The Oracle: Issue #4

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ISSUE <strong>#4</strong><br />

APR 24<br />

SIGN UP TO<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />


OF PLAY<br />

Welcome to the latest edition of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong>,<br />

your e-zine for the competitive socialising,<br />

immersive gaming and interactive leisure<br />

sector.<br />





we make it easy to add authentic pizzas<br />

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It’s nearly here! Competitive<br />

Socialising – <strong>The</strong> Power of Play is<br />

only days away. On May 9, Inntegra<br />

and Home Leisure Direct will open<br />

the doors at <strong>The</strong> Lighthouse,<br />

Camberwell and welcome around<br />

1,000 people from across the<br />

industry.<br />

<strong>The</strong> event will be packed with<br />

insights, networking opportunities<br />

and the chance to sample some<br />

of the best food, drink and<br />

entertainment this wonderful area<br />

of hospitality has to offer.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s still time to register<br />

you and your teams to attend<br />

by visiting here.<br />

This year will see the winners<br />

of the first ever Competitive<br />

Socialising Awards revealed. You<br />

can check out the finalists on<br />

page 12.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s loads more content for you<br />

to get your teeth into this issue,<br />

including our exclusive interview<br />

with Roxy Leisure Managing<br />

Director Ben Warren. We also<br />

stepped up to the oche for a day<br />

in trade with the team from comp<br />

soc pioneers Flight Club.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se are businesses at the top<br />

of their game in what remains an<br />

exciting yet challenging sector.<br />

Just before we went to press<br />

on this issue, London gaming<br />

operator Platform announced it<br />

was closing its doors, serving as<br />

reminder as to just how tough<br />

trading conditions are.<br />

Gamechangers exists to celebrate<br />

and support the sector in a variety<br />

of ways and we look forward to<br />

catching up with you about that<br />

and so much more in London in<br />

May.<br />

For more information please visit our website or call 0344 892 0399<br />

OR EMAIL flatstonepizza@brake.co.uk<br />

Sharon Dickinson, Commercial<br />

Director & Content Editor<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<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 />

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

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



With great pleasure I introduce the fourth<br />

issue of <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong>, which finds the<br />

Gamechangers team looking forward to<br />

Competitive Socialising – <strong>The</strong> Power of Play.<br />

We will be back at the Camberwell<br />

<strong>The</strong>atre on May 9 for our biggest<br />

event yet. Powered by Inntegra<br />

and with headline sponsor Home<br />

Leisure Direct, the expo this<br />

year is supported by 45 partner<br />

organisations and over 40<br />

exhibitors.<br />

Repeat visitors to will know<br />

they will be treated to impactful<br />

presentations reflecting on what<br />

has been an extremely active year<br />

for the comp soc industry.<br />

A brand new addition to the 2024<br />

is the Competitive Socialising<br />

Awards. <strong>The</strong> judging panel, made<br />

up of non-operator members<br />

of the Gamechangers Advisory<br />

Board, have spent many an hour<br />

in deliberation due to the very high<br />

calibre of nominations received.<br />

Make sure you secure your ticket<br />

for the event to see our well-<br />

deserved winners crowned.<br />

We, at All Star Lanes, were delighted<br />

to host the Gamechangers BDM &<br />

Sales meet-up back in February.<br />

<strong>The</strong> next event, the BDM & Sales<br />

Tournament, will be taking place<br />

at Flight Club Bloomsbury in June.<br />

This is just one of the many diverse<br />

events hosted by Gamechangers<br />

that add real value and learning<br />

opportunities to our operator<br />

members.<br />

Our recent partnering with TNT<br />

Sports also saw the Gamechangers<br />

team on a study tour to Manchester<br />

(page 38). Details of the TNT<br />

Sports offer and the benefits to<br />

members are all on our website in<br />

the member portal.<br />

If you are yet to become a<br />

Gamechangers member and want<br />

to know more visit the homepage<br />

to find out about what we have to<br />

offer.<br />

That’s all from me for now, I hope<br />

you find this issue of interest<br />

and I look forward to welcoming<br />

you all to this year’s Competitive<br />

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

2024.<br />

With very best wishes,<br />

Graham Cook,<br />

Chairman of Gamechangers<br />


4<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

08<br />

EVENT<br />

Competitive Socialising:<br />

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

Experience the Power<br />

of Play at this year’s<br />

big event<br />

19<br />


We Roll with Roxy<br />

Games galore with the<br />

multiple operator<br />

29<br />


Potential Pitfalls<br />

Luke Elford looks at common licensing<br />

issues and how to tackle them<br />

36<br />

THE PUB<br />


Providing a Career<br />

Platform<br />

<strong>The</strong> BII launches Workforce for all<br />


Editor’s pick!<br />

38<br />


Made in Manchester<br />

We join TNT Sports, KAM and more on a trip<br />

around the city’s top spots<br />

26<br />

12<br />

EVENT<br />

Competitive Socialising Awards<br />

Meet the finalists in our inaugural awards<br />


Joby Mortimer<br />

<strong>The</strong> Brakes boss gives<br />

us food for thought<br />

32<br />


<strong>The</strong> Benefits of<br />

Benefits<br />

KAM looks at giving new<br />

recruits a fuller picture of<br />

life in the job<br />

40<br />

EVENT<br />

Comp Soc Networking<br />

We bring BDMs together at our<br />

Gamechangers meet-up<br />

16<br />

23<br />


Polaris<br />

Elements<br />

<strong>The</strong> hospitality tech experts are here<br />

to help<br />


Flight Club at the<br />

Double<br />

We hit the bullseye with the<br />

comp soc pioneers<br />

42<br />

WHAT’S NEW<br />

Changing the Game<br />

We cast an eye on new openings<br />

and ideas in the world of<br />

competitive socialising<br />

6<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Leading figures from the industry will<br />

get their game faces on at Competitive<br />

Socialising – <strong>The</strong> Power of Play in London<br />

on 9th May<br />

Around 1,000 guests from across<br />

the industry will attend the event<br />

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

Camberwell. <strong>The</strong> event, run by<br />

Inntegra and Home Leisure Direct,<br />

is now in its fourth year and is<br />

firmly established as a key date<br />

in the competitive socialising and<br />

wider hospitality industry diary.<br />

Keynote speakers include BII chief<br />

executive Steve Alton, Roxy Leisure<br />

managing director Ben Warren,<br />

Lucky Voice boss Charlie Elek and<br />

Red Engine marketing director<br />

Juliette Keyte. Further industry<br />

insights will be provided by KAM at<br />

the event hosted by Graham Cook,<br />

Gamechangers chairman and chief<br />

executive of All Star Lanes.<br />

Gamechangers and Inntegra<br />

founder Jade Craig said: “We<br />

launched Competitive Socialising<br />

– <strong>The</strong> Power of Play back in 2020<br />

as I was inspired by how this sector<br />

evolved to suit customer demands<br />

and operated with passion and<br />

vision.<br />

“We look forward to a day packed<br />

with insights as we learn and<br />

celebrate this industry. <strong>The</strong> aim of<br />

our event is to create a community<br />

for networking and best practice.”<br />

For the full line-up of speakers plus<br />

ticketing information please click<br />

here.<br />

<strong>The</strong> event will continue into the<br />

night with suppliers providing<br />

food, drink and the latest gaming<br />

technology along with live music,<br />

DJs and drag acts.<br />

Stars of the sector will also<br />

be celebrated in the first ever<br />

Competitive Socialising Awards<br />

(see pages 12-15), highlighting<br />

the continued innovation, hard<br />

work and quality customer service<br />

provided by the sector.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> will be reporting back in<br />

the next issue on a day that is set to<br />

be packed with insight, inspiration<br />

and business building ideas.<br />



GET YOUR<br />


TODAY!<br />

8<br />


9TH MAY 2024<br />



THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Multi-Site Operator<br />

of the Year<br />

Menu of the<br />

Year<br />

Best Marketing<br />

Campaign<br />

Sixes<br />

Meet the contenders in our inaugural industry awards<br />

TOCA Social<br />

TOCA linked up with England<br />

skipper Harry Kane to launch<br />

the Record-Breaker Burger<br />

to celebrate his goalscoring<br />

record and to raise money for<br />

charity<br />

Oche<br />

A menu that is woven into the<br />

darts experience and pairs<br />

food with play by offering<br />

options that can easily be<br />

enjoyed between games<br />

without interrupting the flow<br />

<strong>The</strong> cricket specialists<br />

continue to get more people to<br />

pick up a bat and have a swing<br />

with sites opening across the<br />

UK and beyond.<br />

Everyone be upstanding and raise a<br />

glass to the first ever finalists in the<br />

Competitive Socialising Awards.<br />

Advisory Board have the tough task<br />

of picking the winners in 10 hard<br />

fought categories.<br />

Some of the biggest names in<br />

competitive socialising, immersive<br />

gaming and interactive leisure are<br />

in contention to pick up a prize<br />

at the ceremony at Competitive<br />

Socialising in London on May 9.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Gamechangers Organisation<br />

Whoever comes out on top will be<br />

truly deserving champions of the<br />

trade, as the shortlist alone helps<br />

to reveal some of the exciting and<br />

innovative work in evidence in our<br />

sector.<br />

Here are the runners and riders…<br />



Roxy<br />

<strong>The</strong> opening of the Roxy<br />

Ball Room in York was<br />

backed with a wide-ranging<br />

campaign including a media<br />

collaboration, out of home, PR<br />

and an exciting opening night.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bowls Club London<br />

<strong>The</strong> team works with premium<br />

street food vendors to ensure<br />

this is a lawn green bowls<br />

experience like no other.<br />

Roxy<br />

Roxy continues to bring the<br />

playground to the bar at its<br />

expanding portfolio of venues.<br />

10<br />


9TH MAY 2024<br />



THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Newcomer of the Year<br />

Company of the Year<br />

Jungle Rumble /One<br />

Under<br />

<strong>The</strong> flourishing crazy golf<br />

operators have added three<br />

new venues to the UK with<br />

more to come in 2024.<br />

Arrowsmiths<br />

<strong>The</strong> O’Neill’s atmosphere<br />

combined with darts at the<br />

digital oche – now six sites<br />

across the UK.<br />

Boulebar<br />

A brand new bar spreading the<br />

word of petanque, with more<br />

sites on the way.<br />

Big Fang Collective<br />

<strong>The</strong>y are proudly ‘disruptive,<br />

diverse and different’ and<br />

‘push the boundaries’ at their<br />

six crazy golf sites.<br />

Clays<br />

<strong>The</strong>y’ve made a traditional<br />

sport accessible for all and<br />

put excellence at the centre of<br />

everything they do.<br />

Outdoor Venue of the Year<br />

Independent Venue of the Year<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bowls Club London<br />

Traditional lawn bowls pops-up<br />

in the heart of London with a<br />

contemporary twist featuring<br />

live music, food and drink.<br />

Boulebar<br />

An evening in Marseille is<br />

brought to London’s South<br />

Bank where guests can play<br />

petanque and enjoy Pastis and<br />

street food.<br />

SFG Club / Roof East<br />

Enjoy stunning views across<br />

the capital as you play a range<br />

of games or enjoy a cinematic<br />

experience.<br />

Fairgame<br />

All the fun of the fair, like never<br />

before at the Canary Wharf<br />

based concept.<br />

Carousel<br />

Delivering in Lincoln since<br />

2021, Carousel gives guests<br />

multiple ways of having a night<br />

to remember.<br />

Floodgate<br />

Brimingham’s self-titled plucky<br />

underdogs offer a range of<br />

games including baseball<br />

cages and UV curling.<br />

12<br />


9TH MAY 2024<br />



THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Greatest Guest Experience<br />

Activity of the Year<br />

F1 Arcade<br />

<strong>The</strong> arcade racing specialists<br />

“meticulously map and<br />

analyse the customer journey,<br />

embracing feedback as a tool<br />

for growth and refinement.”<br />

TOCA Social<br />

A social and dining experience<br />

built on immersive footballbased<br />

games that were<br />

created with the aim of getting<br />

everyone to play the most<br />

popular sport in the world.<br />

Whistle Punks<br />

<strong>The</strong> axe-throwing masters<br />

take pride in hiring the best<br />

instructors who are the key to<br />

their business and customer<br />

experience.<br />

Roxy<br />

Crazy Pool is Roxy’s exclusive<br />

game that combines mini-golf<br />

and pool and is now available<br />

at eight of Roxy’s 18 venues.<br />

Pop Playrooms<br />

Pop Golf encourages guests<br />

to have a ball by playing in a<br />

music video and finding the<br />

perfect photo on every hole.<br />

TOCA Social<br />

TOCA’s football based games<br />

give players the chance to<br />

show their skills in a unique<br />

environment.<br />

Venue of the Year<br />

Flight Club<br />

Social darts brings groups<br />

together for unbeatable<br />

moments of “unexpected,<br />

ridiculous, joy”.<br />

Hijingo<br />

Innovative shows with cuttingedge<br />

tech such give customers<br />

the chance to win cash prizes.<br />

Fairgame<br />

<strong>The</strong> world’s first immersive<br />

fairground combines nostalgic<br />

games with top tech to create<br />

epic moments and memories.<br />

Golf Fang Cardiff<br />

Big, bold, beautiful and with a<br />

30ft slide to enjoy during your<br />

round – what’s not to like!<br />

TOCA Social<br />

Giving customers the chance<br />

to enjoy the world’s biggest<br />

sport in a thrilling new way<br />

with guest experience at the<br />

heart of the offer.<br />

Monopoly Lifesized<br />

Play the game like you never<br />

have before and immerse<br />

yourself in a fantasy Monopoly<br />

world.<br />



14<br />


9TH MAY 2024<br />



THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Polaris Elements boss Neil Westwater explains how<br />

the hospitality software experts can help competitive<br />

socialising venues level up<br />

How long have you been<br />

involved in the hospitality<br />

sector?<br />

“I started my career in hospitality<br />

at the age of 23. I was working for<br />

S&N, when an opportunity to work<br />

for this family business arose. At<br />

the time we were a payroll business<br />

across multiple sectors including<br />

medicine and real estate. We were<br />

working alongside a software<br />

company which we subsequently<br />

bought in 2010.<br />

“Today our business is 100%<br />

hospitality, including competitive<br />

socialising venues – an area in<br />

growth.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> Polaris family has an<br />

experienced team within hospitality<br />

with an extensive operator<br />

background, so we understand the<br />

challenges. My in-laws have been<br />

in hospitality all their lives and bring<br />

an invaluable wealth of insight into<br />

the company.<br />

“Whilst longevity doesn’t guarantee<br />

success it certainly indicates<br />

stability success.”<br />

How has Polaris expanded<br />

its offer?<br />

“Over the past 14 years the<br />

business has grown its offer –<br />

we are not just about EPOS. We<br />

offer a one-stop-shop, a forwardthinking<br />

attitude and can include<br />

payroll, workforce management,<br />

business management, loyalty<br />

cards and gift cards. We have real<br />



time reporting using 35 metrics for<br />

sales forecasting and an ordering<br />

service.”<br />

How do you work with your<br />

customers within competitive<br />

socialising venues?<br />

“<strong>The</strong>se are unique venues that<br />

require significant investment<br />

which maximises their returns<br />

and enables longevity. Consumers<br />

are demanding operators<br />

continue their investment and<br />

the longstanding operators have<br />

to step up their offer through<br />

technology.<br />

“Polaris has also invested and<br />

committed to continuously<br />

ensuring that our technology is up<br />

to date, convenient and efficient.<br />

We strive to evolve with operators<br />

to keep up with high street<br />

demands.<br />

“Our industry is fast-paced and<br />

innovative and we as tech partners<br />

need to be too. Our goal is to<br />

allow the operators to streamline<br />

by having all the information they<br />

need in one place.”<br />

How do you work with<br />

operators from a nonhospitality<br />

background?<br />

“We have noticed, particularly with<br />

competitive socialising businesses,<br />

there are a lot of operators who<br />

have come in from different<br />

backgrounds. Tech backgrounds<br />

bring must-have knowledge into<br />

these businesses but operational<br />

savvy is where Polaris thrives.<br />

“You know what<br />

Neil, when I see<br />

your costs on my<br />

P&L, I’m just really<br />

pleased they are<br />

there, as I know<br />

that the returns<br />

that we get in the<br />

business are so<br />

significant that it<br />

gives me peace of<br />

mind.”<br />

We provide a side-by-side business<br />

model by offering strategy and<br />

future proofing products to make<br />

this element of the business<br />

efficient and convenient. A client<br />

has a direct point of contact who is<br />

on hand to guide and advise.”<br />

What can Polaris offer for<br />

Gamechangers members?<br />

Polaris can introduce its customer<br />

base to the extensive support<br />

infrastructure that is available<br />

through this trade organisation.<br />

Now more than ever, operators are<br />

looking for services that enable<br />

them to evolve based on consumer<br />

demand, manage changes in<br />

legislation, and create opportunity<br />

to effectively scale their business. If<br />

we can help facilitate that then we<br />

have done our job.<br />

What can we expect in the<br />

future from Polaris?<br />

“Well, the Polaris Personality<br />

guarantees our commitment to<br />

work with every customer with a<br />

tailored programme unique to their<br />

needs.<br />

“We continue to evolve our<br />

technology, remain relevant, always<br />

be consistent, build relationships<br />

and be a valuable resource<br />

ensuring the best P&L a business<br />

could expect.<br />

“One of the nicest things I have<br />

heard was when a customer said<br />

– ‘You know what Neil, when I see<br />

your costs on my P&L, I’m just<br />

really pleased they are there, as I<br />

know that the returns that we get in<br />

the business are so significant that<br />

it gives me peace of mind.”<br />

Neil Westwater, UK & Europe<br />

CEO at Polaris Elements<br />

For more information visit<br />

www.polaris-elements.co.uk<br />


16<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

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What one of our operator members has reportedly saved in legal fees by<br />

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Operator members have saved 50% off developing websites for their venues<br />

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One operator saved circa £20,000 in contracting services for branding,<br />

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<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> talks gaming, growth and comp soc competition with<br />

Roxy Managing Director Ben Warren<br />

How long have you worked<br />

in hospitality?<br />

“Since I was 20, so that would make<br />

it 25 years! I have successfully<br />

worked my way up through the<br />

industry, working with some<br />

amazing people and exploring the<br />

best of hospitality. This includes<br />

bartending in Marbella, working<br />

at late-night bars, clubs and fivestar<br />

dining in the UK. I settled into<br />

competitive socialising around<br />

2008 – back when they were called<br />

pool halls – and then to being<br />

part of the Roxy journey from the<br />

beginning in 2013.”<br />

What is the concept at<br />

Roxy?<br />

“We describe Roxy as bringing<br />

the playground to the bar, with a<br />

huge variety of games all under<br />

one roof and massive rock and<br />

indie tunes. Today’s venues pack in<br />

more games than ever, with a huge<br />

drinks selection and a food menu<br />

which goes hand in hand.<br />

Roxy’s fun vibe is reflected in<br />

the decor, with neon lights, bold<br />

patterns and graffiti-style art<br />

providing lots of insta-worthy photo<br />

opportunities.”<br />

How has trading been this<br />

year compared to last?<br />

“Similar to industry reports, 2024<br />

has been tougher than 2023 so far.<br />

We are lucky to be surrounded by a<br />

great team that enables us to stay<br />

focused on our journey. This has<br />

seen us grow and evolve hugely<br />

in the past 12 months, opening<br />

new sites in Birmingham, Cardiff,<br />

Cheltenham, Leicester, a third site<br />

in Liverpool, and most recently<br />

York. For Roxy this has been a<br />

great year of growth that we are<br />

proud of.<br />

Our recently refurbished original<br />

site in Leeds has seen like-for-like<br />

sales jump higher than anticipated<br />

and with other refurbs planned<br />

for this year we feel the venues<br />

are well-placed for the challenge<br />

ahead.<br />

We have also launched a<br />

new division – King Pins in<br />

Manchester, which focuses on<br />

the family market, opening more<br />

opportunities for the company.<br />

Overall, the team has quickly<br />

combated any tough trade<br />

with innovation and new ideas,<br />

constantly evolving our venues,<br />

marketing ideas, and ways of<br />

working.”<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Can you tell us about any<br />

future plans?<br />

“Our Property Director Tom<br />

Hodgson is stacking up the pipeline<br />

as we speak, with a new Roxy<br />

Lanes due to open in Nottingham<br />

this summer which will be our<br />

second site in the city. This will<br />

be quickly followed by planned<br />

projects in London and elsewhere<br />

around the country. <strong>The</strong> target is to<br />

open six sites a year across Roxy<br />

Leisure and King Pins.<br />

Our games just get better each<br />

year, as third parties develop more<br />

accessible technology for darts<br />

and digital shuffleboard. It opens<br />

up the variety of games we can<br />

offer under one roof.<br />

With each venue we build we seem<br />

to get better, so the future is really<br />

exciting.”<br />

Why is becoming a<br />

Gamechangers member<br />

important to you?<br />

“Our Head of Marketing sent me<br />

this recently:<br />

‘At Roxy, competitive socialising<br />

isn’t just a pastime or another<br />

hospitality concept; it’s about<br />

embracing the spirit of play,<br />

fostering connections, and creating<br />

moments that resonate deeply with<br />

our guests. It’s about crafting an<br />

experience where every visit is an<br />

adventure—a chance to escape the<br />

ordinary and immerse oneself in the<br />

extraordinary.’<br />

So, when I spoke to the team at<br />

Gamechangers, I felt that this was<br />

a journey we are all now on and we<br />

are keen to support this at Roxy.<br />

Gaming will be a big part of the<br />

hospitality scene in the years to<br />

come.”<br />

How do you see the<br />

competitive socialising<br />

sector evolving?<br />

“Hospitality is such a creative<br />

industry and competitive<br />

socialising venues will bring out<br />

the best in those operators who<br />

are able to offer something unique.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sector is becoming a little<br />

crowded with some cannibalisation<br />

happening, as operators are simply<br />

copying what other people do<br />

without much innovation.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sector will continue to grow,<br />

however you have to be the best at<br />

what you do in that micro sector to<br />

really succeed.<br />

Ben Warren, Managing<br />

Director of Roxy Leisure<br />

An example would be for us in<br />

Leeds, we were the only operator<br />

offering games a few years ago,<br />

now there are 12 choices of<br />

competitive socialising venues for<br />

the Leeds population to choose<br />

from when heading out. <strong>The</strong>re<br />

are only so many customers to go<br />

around. We still perform really well,<br />

but we believe that’s due to being<br />

the best in our sector.”<br />

For more information visit<br />

roxyleisure.co.uk<br />

Want to be<br />

showcased next?<br />

Get in touch today:<br />

oracle@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

20<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />





1 IN 2<br />








WITH FOOD,<br />

ALL DAY &<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />



<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> steps up to the oche for a memorable darts tour<br />

around London<br />




MIXER<br />

Energy Drinks Have<br />

Never Tasted So Good<br />

Portfolio also includes the OG<br />

Darts has been hitting the<br />

headlines lately, thanks largely<br />

to the emergence of teenage<br />

sensation Luke Littler.<br />

But a business around half his age<br />

has been making a splash in the<br />

world of hospitality since 2015.<br />

Flight Club launched its first social<br />

darts venue in Shoreditch less<br />

than 10 years ago. It brought the<br />

traditional pub game bang up to<br />

date for a tech-savvy generation<br />

and has helped pave the way<br />

for countless other competitive<br />

socialising concepts.<br />

<strong>The</strong> brand is growing strong with<br />

12 sites across the UK, franchises<br />

in the USA and Australia and more<br />

in the pipeline.<br />

With game-face on, <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong><br />

met with the team from parent<br />

company Red Engine to see if we<br />

could hit the bullseye.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> took game number one<br />

and celebrated all too vigorously<br />

on footage that was caught on the<br />

Flight Club cameras.<br />

Flight Club, Victoria<br />

When founders Steve Moore and<br />

Paul Barham were toying with<br />

ideas and playing darts in a shed,<br />

it’s hard to believe they could have<br />

imagined something on the scale<br />

of the Victoria site.<br />

You enter via a helter-skelter<br />

staircase before reaching an<br />

eye-opening space featuring all the<br />

fun of the fair.<br />

<strong>The</strong> impressive bar sits in the heart<br />

of the floor with 18 oches carefully<br />

positioned around the main room.<br />

With space for 650 people, it’s the<br />

biggest Flight Club around.<br />

Like all Flight Clubs, Victoria offers<br />

full drinks and food menus, plus the<br />

added bonus of the Magic Garden<br />

outside space.<br />

It means that customers go for<br />

more than just a quick game of<br />

darts before heading elsewhere.<br />

In fact, while half of Flight Club’s<br />

guests are there to play darts, 50<br />

per cent are happy to simply enjoy<br />

food, drink and the social side of<br />

things.<br />

To order your POS Kit or find out more, email connect@ccep.com, call 0808 1 000 000 or visit my.ccep.com. While stocks last. *Source Hospitality outlets 2CV - Energy Audience U&A, May 2022, GB<br />

22<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

For more information visit<br />

flightclubdarts.com<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> came to play, so we<br />

step up to game number one,<br />

Demolition. It’s a race down from<br />

180 to 0. Unlike traditional darts<br />

you don’t have to finish on a double,<br />

making it more accessible for all.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> took game number one<br />

and celebrated all too vigorously<br />

on footage that was caught on<br />

the Flight Club cameras.<br />

Flight Club, Bloomsbury<br />

Where Flight Club differs<br />

from some other venues with<br />

darts-based games is that there<br />

is no screen projected onto the<br />

board. It’s the seemingly simple<br />

set-up of players throwing darts at<br />

traditional boards, just like people<br />

have been doing in pubs for years.<br />

Cameras capture the flight and<br />

record every arrow thrown.<br />

On <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong>’s tour not a single<br />

throw failed to register. It means<br />

game play is reliable, fun and<br />

understandable.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Flight Club team are always<br />

developing new ideas, some based<br />

on darts games that have been<br />

passed down the generations.<br />

At Flight Club, Bloomsbury, we<br />

played Shanghai, which is a<br />

variation on the classic darts game<br />

‘around the world’.<br />

We also played Donkey Derby,<br />

in which you aim to move your<br />

nag forward and your opponents<br />

backwards.<br />

While still playing to win, the<br />

sourdough pizzas, padron<br />

peppers and drinks served up in<br />

Bloomsbury may have taken the<br />

edge off any competitive hunger.<br />

Flight Club, Islington<br />

No two Flight Clubs are the same.<br />

While there are behemoth sites<br />

such as Victoria and Cardiff there<br />

are also smaller, neighbourhood<br />

venues.<br />

Islington falls into the latter<br />

category with a local pub feel about<br />

it. That said, it still features all the<br />

stylish design cues – fairground<br />

horses, grandfather clocks, cheeky<br />

wallpaper – evident throughout the<br />

estate.<br />

We got down to some serious<br />

gaming here, starting with Quack<br />

Shot – six rounds of trying to hit the<br />

bullseye and avoid the ‘ring of fire’.<br />

This was followed up with a<br />

game familiar to many pub darts<br />

players, Killer. This brings out<br />

the competitive edge as you try<br />

to become a ‘killer’ and take out<br />

opponents by targeting their<br />

number.<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> had the instinct and<br />

was far more lethal than any guest<br />

should be.<br />

Flight Club, Shoreditch<br />

We ended where it all started, at the<br />

original Flight Club site. <strong>The</strong> venue<br />

was buzzing with parties and an<br />

early after work crowd by the time<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> arrived.<br />

It was only right that we got into the<br />

spirit in a literal sense by tucking<br />

into some Flight Club slushies.<br />

Gaming was concluded by playing<br />

Snakes & Ladders. It’s a tactical<br />

variation on the board game where<br />

the number of spaces you move<br />

is determined by what you hit on<br />

the darts board. It was a fun and<br />

strategic way to end an epic tour.<br />

Our day was over, but in a classy<br />

touch that customers all enjoy, the<br />

very next day we received an email<br />

showing highlights and photos<br />

from our time at the oche – making<br />

<strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> keen to do it all again.<br />

Want to be<br />

showcased next?<br />

Get in touch today:<br />

oracle@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

24<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

“It’s ultimately<br />

about enabling<br />

members to<br />

flourish...”<br />

As a founding member of the<br />

Gamechangers board Joby<br />

Mortimer is on a mission help the<br />

competitive socialising sector<br />

thrive.<br />

He brings years of industry<br />

experience to the table, not least<br />

from his current role as Brakes’<br />

Corporate Hospitality Director.<br />

Joby says: “Getting involved with<br />

Gamechangers is a bit of a no<br />

brainer. It is needed. <strong>The</strong> trade<br />

bodies we have got all do a brilliant<br />

job but we need our own voice for<br />

competitive socialising and we<br />

need to make sure we are relevant<br />

and aligned with the broader<br />

campaigning.”<br />

He is keen for more operators to<br />

join Gamechangers and enjoy<br />

Joby Mortimer<br />

Corporate Hospitality Director, Brakes<br />

In his role at Brakes, Joby<br />

helps to fuel the nation’s pubs<br />

and clubs. As a Gamechangers<br />

board member he is now<br />

providing members and suppliers<br />

with food for thought.<br />

benefits that include huge savings<br />

on services and advice from<br />

experts in their fields.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> board has a great mix<br />

of people with operators and<br />

suppliers and non-execs. We have<br />

people who run businesses and<br />

have been through significant<br />

growth. <strong>The</strong>re’s a lot of expertise<br />

on that board that will really help<br />

operators maximise their learning<br />

potential.“<br />

“It’s not expensive<br />

to join. We already<br />

have members who<br />

have saved multiple<br />

years’ worth of<br />

membership<br />

through the support<br />

that’s out there.”<br />

He adds: “What we really want<br />

is to create a platform that helps<br />

operators share best practice with<br />

each other. If you are a really good<br />

operator and you want to take that<br />

leap and expand, you will be able<br />

to talk to other operators in that<br />

space who have been through that<br />

journey.”<br />

From his experience at Brakes he<br />

can help businesses understand<br />

the role food can play in<br />

competitive socialising venues.<br />

He continues: “It’s hugely important<br />

because if a group of people are<br />

going out the chances are they<br />

will have a plan to eat at some<br />

point. If a business does not have<br />

a food offering it will lose those<br />

customers.<br />

“It needs to be good quality food<br />

that they can enjoy while they are<br />

with you.<br />

“You don’t need a huge team of<br />

trained chefs. With concepts such<br />

as the Brakes Flatstone Pizza you<br />

can offer a great range of pizzas<br />

for meat eaters, vegan, vegetarian,<br />

gluten free – across the range. It’s<br />

low skill, high margin and I’ve yet<br />

to meet anyone who doesn’t like<br />

pizza.”<br />

Whether it is adding a food offer,<br />

staffing, law, growing a business<br />

or opening another site, the<br />

Gamechangers team is on hand to<br />

help members along the way.<br />

Joby adds: “It’s ultimately about<br />

enabling members to flourish,<br />

encouraging them to learn from<br />

each other and for us as a board<br />

giving Gamechangers the right<br />

guidance and support to shape<br />

their thinking and navigate through<br />

the incredibly choppy waters we<br />

face right now.”<br />

When <strong>The</strong> <strong>Oracle</strong> catches up with<br />

Joby, he is just days away from<br />

embarking on a Pedalling for Pubs<br />

adventure in Kenya.<br />

<strong>The</strong> initiative has helped people<br />

back into work and raised vast<br />

sums for two vital charities.<br />

As an industry stalwart with<br />

hospitality in his heart, it is no<br />

surprise that Joby is in the thick of<br />

the action with riders from across<br />

the sector.<br />

He says: “It’s a big challenge but<br />

we’re on a mission together to raise<br />

funds for two hospitality charities<br />

– Only a Pavement Away and <strong>The</strong><br />

Licensed Trade Charity.”<br />

Whether it is Pedalling for Pubs<br />

or helping competitive socialising<br />

businesses stay on track, Joby is<br />

up for the challenge.<br />

Get your kitchen up<br />

and running in no time<br />

Brakes is the UK’s leading pub food supplier, with over 15,000<br />

products available to choose from including ready to go menus.<br />

For more information visit www.brake.co.uk or connect through<br />

a Gamechangers Organisation membership today.<br />


26<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />





Can’t wait to open that perfect new site?<br />

Keep a close eye on potential licensing dilemmas<br />



DI CAPRI<br />

TONIC<br />


50 ml Limoncello Di Capri<br />

150 ml Tonic water<br />

Sprig of mint<br />

Lemon zest<br />


Pour all the ingredients into a highball glass filled<br />

with ice. Stir and garnish with a sprig of mint and a<br />

lemon zest.<br />

DI CAPRI<br />

SPRITZ<br />


75 ml Prosecco<br />

50 ml Limoncello Di Capri<br />

25 ml Soda<br />

Sprig of mint<br />

Lemon twist<br />


Pour all the ingredients into a white wine goblet,<br />

add ice cubes and stir. Garnish with a sprig of mint<br />

and a lemon twist.<br />

Why do “experiences”<br />

require “experience” when<br />

it comes to obtaining a<br />

licence?<br />

One of the things that I love the<br />

most about the competitive<br />

socialising/experiential leisure/<br />

experience economy (call it what<br />

you will) is that the possibilities<br />

are endless and limited only by<br />

the imagination of those bringing<br />

concepts to the table.<br />

That said, there are significant<br />

pitfalls for the unwary; particularly<br />

with premises licensing.<br />

I’m going to go through some of<br />

the scenarios that I come across<br />

on a day-to-day basis with the hope<br />

of imparting some knowledge for<br />

those looking at new concepts, or<br />

even new sites for existing ones.<br />

“Luke, we’ve found this killer<br />

site. It’s dead central. It<br />

doesn’t have a licence, but<br />

Luke Elford, Partner at John<br />

Gaunt & Partners Licensing<br />

Solictors<br />

we reckon it should be easy<br />

enough to get a 2am licence.”<br />

Welcome to the wonderful world<br />

of Cumulative Impact Area (CIA)<br />

policies. Cumulative impact could<br />

be the subject of its own article, but<br />

in brief, cumulative impact is where<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

a concentration of licensed venues<br />

is causing a negative impact<br />

on one or more of the licensing<br />

objectives (crime and disorder,<br />

public safety, public nuisance, and<br />

the protection of children from<br />

harm) and the negative impact<br />

can’t be attributed, for example, to<br />

a particular venue being run poorly.<br />

CIA policies range from a<br />

bargaining tool for responsible<br />

authorities (police, environmental<br />

health etc.) through to almost being<br />

a barrier on new licences being<br />

granted. I say almost because CIA<br />

policies can never amount to an<br />

outright bar on new licences being<br />

granted and would be unlawful if<br />

they did.<br />

Prospective operators are welladvised<br />

to have a look at the<br />

prevailing licensing policy before<br />

signing up to anything.<br />

“We’ve signed a lease<br />

on a great new venue.<br />

It’s licensed and ready to<br />

go. It used to be a [insert<br />

restaurant chain].”<br />

Just because a venue has a licence<br />

does not mean the licence is<br />

going to be right for an incoming<br />

operator. It is so important that<br />

you have someone look at what<br />

you’re taking before you take it<br />

and, if necessary, make any deal<br />

contingent on being able to obtain<br />

the right kind of licence for your<br />

venue.<br />

Many restaurants will have<br />

conditions on their licences that<br />

oblige customers to have food to<br />

be served with alcohol. This is also<br />

known as a “restaurant condition.”<br />

This kind of condition isn’t going to<br />

work for a competitive socialising<br />

venue where the focus tends to<br />

be the experience rather than<br />

the grub. Where competitive<br />

socialising venues do serve food,<br />

that food tends to be ancillary to<br />

the gaming and sale of alcohol.<br />

Even if a former restaurant doesn’t<br />

have a full restaurant condition,<br />

there are other conditions that can<br />

make life difficult. Some licences<br />

will explicitly state that food must<br />

be available when alcohol is<br />

being sold. Others might say that<br />

customers must be seated, and<br />

that service can only be via waiter<br />

or waitress.<br />

Changing conditions on a licence<br />

is not always an easy process. In<br />

some instances, the conditions<br />

will have been imposed by the<br />

council’s licensing sub-committee<br />

and officers can be reluctant to see<br />

them changed or moved.<br />

“Right, so I have taken over<br />

a venue from an outgoing<br />

operator. It has a licence but<br />

the place was a mess, so I’ve<br />

completely gutted and refitted<br />

it.”<br />

Every licence in England and Wales<br />

should have appended to it (or<br />

squirreled away on a council file<br />

somewhere) a plan that discloses<br />

the approved layout of the venue.<br />

Believe it or not, that layout is<br />

effectively a condition of the<br />

licence and if you want to make<br />

changes to it, a variation may be<br />

required. <strong>The</strong> type of variation<br />

depends on the changes you<br />

are making. In the scenario I<br />

have presented (a complete<br />

refurbishment) it is likely that the<br />

operator would need to apply for<br />

a variation or even a new licence<br />

altogether. If the layout changes<br />

are less severe, perhaps only taking<br />

place in back of house area or<br />

moving some seating around, that<br />

kind of thing, then a minor variation<br />

would need to be applied for.<br />

Either way, there’s going to be a<br />

delay whilst the new layout gets<br />

approved. In extreme cases that<br />

delay could run to three to six<br />

months.<br />

“We open in two weeks, and<br />

we have just discovered that<br />

the licence we thought we<br />

had lapsed several years<br />

ago. Save us.”<br />

I honestly wake up in cold sweats<br />

about this one. I have seen it more<br />

times than I wish to count, and it<br />

is so easily avoided by getting<br />

someone to have a look at the<br />

licensing situation before pressing<br />

go.<br />

What can be done depends on<br />

how the licence lapsed. Now it<br />

may be that the outgoing person<br />

hasn’t paid the annual fees and<br />

the council have suspended the<br />

licence. In those circumstances<br />

the licence can be revived, but it’ll<br />

involve payment of what’s owed.<br />

Fees will have accrued annually<br />

so if a venue has been closed for a<br />

long time then we could be talking<br />

about thousands of pounds.<br />

Even worse is when the company<br />

that held the licence has been<br />

dissolved and the licence has<br />

lapsed through the insolvency<br />

of that company. Unless prompt<br />

action was taken at the time of<br />

insolvency; that licence is goneski,<br />

and an application for a new<br />

premises licence will need to be<br />

made. <strong>The</strong>re are creative things<br />

that can be done with Temporary<br />

Event Notices, but the reality is that<br />

similar to the layout issue above,<br />

there’s going to be some delay.<br />

I don’t raise these scenarios to<br />

frighten anybody, and I certainly<br />

don’t want to dissuade people<br />

from trying new things or moving<br />

into new areas. My point is, do your<br />

homework and this is where an<br />

organisation like Gamechangers<br />

can really help you. Included<br />

within your membership package<br />

are various helplines including<br />

one, provided by yours truly, on<br />

licensing. Members can ring that<br />

number, we can have a chat and<br />

hopefully avoid the kind of issues<br />

I’ve highlighted above.<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 />

30<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />




Recruiters are missing a trick by not giving candidates a full<br />

picture of the plusses<br />

<strong>The</strong>re are many ways I would<br />

describe people who choose<br />

to work within the hospitality<br />

industry… sociable, hard-working,<br />

and passionate are a few words<br />

that spring to mind. Words I<br />

definitely wouldn’t tend to use are<br />

shy and standoffish!<br />

And yet although this industry<br />

is generally very good at<br />

communicating and connecting<br />

with our customers and potential<br />

customers, KAM’s recent research,<br />

in partnership with Growth<br />

Partners, suggests we are less<br />

skilled at communicating with our<br />

own employees, and even worse<br />

with potential employees.<br />

<strong>The</strong> research shows us that<br />

hospitality businesses are not<br />

effectively communicating many<br />

things when they’re trying to recruit,<br />

including employee benefits:<br />

75% of employees couldn’t<br />

find information about<br />

employee benefits while<br />

researching their potential<br />

hospitality job<br />

20% said they only found<br />

out during their interview<br />

15% had to wait until after<br />

they’d started in the role<br />

to understand the employee<br />

benefits which would be<br />

offered to them<br />

Hospitality employees also told us<br />

that when in a role, their current<br />

employers need to do a better job<br />

of communicating the services<br />

available to them – 79% would use<br />

employee engagement services<br />

more if they were made aware of<br />

what was available.<br />

Claire Clarke, People Director<br />

at Flat Iron, commented on the<br />

research that suggested that ‘app<br />

fatigue’ may contribute to this lack<br />

of awareness:<br />

“We are expecting our employees<br />

to download apps on personal<br />

phones, unless they are head<br />

office. <strong>The</strong> perfect solution<br />

would be you join, here is your<br />

company app, it’s going to give you<br />

engagement, comms, rotas, pay,<br />

it’s a single sign on.”<br />

<strong>The</strong> problem isn’t that these<br />

benefits aren’t available – so<br />

many hospitality companies<br />

offer phenomenal employee<br />

engagement services but very few<br />

are using them to attract potential<br />

candidates.<br />

We know from research with<br />

Hospitality Jobs UK that half of<br />

job candidates won’t apply for a<br />

role if it doesn’t have an advertised<br />

salary – so anyone not making<br />

renumeration clear, is missing out<br />

on 50% of the already scarce pool<br />

of talent.<br />

<strong>The</strong> research shows us that the<br />

majority of employees (75%)<br />

believe that offering employee<br />

engagement services makes<br />

a business a more attractive<br />

place to work. <strong>The</strong>re is also an<br />

expectation for businesses to offer<br />

services which look after physical<br />

and mental well-being as well as<br />

financial well-being.<br />

So why oh why aren’t we shouting<br />

more about it?<br />

I liked what Anne-Marie Sarantis,<br />

Head of People at Gusto said on<br />

the topic:<br />

“Everything has changed since<br />

covid and there has been a shift<br />

towards better engagement<br />

and usage of benefits – it’s all<br />

important, but equally many<br />

employees don’t even use it when<br />

we give it to them. So, it’s important<br />

that we, as a business, signpost<br />

them sufficiently.”<br />

It’s also important hospitality<br />

businesses are aware that the<br />

types of benefits wanted by<br />

employees are changing – not just<br />

with the times, but also from one<br />

employee to the next – we need<br />

a less ‘cookie cutter’ approach,<br />

and more of an individual<br />

understanding of what matters to<br />

our team members.<br />

As an industry, we need to realise<br />

that we have to be competitive with<br />

other industries when it comes to<br />

salary and benefits and we need to<br />

be better at shouting about it.<br />

£££<br />

Katie Jenkins, Marketing &<br />

Partnerships Director of KAM<br />

£££<br />


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THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

Advertorial<br />

34<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />





CAREER<br />

<strong>The</strong> launch of Workforce will<br />

help people throughout their<br />

hospitality journey<br />

“Supporting,<br />

developing and<br />

nurturing talent<br />

in our sector is<br />

absolutely vital to<br />

the future of pubs<br />

and hospitality<br />

venues.“<br />

Here at the BII we offer support<br />

to licensees running their own<br />

pubs and help them diversify their<br />

businesses and thrive in the wider<br />

hospitality market.<br />

As a charity, one of our key aims<br />

is to champion the sector and the<br />

amazing career and professional<br />

development opportunities it<br />

offers. With that in mind, we have<br />

launched a brand new, free-touse<br />

membership platform called<br />

Workforce.<br />

Workforce is free for anyone<br />

working in any area of the pub<br />

sector and beyond. It gives career<br />

support and advice for team<br />

members from kitchens to bars<br />

and everywhere in-between.<br />

It also provides information on the<br />

career paths available, the training<br />

you can access to get you to where<br />

you want to be. On top of that, it<br />

brings inspiring stories from those<br />

at the beginning of their journey,<br />

right through to industry leaders<br />

who started as team members.<br />

sector, interview help and guidance,<br />

key information on wellbeing and<br />

looking after yourself in a fastpaced<br />

environment, as well as tips,<br />

tricks, blogs, podcasts and perks<br />

for members, with discounts in<br />

venues to be used in their down<br />

time.<br />

We talk a lot about transferrable<br />

skills in terms of working in our<br />

sector, but that means more than<br />

just taking them on to a different<br />

industry – it is about giving people<br />

the tools they need to move over<br />

and up in hospitality.<br />

With so many pubs now including<br />

elements of competitive socialising<br />

in their offer, we want to support<br />

everyone to give them access to<br />

the best role for them, no matter<br />

where that is.<br />

making the leap.<br />

Two opportunities came up, one<br />

working as a member of a support<br />

crew for a local radio station and<br />

the other selling gin for Silent Pool<br />

at markets. I loved them both, as<br />

they were people orientated with<br />

full on hospitality vibes. When the<br />

opportunity came up to work at the<br />

BII, I knew that this industry was for<br />

me but I wouldn’t have got the job<br />

without those experiences, among<br />

other things that I have tried in my<br />

career.<br />

What Workforce aims to do is to<br />

celebrate the brilliant people who<br />

make pubs and the wider sector<br />

what it is – no dismissing people<br />

skills as “soft” here – we value<br />

those hosts, those people who<br />

serve and do it brilliantly.<br />


Molly Davis, Head of<br />

Communications for BII<br />

Supporting, developing and<br />

nurturing talent in our sector is<br />

absolutely vital to the future of<br />

pubs and hospitality venues. More<br />

than that, hospitality is a bloody<br />

brilliant place to work for so many<br />

reasons. We have support from<br />

mentors who have been there<br />

and learned how to make it in the<br />

I have only been in the sector for<br />

six years or so, with the majority<br />

of my career up until then in<br />

marketing, sales and customer<br />

service for various companies. In<br />

the summer of 2017 I decided I<br />

wanted something different, so, I<br />

started looking for part-time, FUN<br />

things to try my hand at before<br />

Everything else is just learning as<br />

you go, and with the right support,<br />

the sky is the limit, so get your<br />

teams signed up today.<br />

For more information visit<br />

www.biiworkforce.org<br />

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THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />




We joined-up with TNT Sports and industry<br />

insiders for an action-packed visit to some<br />

north west gems<br />

Insights and entertainment were on<br />

the agenda for a TNT Sports trade<br />

day in Manchester.<br />

<strong>The</strong> sports broadcaster teamed-up<br />

with KAM, Gamechangers and<br />

a host of guests for the event<br />

that took in some of the liveliest<br />

competitive socialising venues in<br />

the city.<br />

Suppliers and operators from<br />

across the industry met at Sixes<br />

Social Cricket to hear KAM’s<br />

Head of Insights, Laurence Brown,<br />

provide data on the value of live<br />

sport to trade.<br />

He explained that live football in<br />

particular is a potential opportunity<br />

for venues to drive custom on<br />

weekdays and increase dwell time.<br />

KAM stats showed that live<br />

European football is a crowd puller<br />

for pubs – with 57% of those asked<br />

saying they would not be tempted<br />

to go to the pub of it wasn’t for the<br />

football.<br />

<strong>The</strong>y also revealed that the average<br />

length of stay in a competitive<br />

socialising venue is 86 minutes<br />

– short of the length of a football<br />

match.<br />

With the format of the UEFA<br />

Champions League changing<br />

next season to offer more games<br />

– including more involving British<br />

clubs and more between higher<br />

ranked sides – it may be that live<br />

sport is a viable option for venues<br />

to consider as an extra element of<br />

entertainment.<br />

Roxy Ball Room<br />

<strong>The</strong> impressive Deansgate site<br />

has a true Tardis impact with<br />

the entrance on the street giving<br />

little indication that two sprawling<br />

floors full of games and goodies<br />

await inside. We checked out<br />

ice-free curling, crazy golf,<br />

American pool, ping pong and<br />

much more.<br />

Pixel Bar<br />

Next up we headed to gamers paradise Pixel for<br />

cocktails and a look at the on-screen action. Here<br />

players can compete on classic consoles and arcade<br />

games as well as watching the best in Esports.<br />

Box<br />

<strong>The</strong> action was very<br />

much on the screens<br />

as we settled around<br />

the shuffleboard tables<br />

to watch the drama of<br />

two Champions League<br />

quarter finals in the<br />

packed out sports bar.<br />


“During the week is when you’ve<br />

got to be doing something a little<br />

different and give them that reason<br />

to visit.<br />

“<strong>The</strong> average customer visits a<br />

competitive socialising venue<br />

1.3 times a month, compared to<br />

around three for a pub, so how do<br />

we get that number up?”<br />

Sixes<br />

After the presentations, guests went for a<br />

bat in the nets at the social cricket concept.<br />

With attendees split into two teams aiming<br />

to smash the most runs, the competition<br />

stepped up before heading to the next<br />

venue.<br />

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

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

For more information visit<br />

www.tntsportsbusiness.co.uk<br />

Contact Dan Willsher<br />

07977040666 | dan.willsher@bt.com<br />

38<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

You’re invited to Flight Club<br />

Bloomsbury’s...<br />


Monday 11th June 6pm-9pm<br />









BDMs strike up ideas in event at All Star Lanes<br />

Some of the best and brightest<br />

managers in the business shared<br />

ideas at a recent Gamechangers<br />

event.<br />

Business development managers<br />

(BDM) and sales teams attended<br />

the networker at All Star Lanes in<br />

Holborn.<br />

Rising stars from the likes of<br />

Fairgame, Red Engine, F1 Arcade,<br />

Lucky Voice, Platform, Swingers,<br />

<strong>The</strong> Bowls Club LDN and Sixes<br />

talked shop and shared best<br />

practice before hitting the bowling<br />

lanes and karaoke machines.<br />

Gamechangers Founder and Chief<br />

Executive Jade Craig hosted the<br />

event.<br />

She said: “Gamechangers exists<br />

to bring the world of competitive<br />

socialising together to share ideas<br />

and grow collectively. Events such<br />

as this get the innovative and<br />

positive people that are driving our<br />

sector forward, together in one<br />

room.<br />

“It was a great opportunity for<br />

people to relax and discuss their<br />

ideas and experiences in this fastpaced<br />

and ever-evolving business.<br />

We are already looking forward to<br />

the next one.”<br />


Join us at Flight Club Bloomsbury for out next BDM meet-up and darts<br />

tournament on June 11. For more info email becky.short@red-engine.com<br />


THE ORACLE - APR ISSUE - #04<br />

NEW ON THE<br />

SCENE<br />

We cast an eye across some of the new openings and<br />

trends hitting the sector<br />

NEW<br />

Tenpin has opened venue number 54 venue in Chester. <strong>The</strong> site features 28 lanes of<br />

Tenpin bowling across two floors, escape rooms, karaoke, laser tag and more.<br />

BAM Karaoke Box is debuting in London with the biggest karaoke venue in Europe.<br />

<strong>The</strong> 10,000sq ft venue in Victoria features no less than 22 karaoke rooms and food<br />

created by renowned chef Sabrina Gidda.<br />

Bookings are officially open at TOCA Social’s second site at <strong>The</strong> Bullring in<br />

Birmingham. <strong>The</strong> venue will open in June and house 23 interactive football boxes<br />

and four bars across two floors.<br />

WHAT’S NEW<br />

Electric Shuffle is sliding into Manchester for its fourth opening. <strong>The</strong> venue will open<br />

on 21 June and will combine cocktails with sharing dishes and, of course, high tech<br />

shuffleboard.<br />

Red Engine, the parent company of Electric Shuffle and Flight Club, has announced<br />

it has secured a new £60m facility from Santander to continue its global expansion<br />

plans.<br />

Sixes Social Cricket can celebrate clearing the ropes twice with the opening of venue<br />

number 12 in London’s Bermondsey Street. It is the fourth Sixes in the capital. <strong>The</strong><br />

business has also launched Leagues, where teams compete every Tuesday to be<br />

crowned UK champions.<br />

Pop Playrooms has brought its unique sense of fun to Kingston Upon Thames with<br />

a new venue featuring immersive mini-golf, American pool and augmented reality<br />

darts. It’s all served with a side dish of banging tunes.<br />

Design company Katapult has teamed-up with Cloudco Entertainment to create<br />

a new Care Bears Experience. <strong>The</strong> Care Bears Family entertainment concept will<br />

be a ticketed play café experience where guests can explore themed zones before<br />

enjoying Care Bear treats.<br />

Ballerz, a new immersive and innovative football entertainment concept, will open its<br />

first site in Bluewater Shopping Centre, Dartford.<br />

This football wonderland is scheduled to open in May and is backed by big names<br />

from the footballing world including Rio Ferdinand and Roberto Carlos.<br />

<strong>The</strong> Hot Wheels City Experience is parking up for a month in Manchester this<br />

summer.<br />

<strong>The</strong> experience will roll into town at the BEC Arena from August 13 to showcase the<br />

iconic brand with an immersive museum, life-sized cars, a gamer zone and a Hot<br />

Wheels lab.<br />

Want to be featured in the next issue? Get in touch today oracle@gamechangers.org.uk<br />

42<br />




REVENUE.<br />



LOYALTY.<br />



Join Gamechangers TODAY!

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