Two retired ladies drinking coffee together

Strike Up Friendships and Create Community: How to run Coffee Mornings

Bowling centres are not just for knocking down pins and scoring strikes. They have evolved into vibrant community spaces that bring people together for leisure and social interactions.  

To enhance this social aspect, bowling centres can organise coffee mornings, providing an excellent opportunity for individuals to engage in conversations, make new connections, engage is some light exercise and enjoy a cuppa in the comfortable environment of the lanes. The inclusive nature of bowling, being suitable for people of all ages and physical abilities, makes it an ideal activity around which to centre a social occasion.  

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of hosting coffee mornings at bowling centres and provide a guide on how to run these events successfully. If you get it right from the start then you’ll soon have an event that runs regularly for years to come.

The Benefits of Coffee Mornings at Bowling Centres

For most centres there are two main groups of people who would welcome a coffee morning at a time when your centre is traditionally quiet: retired people and people caring for young children. 

Coffee mornings are an excellent way of making use of your most valuable asset – your lanes. Attracting guests to your centre during your off-peak period is great, but creating a setting which they want to come to every week is invaluable. Coffee mornings are more about the socialising than they are about the bowling. 

Social connection: Coffee mornings offer a relaxed and informal setting where people can gather, interact, and forge meaningful connections. It helps foster a sense of belonging and camaraderie among participants. 

Diversifying offerings: Hosting coffee mornings diversifies the range of activities available at a bowling centre. It attracts a broader audience, including non-bowlers, child carers, and senior citizens, who may not typically socialise at a bowling centre. 

Generating revenue: Coffee mornings can be a regular, additional revenue stream for bowling centres. As well as the new, regular bowling income, the most impactful increase will be in the additional F&B spend. Coffee mornings are an excellent way to increase your saturation rates. 

Planning and Organizing Coffee Mornings

Child bowling

Setting the date and time: Consider the preferences of your target audience and choose a suitable date and time for the coffee morning. Weekday mornings are usually ideal for attracting families and retirees and is a time when you are usual quiet. Give clear information about dates when coffee mornings can’t run e.g. school holidays, as managing expectations is essential. 

Promoting the event: Utilise various channels to promote the coffee morning, such as social media, bowling centre notice boards, local community boards, and targeted advertising. Connecting and advertising with local retirement villages and properties would be recommended.  Create eye-catching posters and flyers to grab attention – utilising imagery relevant to the intended audience. Be wise about your choice of wording so as to not offend and put an emphasis on the social focus of the event. 

Creating a welcoming ambience: Arrange comfortable seating areas near the bowling lanes and ensure ample space for participants to mingle and converse. Consider soft music, accessibility and modified lighting to create a calm and appropriate environment. Older guests may need brighter lighting to ensure they can see clearly. Provide lots of lighter balls and easy to move ball ramps. Accessibility, comfort and cleanliness are very important to your target audience therefore it is important to be thorough with the presentation of your toilets, sustain a good standard of up-keep to your facility and furnishings and ensure paths and car park are properly maintained and well lit. 

Offer an attractive package: Given your lanes are usually empty at this time, there is no harm in offering bowling at a heavily discounted rate. As we aren’t concerned about the speed of bowling, we want them to linger, a good option is to offer a three-game package with free tea and filter coffee. Premium coffee and any other F&B should be available at the normal price. 

Beverage and snack selection: Offer a variety of coffee, tea, and other beverages, accommodating different tastes and preferences.  

Staffing and training: You’re going to need your most personable and polite staff on to service your coffee morning event. Train them to provide excellent customer service, engage in friendly conversations, respond positively to any special requests and assist participants in both coffee-related matters and bowling-related queries. A warm welcome from someone who wants to get to know the guests will go a long way to making your event successful. 

Running the event: It’s best to have this as a pay on the day / walk in event. You can block out a group of lanes and allow the guests to use them as they would like – they can choose to play by themselves or in groups with others. 

Feedback and continuous improvement: Encourage participants to provide feedback about their experience during the coffee morning. Gather suggestions for improvement and implement them in subsequent events. Continuously adapt to meet the needs and preferences of your evolving audience will create longevity. 

It's good for you and it's good for your community

Coffee mornings at bowling centres provide an incredible opportunity for socialisation, community building, and revenue generation. By organising these events, bowling centres can go beyond their primary purpose and create a welcoming space for people of all ages and interests.  

Through careful planning, effective promotion, and attention to detail, bowling centres can successfully host coffee mornings that offer a warm and inviting environment for conversation and connection. It is likely that satisfied customers will tell their friends and family about this event potentially encouraging them to come bowling at other times – and may even book some high value events like birthday parties! 

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