When Debbie Feder learned that owners of a bowling center were in need of a savvy manager with bowling alley business experience, she stepped up for the challenge.
Feder is activities and events sales manager for Diamond Strike Lanes and Rip's Sports Bar & Grill — a 54 year-old Pompano Beach landmark t hat's under new management now and is in the midst of a makeover.
Feder knows bowling centers must become more involved in the community and increase their networking, she says. They need to stay current with industry technologies and engage customers.
So Feder set to work to quickly improve critical touch points. She analyzed the consumer experience, everything from when a bowler steps up to the lane's foul line, to grabbing a snack at the grill. She assessed awareness of surrounding residents and how advertising and social media can help attract new business.
A grand re-opening celebration will highlight a new menu, a refreshed interior, featuring updated technology, live entertainment and new lanes.
Though the establishment has been around since 1958, the rebranded bowling alley is now set to roll with the next generation.
The drill down:
Why are you a good fit for this job? I know what I am good at. I knew what I could bring to the table and streamline those talents that would make me an effective and successful team member. I also felt good about the position. I believed in my employer's vision, and thus we were a good match. An added bonus is that bowling is one of my favorite hobbies and sports to watch.
What was the first steps you took to tackle your mission? As soon as I came aboard, I started working on a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis and business marketing plan. I analyzed all the shifts and open pockets on the lanes. I studied the area within a 5-mile radius and I found that our direct competitor was the movie theater across the street. I knew my first step was to design family packages combined with bowling and food specials with comparable pricing to the movie theater for a family of four to six. I also shared my owner's vision of immediately implementing our new Rock N Bowl, glow-in-the-dark bowling event. We installed new lighting and hired live DJs for every Friday and Saturday night.
What are some of the challenges unique to this market? It has been a challenge to get the Broward County
How do bowling venues implement new features and equipment and still remain an entertainment option? Increase the customer base, retain and develop existing customers by using the latest marketing skill — customer service. Our existing customers are the foundation of the business; they are the best agents for recommendations and referrals. More than 70 million Americans bowl each year.
What business lessons learned from the past help you with your job now? We owned two businesses. It was challenging to operate both at the same time, so we sold the banquet hall. Lesson learned: Be the type of employee that I was so blessed to have at my own business. Enter a business as a stranger and leave as a lifelong friend. I also learned to work in a position you are a good fit for, enjoy your experience, have a genuine passion for what you do and teach by example.
Details: Debbie Feder, Diamond Strike Lanes and Rips Sport's Bar & Grill, 2200 N. Federal Highway, Pompano Beach. 954-941-0968, diamondstrikelanes.com facebook.com/DiamondStrikePompano.
Ckent@tribune.com 954-356-4662 Twitter.com @mindingyourbiz
1. E-mail/text marketing campaign
2. Social media
3. Value, be open to and respond to feedback.
4. Reward customer loyalty
5. Engaged customers
For the bowler: We installed new synthetic lanes; new coffee tables at VIP lanes, made from durable Plexiglas with glow-in-the-dark bowling pins on a marble base.
For a full experience: We renovated the center's interior and exterior, we added new paint and installed glow lights, created bowling packages and invested in the food service component of the business.