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Main Event entertainment concept prepares to open 44th location in Laredo, Texas

Big box family concept will be one of the chain's largest venues at about 60,000 square feet

Main Event Entertainment LP is set to open its 44th location in mid-February in Laredo, Texas, debuting one of its larger venues — at about 60,000 square feet — to date, company representatives said.

The Plano, Texas-based company, owned by Australia-based Ardent Leisure Group, plans another opening later this year in Tampa, Fla., part of the brand’s expansion since Chris Morris, former president of California Pizza Kitchen, was named CEO and president in February 2018, when the brand had 38 locations.

Melissa Powers, Main Event’s director of brand marketing, led a tour of the 48,000-square-foot venue that opened in late January in Grand Prairie, Texas, and said about 30% of the concept’s revenue comes from food and beverage sales.

Each location of Main Event, which was founded in 1998 in Grapevine, Texas, offers full-service restaurants with a menu of appetizers, pizzas, hamburgers, salads and desserts. Some locations offer a fast-casual outlet for pizza and grab-and-go pizza and drinks. Locations also offer a full-service bar with wines, beers and cocktails.

“We’ve been working to elevate the food experience,” said Powers. Top sellers are wings and fries at $11.49, pizzas from $10.99 for a 10-inch cheese to $16.99 for a 16-inch cheese and even a shareable Big Fun Super Sundae at $15 (serves three to four).

The Big Fun Super Sundae is an Instagram darling, Powers said. It features four gelatos (strawberry, chocolate, vanilla & blue cookies and cream), chocolate brownies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate syrup, cinnamon-sugar doughnut holes, whipped cream, Oreo sprinkles, confetti sprinkles and sweet-sour candy.

Main Event in January 2018 hired chef Marc Boyton, formerly of TopGolf, as director of menu innovation to oversee food and beverage enhancements.

While the brand’s target demographic remains families with children aged 7 to 15, Main Event also attracts large-party business by offering several areas for groups, especially those celebrating birthdays. The Grand Prairie location offers a “birthday alley” near the fast-casual service area and bowling lanes as well as two private-party rooms.

The menu accommodates eat-and-play consumers by offering packages, such as an entrée and $10 in game play for $17.99 or an entrée and $30 in game play for $32.99.

The upcoming Laredo location, which will open Feb. 16 in the Texas border city’s Mall del Norte, will feature a mini-golf course, 20 bowling lanes, a laser tag arena and a variety of games.

Main Event in the just-opened Grand Prairie location is testing a virtual-reality game for four players.

In marketing partnerships, Main Event announced in January that it would partner with the Dallas Cowboys football team for its first sports sponsorship.

“The multi-year agreement will offer Main Event a vast array of marketing rights, benefits and designations that will unmistakably connect the brand with the Cowboys and its events, properties, players and the many memorable experiences Main Event and the Cowboys create that capture the passion of families and football fans,” the company said.

Main Event said it would develop Cowboys-themed birthday party packages that will include Cowboys branded party favors, gear and messages from players, Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and team mascot, Rowdy.

“The opportunity to align in an official capacity with the Dallas Cowboys is a tremendous opening for our brand to bring unrivaled experiences to our customers,” said Sarah Beddoe, Main Event’s chief brand officer, said in a statement. “At our core, we are an innovative, entertaining and family-centered company and that's exactly what the Dallas Cowboys are.”

Birthday party packages remain a big part of Main Event’s group business. They range from $15.99 per guest to $29.99 per guest for the “fully loaded” version.

As a tie-in, Main Event since November has partnered with The Birthday Party Project, which provides celebrations for children in homeless or transitional home situations. It raises money for the organization as well hosts quarterly events.

Main Event has locations in 18 states.

Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

TAGS: Operations
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