TV plays a key role in “eatertainment” concepts


Consumers today expect more than a meal when they dine out. They want an entertaining experience to go along with the on-trend, flavorful foods on the menu.

The increasing popularity of “eatertainment” concepts exemplifies this expectation, which has grown among young consumers in particular.

Brands such as Dave & Buster’s spearheaded the eatertainment niche with high-tech arcades and modern menu offerings. Others have followed suit, building concepts around everything from bowling to ping pong to even axe throwing.

These eatertainment concepts have broad appeal. According to a survey conducted by Technomic, in partnership with DIRECTV, 42% of consumers agree that they find the idea of watching TV while drinking alcohol beverage(s) in a restaurant or bar appealing, and 54% say they like to watch TV in a group setting.

Atmosphere of excitement

Eatertainment concepts are a great way to attract younger consumers who may want more of a social experience when they go out to eat.

Going hand-in-hand as a part of that experience is the availability of TVs showing live sporting events or other programming that enhances the atmosphere of excitement.

Rapidly expanding eatertainment concept Punch Bowl Social, for example, features a mash-up of gaming activities, music, acclaimed food and craft cocktails, and it puts TVs to use as an added bonus for sports enthusiasts interested in whatever big games might be happening at the time, says Robert Thompson, founder and CEO.

In the diner area of the restaurants, Punch Bowl Social features TVs showing the Food Network, which further enhances the concept’s status as a destination for foodies as well as sports and gaming enthusiasts.

Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s, which has 115 locations in the U.S. and Canada, includes several TVs in its bar areas for those customers not occupied with its extensive array of other activities such as skeeball and arcade games.

Bowlero, which operates bowling and entertainment centers under the AMF, Bowlmor and other banners, has been making televisions a centerpiece of its modern facilities, along with activities such as laser tag and other interactive arcade games. At Bowlero’s newly renovated location in Chula Vista, Calif., the sports bar was among the key additions when the facility opened earlier this year.

“Sports fans will have something to really cheer about when they see Bowlero’s brand-new bar, which includes huge flat-screens TVs made for watching every big game,” the company says.

Eatertainment concept operator Main Event also makes sports watching an essential element of the experience at each of its 42 locations.

“Settle in for big-screen sports with your favorite draft brews, refreshing cocktails and bar menu,” the company says. “Main Event features an awesome sports bar inside every location with the food and drinks, so settle in with your crew and catch all the action from your favorite teams on our big screens.”

Consumers are looking for memorable experiences when they dine out, and operators that want to provide those experiences are using TVs as an integral part of the entertainment package.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV FOR BUSINESS℠


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