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March 18, 2019

How to Attract New Customers with Food and Event Services

By Jeff Swanson, NSSF Range Action Specialist Team Member

You don’t need to run a full-scale restaurant to get people to stay longer at your range — but some food and beverages can go a long way towards that goal!

In this video, Jeff Swanson from NextGen Range Consulting discusses the benefits of adding food and event services to your range. When working to attract the next generation of shooters to your range facility, bring to mind Top Golf, Lucky Strike Bowling and Main Event centers. These are all businesses that took the fundamentals of their respective activities — golf, bowling and arcade, respectively — and turned them into multi-dimensional, entertainment destinations. In addition to scores of Millennial customers, these businesses have two other things in common: They offer food and beverages and they host events.

Food Options

Creating a “Next Generation” shooting range that incorporates these two profit centers can often be accomplished by retrofitting an existing shooting range facility, and with nominal cost. Now, most range facilities don’t have the space or finances to establish a full on-site café or other eatery, and even fewer have the drive or experience to effectively operate one. However, there are ways to keep guests in your facility longer by offering a quick bite that has you incurring minimal expense and facility or time investment, here are 3 food facility options for your range to try.

Event Services

Once new and potential new shooters visit your facility and are exposed to a modern environment they will want to come back. Renting unused space to outside parties is an ideal way to achieve this. Just a few ways include:

  • Corporate retreats, leadership-building events and company holiday parties
  • Sports-watching parties for football, baseball, hockey, soccer, etc.
  • Civic, social and charitable group meetings and event and social club meetings
  • Individual special celebrations such as birthdays, bachelor and bachelorette parties, graduations and anniversaries.

Here are some ways to use best utilize your ranges space for events.

Whether food or events or both, these options encourage guests to spend more time in your facility. For many ranges, they’re also a great way to turn unused or underutilized space into a profit center. Either way, the more time any customer is at your facility, the more likely they are to spend money, return and bring friends and become more involved in shooting sports.

About the Author
Jeff Swanson is co-founder and an owner of a “Next Generation” range in Oklahoma, and the Managing Member of NexGen Range Consulting. An attorney, entrepreneur and business development consultant with more than 22 years of experience, Swanson and his team created NexGen Range Consulting to help new and existing range owners across the country create their own next-generation facilities. He also serves on NSSF’s Range Action Specialists team and can be reached for consulting services by contacting NSSF Member Services at 203-426-1320.

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