Whether the economy is troubled or terrific, entertainment can be big business when done right. That’s the philosophy behind Games2U, an Austin, Tex.-based franchisor that has experienced significant growth over the past year and appears poised for more.
“It’s a very challenging time for financing,” says David Pikoff, who co-founded the company with his brother Stuart. “However, because our concept is so unique and different and the entry point to get in (is not cost-prohibitive) since it’s a home-based business, we’re doing exceptionally well and going against the grain.”
Games2U provides mobile entertainment that includes a game theater as well as laser tag, a human gyroscope, and a seven-foot-tall robot, along with other games that they plan to debut over the coming three months.
“It’s well beyond just the video-game offering at the consumer level,” Pikoff says.
Though the company’s primary client core is birthday parties, but approximately 30 percent of its business is comprised by events at schools, churches, festivals, carnivals, and other venues, according to Pikoff.
Three years ago, Pikoff and his brother decided that they were burned out on working in the corporate world and wanted a change.
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“We just wanted to do something fun and light-hearted that we could truly enjoy,” David Pikoff says. “Our little motto is that work should be all fun and games.”
The brothers’ original intent was to purchase an existing franchise in the Austin/San Antonio area and build up that business. However, the marketplace offerings threw them a curveball.
“We did a lot of research and just couldn’t find anything that was unique, that we could sink our teeth into,” Pikoff says. “So we decided to start this business.”
Games2U launched in October 2007.
“We put a few trucks on the road, went through our key learnings, build a back-end operating system, wrote training manuals, and (designed) the workings of the company,” Pikoff says.
In March 2008, Games2U began franchising. The company currently has 94 franchises and Pikoff projects that they will sell approximately 350 units next year.
Of course, the current economic climate is not kind to businesses of all stripes, including franchises.
“The franchising industry probably goes the same way as all industries go,” Pikoff says. “It’s a very challenging time for financing.”
However, he believes that the relatively low cost of entry for a Games2U franchise differentiates the company from other franchisors. Initial costs range from $99,000 to $199,000 based on which entertainment vehicles and options a franchisee selects.
For more information about Games2U, visit their website at G2U.com.