things<br />

together that don’t involve talking<br />

about the kids, deciding which<br />

colour to paint the bathroom or<br />

whose turn it is to take the cat<br />

for his jabs. For us, games cafes,<br />

escape rooms, pubs and bars<br />

with games, quizzes and more are<br />

exactly what we look for.<br />

But larger groups are looking for<br />

the same thing. Karaoke rooms,<br />

mini golf with cocktails, go karts<br />

– you name it, they want it. Hen<br />

and stag dos, sure, but a group of<br />

middle-aged mums with money<br />

to spend should also definitely be<br />

your target market.<br />

No matter where you are, find out<br />

about the Airbnbs or group houses<br />

for rent in your local area – do a<br />

deal with them! Offer discount<br />

codes on leaflets left in the kitchen,<br />

or better yet, get them to plug your<br />

venue in the booking confirmation<br />

email. Follow them on social media<br />

and comment when people say<br />

they are staying with them.<br />

<strong>The</strong> house we stayed in offered<br />

us a private chef, cocktail making<br />

experience, pottery making<br />

classes and more. You could be<br />

reaching a whole new audience<br />

by collaborating with other local<br />

businesses and tempting them into<br />

your sites.<br />


January – cold, dark, dank and depressing… in the UK at least! It<br />

is my least favourite time of year, and I am not alone there.<br />

For years now, I have been trying<br />

to keep the January blues at bay –<br />

for a start, I DON’T do Dry January.<br />

In fact, I try to do as much as I can<br />

to make it a month to look forward<br />

to. In recent years that has meant<br />

a spa day with girlfriends, but this<br />

year we went all out and booked<br />

a whole weekend away. January<br />

pay day is always 1,000 days away<br />

when you get back to your desk<br />

after Christmas, but when you plan<br />

ahead, you can pay for January fun<br />

well in advance!<br />

TikTok has gifted me many things<br />

in the last year. Besides the usual<br />

poor mental health from endless<br />

scrolling through utter nonsense, it<br />

has also provided some incredible<br />

tips and hidden gems that have<br />

made my recent hospitality<br />

experiences brilliant.<br />

Molly Davis, Head of<br />

Communications for BII<br />

36<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />

Advertorial<br />



WITH TNT<br />

SPORTS<br />

We catch-up with<br />

Gamechangers supplier<br />

member TNT Sports to find<br />

out what’s on the sporting<br />

calendar for 2024.<br />

What is TNT Sports?<br />

“TNT Sports is a premium live<br />

sports broadcaster. It went live<br />

last summer throughout the UK,<br />

replacing BT Sport in a move that<br />

heralded the most significant<br />

change in the sports broadcast<br />

landscape in a decade. It features<br />

some of the biggest and best live<br />

sport there is to show.”<br />

What does it offer<br />

hospitality?<br />

“TNT Sports brings all of the action<br />

and drama of top quality live sport<br />

to your venue throughout the week.<br />

Whether it’s Premier League or<br />

UEFA Champions League football,<br />

the best domestic and European<br />

rugby or even fights nights and<br />

WWE – there is something for all<br />

sports fans to enjoy on TNT Sports.<br />

“And it’s not just the sport<br />

itself, TNT offers customers a<br />

comprehensive support package<br />

including in-house visits from our<br />

nationwide Support Squad plus<br />

even more marketing support with<br />

our regular poster packs, digital<br />

assets, Pub Finder tool and much<br />

more. Just take a look at www.<br />

tntsportsbusiness.co.uk for further<br />

details.”<br />

What great sport is coming<br />

up this year?<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Premier League title race<br />

could go to the wire this season,<br />

with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal<br />

and Aston Villa all looking to<br />

wrestle the trophy from English,<br />

European and World Champions<br />

Man City. With 52 games live, many<br />

in our regular Saturday lunchtime<br />

slot, customers can watch the<br />

action unfold on TNT Sports.<br />

“Man City and Arsenal are also<br />

going for glory in the UEFA<br />

Champions League, which is<br />

exclusively live on TNT Sports<br />

this season, along with the Europa<br />

League and Europa Conference<br />

League. We’ll bring you every<br />

memorable moment on those<br />

crowd-pulling midweek nights.<br />

On top of that there’s even more<br />

great sport to enjoy this year<br />

with the Olympics and the Euros<br />

guaranteed to pull in the crowds for<br />

the licensed trade.”<br />

Why should comp soc venues<br />

show sport?<br />

“Nothing beats live sport to<br />

increase dwell time. According to<br />

CGA research for TNT Sports, 45%<br />

of sports fans spend more in the<br />

on trade when heading there to<br />

watch fixtures compared to other<br />

occasions*. It’s the perfect way to<br />

keep guests happy before, after and<br />

in-between activities. Especially<br />

midweek, where we’ve got Tuesday,<br />

Wednesday and Thursday covered<br />

with European Football, so even<br />

during quieter times, it’s a great<br />

way to drive footfall.”<br />


“We’ll also bring venues exclusive<br />

combat sport content – including<br />

championship boxing and UFC –<br />

on TNT Sports and TNT Sports<br />

Box Office.<br />

For more<br />

information visit<br />

www.tntsportsbusiness.co.uk<br />

Add in Gallagher Premiership<br />

and Champions Cup rugby plus<br />

MotoGP, NBA and cricket and TNT<br />

Sports truly has all bases covered<br />

(did we mention we have MLB<br />

rights too!)<br />

Contact Dan Willsher<br />

07977040666<br />

dan.willsher@bt.com<br />

*CGA Brand Track, February 2022<br />

38<br />


THE ORACLE - JAN ISSUE - #03<br />



GAME<br />

Want <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> to showcase or attend an opening? Get<br />

in touch today to appear in <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

NEW<br />

WHAT’S NEW<br />

Bunkers welcomed <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> to its Romford opening night towards the end of 2023. <strong>The</strong> new venue, owned<br />

by Adventure Leisure Ltd (who also run the Mr Mulligans brand), showcased an incredible array of competitive<br />

socialising experiences that boasted something for everyone: a 12-hole adventure golf course, shuffleboard,<br />

deck shuffleboard, interactive darts, VR gaming and beer pong.<br />

With a sprawling two floor footprint in Romford’s Brewery Shopping Centre, customers for this site includes<br />

shoppers looking for a respite as well as experience hunters. <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> even caught a glimpse of the Mayor<br />

getting into the swing of things on the opening night!<br />

Romford is the second Bunkers location, following the roaring success of its sister site in Swansea.<br />

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has officially opened the £1.7m Panenka<br />

Bar & Grill. Located near to Bramall Lane Stadium, the venue is the brainchild of<br />

entrepreneur and IPM Group boss, Rick Bailey.<br />

Sports fans can hire luxury private rooms where they’re able to immerse themselves<br />

and play in virtual reality ‘pods’. <strong>The</strong> venue’s Asian fusion food offerings complement<br />

the competitive socialising experience, with VIP karaoke rooms, 35 screens showing<br />

live sport and retro arcade machines.<br />

Laser Quest GB is on an expansion mission. Since opening the doors to its Canary<br />

Wharf and Ashford locations in December, the brand has announced new locations<br />

for their 2024 plans - including: Liverpool, Hemel Hempstead and Gloucester.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Laser Quest brand Laser Tag has been a firm favourite in the UK for more than<br />

30 years, franchising 40 sites in the UK and 100 sites globally. As it continues its<br />

impressive grounding in the competitive socialising sector, Laser Quest is looking to<br />

partner with operators who have ‘extra’ space within their venue.<br />

Elvis will soon be back in the building - sort of. Immersive events company Layered<br />

Reality will be bringing the King to London in November this year.<br />

<strong>The</strong> experience will use holographic projection, augmented reality, live theatre and<br />

multi-sensory effects to recreate a fully immersive Elvis concert experience. <strong>The</strong><br />

venue location for the November show has yet to be announced.<br />

One Under offers an incredibly immersive and quirky mini golf and car racing drinks<br />

experience in Glasgow. Following a fantastic first year, the company has announced<br />

two new sites: Brighton due to open soon, followed closely by a Liverpool site.<br />

Golf club concept Pitch has revealed plans to open at least five new sites in the next<br />

three years - including Dublin as its first international site.<br />

Pitch was launched in London’s Bishopsgate more than four years ago, complete<br />

with state-of-the-art golf technology. Guests can virtually play more than 60 of the<br />

world’s most popular golf courses, including classic venues such as Wentworth and<br />

Royal Troon. It has a second site in Soho with another on the way in Canary Wharf.<br />

Arcade Media will be consulting for F1 Arcade in 2024, with future F1 Arcade<br />

locations to be confirmed soon.<br />

Get in touch today oracle@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

40<br />




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LOYALTY.<br />



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