There are more than 400 roller skating rinks in the United States, each averaging nearly $1 million per year in revenue. The industry employs more than 11,000 people across the country and contributes more than $100 million in wages.
With families and friends eager to socialize in person, now is an excellent time to open a roller skating rink. Are you looking to do this? If so, here’s our comprehensive how-to guide!
1. Draw up a business plan
A business plan is a document entrepreneurs create at the beginning of their business journey. It is a document that contains decisions and plans relating to the most pertinent business matters.
Your business plan's contents are entirely up to you — it should contain the factors you deem most important for your business.
Common contents include:
- Mission statement
- The details around what your specific product or service is and will do
- Leadership team members
- Competition analysis
- Marketing plan
- The activities you will offer in your venue and the amount you will charge for each
2. Create a capital expenditure plan
Capital expenditure is the most critical number to calculate when opening your center. It will help determine your total amount for financing, regardless of how you secure your funds. Your CapEx should also include contingencies for unforeseen expenses and operating expenses for several months as the word gets out that you’re open.
When putting together your CapEx plan, ensure to include the following factors:
- Facility — are you buying, renovating, leasing, or building from the ground up?
- Construction — parts and labor
- Fixtures — including the skating rink, all flooring, walls, ceiling/roof, lighting, storage, etc.
- Furniture — all seating, cabinetry, storage units
- Equipment — skates to rent/sell, kitchen equipment, maintenance equipment, custodial equipment, etc.
- Marketing expenses (initial and ongoing)
- Payroll wages (initial and ongoing)
3. Choose a theme and name
When drafting your business plan, you should also consider the venue's name and its theme.
Do you want to be a modern rink offering a whole new skating experience or an old-school-style nostalgic rink?
Whatever you decide, ensure your name matches your theme and that it is something fun and catchy that your guests will easily remember so that when they hear about you, the name sticks!
4. Select a location
The location and size of your venue are necessary factors in your capital expenditure calculation, operating expenses, and overall profitability potential.
Consider finding (or building) a facility that is a minimum of 17,000 square feet. A facility like this will provide adequate space for your entryway, the rink itself, concessions (including a kitchen), a space for birthday parties, and back-of-house storage and offices.
A larger facility, however, can allow you to expand your offering when you’re ready into ancillary attractions and experiences anchored by your skating rink. While this will increase your CapEx and overall expenses, it will also enhance revenue potential and increase your capacity to serve more guests.
5. Find venue management software that suits you
Venue management software is at the heart of running your business smoothly. With the correct software, you can avoid deterring guests with delays and unsatisfactory booking experiences.
Online booking system
How guests purchase their skating passes is critical to the health and success of your business.
Today’s consumers prefer a digital experience that removes friction from buying and booking and allows them to walk in with everything already booked and sorted.
To provide this, ensure your online booking and sales experiences are seamless and as enjoyable as the experience you provide inside your venue.
If you need guests to sign waivers before skating, a digital waiver will likely be more to your guests' liking as they can complete them ahead of time.
Guest feedback collection tool
Using software that can offer you guest feedback collection tools is a great idea.
Such tools not only survey guest sentiment for you, but the responses received from guests are critical to helping you grow in the future.
How profitable are roller skating rinks?
The average profit margin for skating centers is approximately 35% after factoring in labor and overhead costs.
What is the target market for a roller skating rink?
A fantastic thing about roller skating rinks is the broad appeal to various demographics.
By blocking your hours of operation into different segments, you can identify ways to make the experience appealing to all demographics.
Here are a few examples:
- Teens and young adults — book a DJ on Saturday after 8 pm. Play top-40 hits and alter the lighting to feel more like a nightclub
- Nostalgia seekers — host a “classics” or “oldies” night, where the music represents the most popular songs from particular eras
- Families with children — keep the lights bright on weekend afternoons through early evenings. Play modern songs mixed with classic hits that are appropriate for all ages. Mix in fun songs encouraging participation on the skating floor, like the Chicken Dance and the Hokey Pokey
- Beginners — offer skating lessons on weekend mornings for those looking to brush up on their skating skills
- Toddlers — block times that are exclusive for toddlers and young kids to skate without having to worry about older kids who may be more aggressive
It is also essential to consider other factors aside from age, such as guests with disabilities. For instance, offering a low-sensory time with calm lighting and music can be more appealing for families with children with autism.
Go for it!
We hope these steps helped you feel more confident in opening up your rink.
If you require technology partners to help you get started, don’t hesitate to contact us.
We would love to discuss how we can help you achieve your business goals.