The Modern-Day Consumer
In 2021, more than 2 billion people made an online purchase. With e-commerce reaching new heights and consumers experiencing unprecedented access to goods, people are rethinking their desires and, as a result, are pivoting to seek out experiences. But not just any experience will suffice. To match or outdo the ease of e-commerce, consumers are specifically seeking experiences that provide them with quality, convenience, and value – a “one-stop-shop.” That’s where eatertainment comes in.
Eatertainment Explained & Why It’s Here to Stay
Eatertainment emerged in the late ’70s and early ’80s with establishments like Chuck E. Cheese and Dave and Buster’s. It continued to evolve in the following decades and is now a key component of the trend where consumers, especially millennials, value experiences over products. As this sector grows, it continues to differentiate itself by emphasizing quality, which is reflected in the food, drinks, atmosphere, and experience.
To the naked eye, the attraction to this concept may seem obvious: curated cocktails, clean eating, and exciting games. But the truth is, consumers seek connection through shared experiences. Psychological Science conducted a study and discovered that “sharing experiences—even with a complete stranger—makes people rate those experiences as more intense than people who underwent them alone.”
Eatertainment also adds value in the form of access. Golf, for example, is a costly experience. To participate, you need course access, golf clubs, golf balls, and more. Topgolf offers a less expensive, beginner-friendly alternative by providing everything you need in one gamified, approachable place. That’s why it’s no surprise that 51% of Topgolf visitors are non-golfers.
Pitfalls of Traditional Dining
Eatertainment has been able to avoid many of the pitfalls of traditional dining due to its focus on quality and the customer experience. Many established restaurants have struggled to evolve alongside consumers’ increasingly sophisticated desires. Subway, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Chili’s are among many that have scrambled in recent years to get consumers to see them as evolving alongside them via efforts such as rebranding. In 2017, Chili’s stock plummeted 40% despite their rebranding efforts.
By going beyond typical food and beverage service to offer novel experiences, eatertainment venues gain access to opportunities to serve consumers that traditional restaurants would not be equipped to handle e.g., corporate events, birthday parties, and large group outings. The ability to serve a wider consumer base is all the more critical due to an increase in anticipated restaurant closures.