Gaming Success via Franchising
Delivering rock-star events with unique vehicles and equipment, all at affordable prices, Games2U is set to change the traditional event entertainment in the Middle East. In an interview, Stu Pikoff, Co-founder, Games2U, shares brands foray into the region and its further growth plans.
Namita Bhagat (NB): Brief us on the inception and concept of 'Games2U'. Describe the brand’s USP?
Stu Pikoff (SP): We are headquartered in the United States. Games2U was developed because we identified a significant opportunity in the massive entertainment segment. Specifically, there was no professional or national brand that could deliver unique and diversified entertainment for kids’ parties, school events, camps, church events, and all types of business events. The concept takes you where no games have gone before with unique, interactive mobile entertainment like our mind-blowing Video Game Theaters and 4D Ride Experiences; high-tech Laser Tag; giant-sized, kid-driven U-Bots; life-size Hamster Balls and so much more. With exciting activities for every age, we can bring out the kid in just about everyone. Games2U delivers rock-star events with unique vehicles and equipment, all at affordable prices.
NB: Could you share the brand's current presence, both via ownership and franchise model?
SP: Games2U has over 150 franchise territories inthe US, and Puerto Rico, a Master Franchise for all of Canada, and now seven Middle East countries. There are no company-owned units.
NB: The brand has forayed into Middle East. What is potential of the concept in this market?
SP: We believe the potential is substantial in the Middle East. Our partner in seven Middle East countries is both a franchisee and a franchisor, with a developed structure and management team in place. They understand the franchise business and we have every confidence that they will rapidly develop and expand throughout the region. We anticipate operations in all major population centres.
NB: What is the model adopted by the brand for expansion into the Middle East? How did the company decide on the select model?
SP: This arrangement is a direct franchisee model. They found us via America's national TV exposure and are clearly capable of building and rapidly developing the brand throughout the region. They are well financed and experienced.
NB: In case the company opts for sub franchise model? What is the approximate requirement in terms of capital/ infrastructure/area to partner with you as franchisee in the region?
SP: We have not discussed terms for this situation.
NB: What are your further expansion plans in Middle East in coming years?
SP: As the region is exposed to the Games2U brand, we would expect to leverage that brand recognition and sell direct franchises within the rest of the Middle East. There is no real estate involved, our business can be developed and grown quickly.
NB: What are the challenges that you anticipate to grow the brand further in the Middle East market? How would you handle competition? Do you think franchise model will help the brand to overcome these?
SP: There are of course regional and cultural differences where some of our products may not be the right fit. However, we have developed a large number of products so that we can offer various party configurations forthe region. The franchise model typically equates to rapid growth and benefits brand recognition. We anticipate gaining a substantial market presence and monopolising the marketplace before any competitors gain any market share. This has been our success model in the US. We have developed many patented and proprietary products, and continue to do so, in an effort to maximise revenue opportunities for franchisees and to expand the brands market share.
NB: Kindly share your outlook for the region's entertainment industry?
SP: The region has very few entertainment options at present, so our concept should fill a significant void and be a welcome change to traditional event entertainment.
NB: What other world markets are you looking at to grow the brand further internationally?
SP: We have a continued strategy to develop our brand around the globe, and have targeted Australia, and multiple South American markets, as well as Europe in the near future.