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Could you survive?
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whiteoak
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Could you survive? - 09-01-2006, 07:34 PM

I may be out of line posting here but felt there was no better group to pose my question to.I currently have a few years left till early retirement from the sales world and would like to open a small room in the town of 10,000 residents where i have lived for 21 years and raised my family.There arent any true poolrooms for an hour in any direction and if you want to play on a 9fter it requires a 1 1/2 hr drive.My plans would call for 5 nine fts,2 eight fts,and 4 bar boxes along with cue repairs and some equipment sales.The only food would be fountain drinks,coffee,tea and warm up pizzas and hotdogs.Would also have some strategically placed large screens for sports,etc and good "smoke eater" system.Fortunately being in a small town i will be able to own the facility debt free.Now for the million $ question;can a room make it and attract serious players under these parameters without alcohol sales?The equipment would be top notch and the environment maintained to a tee BUT i have been cautioned that without the alcohol sales the traffic just wont be there.Any thoughts,suggestions?Thanks,M.Sellers
  
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mnShooter
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09-01-2006, 07:37 PM

You need alcohol and food or you will not survive 3 years.
  
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manwon
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09-02-2006, 12:23 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteoak
I may be out of line posting here but felt there was no better group to pose my question to.I currently have a few years left till early retirement from the sales world and would like to open a small room in the town of 10,000 residents where i have lived for 21 years and raised my family.There arent any true poolrooms for an hour in any direction and if you want to play on a 9fter it requires a 1 1/2 hr drive.My plans would call for 5 nine fts,2 eight fts,and 4 bar boxes along with cue repairs and some equipment sales.The only food would be fountain drinks,coffee,tea and warm up pizzas and hotdogs.Would also have some strategically placed large screens for sports,etc and good "smoke eater" system.Fortunately being in a small town i will be able to own the facility debt free.Now for the million $ question;can a room make it and attract serious players under these parameters without alcohol sales?The equipment would be top notch and the environment maintained to a tee BUT i have been cautioned that without the alcohol sales the traffic just wont be there.Any thoughts,suggestions?Thanks,M.Sellers
From my experience attracting serious players may not be in you best interest as far as making money is concerned, because they do not spend much money and they always want something for nothing, in most cases.

I would focus on young players, on pool leagues, on sales of merchant dice, on cue repairs, and on keeping your establishment an all ages family environment.

There is a great deal of money to be made from the young players, the real future our business. If you keep your place family friendly you will have a endless supply of young players, and you will receive the support of the Police, the City / Town were you are located, and the parents.

The serious players will still rely on you for repairs and equipment purchases. Both of these area's have made me a great deal of money, not only from the league players, but also from the young players.

I am the only owner of a all ages room in Tacoma Washington. While beer sales bring in revenue, equipment sales, repairs, and table rental bring in more money than alcohol on any given day.
  
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smittie1984
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09-02-2006, 07:13 AM

There were some alcohol free rooms opened in Atlanta before. They normally don't last too long. And in a town of 10,000 I'm guessing you are in a rural area.

From my pool table work I often go to very rural areas in towns smaller than 10,000. Lot's of them actually have small game rooms. They normally have 5-8 tables at the most. And are in general 8fters. They'll often be in the downtown area of the town. I don't know much from that point but many of these places I still see in these small towns for years to come. They do serve beer and wine. (Most rural cities don't allow Liquor by the Drink within city limits). Which JUST Beer and Wine isn't necesarilly that bad. A lot of people might have one with a pizza or something.

Best of luck to you.
  
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Blunt Instrumen
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09-02-2006, 10:32 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnShooter
You need alcohol and food or you will not survive 3 years.
Ditto...

But, I would bet you won't make it one year without them.
  
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Zero profits with pool playing...
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cueandcushion
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Zero profits with pool playing... - 09-02-2006, 11:03 AM

Most profits from billiard parlors come from other areas besides pool. Retail sales, alcohol, and food will make 95% of your profit for you. People that cannot play pool and buy average quality cues are where the money is. They will buy some snacks, some drinks, buy a cheap Chinese cue. Depending on regular pool playing for your income is a death sentence. Unless of course you are charging $25.00/hour for pool. But most pool players can't afford that. Good luck in opening your pool hall. Cheap overhead in terms of square footage rent is also key. Good luck again.
Craig.

Edit...I must also add that if our building was not paid off, chances are very high we would have shut down our billiard parlor years ago. We keep it open mostly out of nostalgia. When you figure profit/square foot like many economic models suggest; then most of our money comes from cheap chinese cues and dart supplies, and video game income. Very little floor space required, hence small overhead. Just rambling some more thoughts....


Craig - Saint Louis MO - Cue & Cushion Billiards -

Now celebrating our 50th year in business! Remember, you can help your local room survive or post about it later that it went under.

Since 1966- Family owned and family friendly




Last edited by cueandcushion; 09-02-2006 at 11:16 AM.
  
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whiteoak
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Thanks - 09-02-2006, 01:21 PM

A sincere "Thank you" for all the replies and beat of luck to all of you in your ventures.I wish i could visit each and every one of them.Mike Sellers
  
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smittie1984
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09-02-2006, 01:44 PM

I say go for it. Sure the odds are stacked against you but that is what capitalism is all about. You have to take a chance.
  
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09-02-2006, 02:13 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blunt Instrumen
Ditto...

But, I would bet you won't make it one year without them.
You lost that bet, I not only made money during the first two years I was open without alcohol, I also did not allow smoking.

I made money from the time I opened the door, and at the end of both years I paid tax's which means I made a profit. This is my third year open, and I have started selling beer for the league players.

However, the revenue from alcohol sales is around 1/8 th of the total cash generated on any given day. This is partly due to my policies, because I do not sell alcohol to people coming in off the street unless they also rent a pool table. I will not allow this place to become a bar.

I had many people tell me that you can not do this and that you can not do that.

However, taking risks are what set successful people apart from those that will never succeed at anything in life, and will also do anything to keep another person at their pitiful level.


Manwon
  
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Blunt Instrumen
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09-02-2006, 03:13 PM

Did I?

I opened just like you. 3600 sq ft. 9 pool tables. No alcohol. No food. Soda, snacks, pool. About my 3rd or 4th year I started selling beer. Maybe sold a case a day. Not much. Just hoped to profit a $1000 or so extra per month.

Then, a new place opened across town. Then another. Then another a little farther away. And another. Pretty soon there were 15+ billiard rooms in the St. Louis area. Three of them within a 5 mile radius of me. Plus, several bars with 2-6 pool tables.

I no longer owned my market. Competition was/is fierce.

Today I have 7000 sq ft, 22 tables, full sports bar, big screen tv, high definition plasmas, 20 other tv's, grille..............and it isn't enough.

There are very few successful rooms in this area. All of us are hanging on. The successful ones have a large food presence. Soon, the market will decide who survives and who doesn't.

The simple reason is the billiard market is very small. Very, very small. And, shrinking. Not until we get your neighbors and my neighbors frequenting the room, for whatever reason, we are on shaky ground. And I can guarantee you pool will not do it. If we want a successful billiard room a sizeable amount of revenue will have to come from other sources. Food, alcohol are the main areas of opportunity. But, you better be good at it.

And, it's my opinion, those with full bar and full menu, with a special highlight on full menu, will be the only ones left standing. Maybe a kid room will make it. But, I wouldn't count on it since most all the billiard rooms allow minors. Another exception will be those in the billiard retail business. But, you better be big into it.

Last edited by Blunt Instrumen; 09-02-2006 at 03:41 PM.
  
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Buddha's Belly
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09-02-2006, 08:30 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blunt Instrumen
Did I?

I opened just like you. 3600 sq ft. 9 pool tables. No alcohol. No food. Soda, snacks, pool. About my 3rd or 4th year I started selling beer. Maybe sold a case a day. Not much. Just hoped to profit a $1000 or so extra per month.

Then, a new place opened across town. Then another. Then another a little farther away. And another. Pretty soon there were 15+ billiard rooms in the St. Louis area. Three of them within a 5 mile radius of me. Plus, several bars with 2-6 pool tables.

I no longer owned my market. Competition was/is fierce.

Today I have 7000 sq ft, 22 tables, full sports bar, big screen tv, high definition plasmas, 20 other tv's, grille..............and it isn't enough.

There are very few successful rooms in this area. All of us are hanging on. The successful ones have a large food presence. Soon, the market will decide who survives and who doesn't.

The simple reason is the billiard market is very small. Very, very small. And, shrinking. Not until we get your neighbors and my neighbors frequenting the room, for whatever reason, we are on shaky ground. And I can guarantee you pool will not do it. If we want a successful billiard room a sizeable amount of revenue will have to come from other sources. Food, alcohol are the main areas of opportunity. But, you better be good at it.

And, it's my opinion, those with full bar and full menu, with a special highlight on full menu, will be the only ones left standing. Maybe a kid room will make it. But, I wouldn't count on it since most all the billiard rooms allow minors. Another exception will be those in the billiard retail business. But, you better be big into it.
Hi I'm on my second year in Bali, and it seems the answer is universal. My main income is from alcohol. I pushed the food before, but as time goes by I just realized the profit margin is smaller and alot of work! Full bar is easier, great margin, no food wastage, bartenders are always cheaper then chefs. So this day we are focus on pool and alcohol.
Cen
www.buddhasbellybali.com
  
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Blunt Instrumen
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09-02-2006, 09:21 PM

I prefer honesty.
  
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JayBates
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09-05-2006, 07:47 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by mnShooter
You need alcohol and food or you will not survive 3 years.
not true. i go to a place in a dry county that has been open for several years
  
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Island Drive
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09-06-2006, 07:50 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blunt Instrumen
Ditto...

But, I would bet you won't make it one year without them.
Unless you can get the rent 'right'.
  
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Hmmm
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cueandcushion
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Hmmm - 09-06-2006, 12:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JayBates
not true. i go to a place in a dry county that has been open for several years
How many other places are open in this dry county?? If there is no healthy competition..then a monopoly in a county where everyone is bored to death might not be a good economic model to go by. Stiff competition will seperate the lucky ones from the guerilla fighters to be sure. St Louis is brutal right now. Depressed economy, saturated pool market, casinos everywhere. Feel like I am in a frickin war sometimes...lol. Three large pool rooms have gone under in the past year here in St. Louis. I know of two others that might also go under. Have I rambled enough yet? lol.


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Since 1966- Family owned and family friendly



  
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