Business idea, thoughts?

by seanoconnell96. Posted on Sep 10, 2020    20    33

So I’m sure this sort of business is in operation somewhere but not in my city (1 mil people).

Basically - I feel like young people (18-25ish) have nowhere to go and just “hang out”. If it is raining (which it does a lot here) they either have to go out for food or drinks (can be expensive), go to the cinema (only fills in like 2 hours) or chill in each other’s houses (which doesn’t always work if they still live with parents etc). I was thinking that a large space filled with lots of comfortable seating and couches, pool tables, plug sockets, video games and maybe even a movie room would be pretty cool.

The idea would be that you pay a monthly membership (~€25?) and you can come in and use all of the facilities. Weekend evenings could be byob (don’t have to pay alcohol licence) and there could be free filter coffee and tea for members during the day. They could order whatever takeaway they wanted to the venue or if they are going to hangout and have lunch, bring a packed lunch and use onsite microwaves.

It would be a multi-functional space, during the day somewhere to eat lunch and grab a coffee. In the evenings, somewhere to have drinks and play pool. The costs would mainly be bills, staff and rent. There is no alcohol license to pay or food stock to purchase. There would be very few staff needed. An outside area would be nice for the summer days and maybe a local DJ could come in on the summer weekends.

I guess I’m just wondering the profitability of this and a realistic estimation of how many members could join? I know there are a lot of variable but I suppose I would target college students and young professionals. There are already pool halls in the city but nowhere with this format (a space to relax etc, membership). Of course, the location would be really important.

I don’t have any experience running my own business but I have always wanted to. Any constructive criticism or advice is welcome :)



This reminds me a little of some of the bigger, “experience” ventures you get in mid-large cities, but a lot more low-key.

For example the Crystal Maze experiences in London (and Manchester I think), or places that combine arcade-style games with bowling alleys (there’s one in Newcastle called Lane 7).

All of these places will have exorbitant running costs, and will naturally be a bit flashier to get more people in on probably a less regular basis.

With this it feels like a bit more like student union, but possible for people left uni a few years ago.

We might find ourselves in a position where there’s quite substantial ex-commercial property going begging, so I’d keep my eye on rents, and especially for quirky / interesting places.

I feel like you might want a bit of a gimmick, nothing as high octane as Crystal Maze, but something that piques the interest of people more than just as “somewhere to go”, even if that’s why they eventually find themselves going back there.

It reminds me also of what people naturally organise themselves in places like Barcelona, outdoors in a square in spring / summer - but there you have the weather for it.

  seanoconnell96 1

Thanks for the advice! I was thinking if the “gimmick” thing too. I would definitely like to have some unique selling feature. Thanks again :)

aMarciaTurner 1

What area is this?

Are there no malls in your area?

You said population is 1 million. What's the population of the age group (18-25) you want to cater to.

Does BYOB mean bring your own beer?

  seanoconnell96 3

It’s Dublin, Ireland. There are malls sure but sitting in a mall isn’t very comfortable for hours at a time. I think the population of 16-24 year old is around 100’000-150’000. And yes, byob is bring your own beer. Could do an extra cover charge for this also.

Matrix10011 1

You are heavily underestimating the cost of running this

  seanoconnell96 1

I don’t think I included an estimation of the cost of running.

Matrix10011 1

You didnt, but you made it sound like its no big deal and im telling you this will require big investment getting the place running and the membership is very cheap imo honestly I would completely discard the membership idea and have people pay whenever they want to come

  seanoconnell96 2

Yeah I’m definitely aware that the costs of getting it up and running are very big. And yeah that could be good advice to be honest, maybe I could offer a more expensive membership option for people who really use it a lot (~€35-€40 p/m) but just charge ~€10-15 per visit, which would be what the majority do. Thanks for the advice.

Matrix10011 2

Good luck bud!

Joe_Doblow 1

How do you make money? If 100 people pay $25 that’s $2500 that won’t even pay the rent

  seanoconnell96 1

I’d be hoping for a lot more than 100 members in a city of over 1’000’000 people to be honest.. How does a gym with membership make money? They wouldn’t survive with only 100 members either.

Joe_Doblow 2

Gym people come at different times, 1hr max, not drunk, most people don’t go. If you get 1000 paying club members you need to imagine people will go often and at same time. It’d make more sense if you charged for drinks. Cuz $25,000 a month rev isn’t even much for a lounge type place with kids drinking in it and most likely doing drugs. It’d make more sense if no liquor was involved and it was only hookah like byoh or pay cheap. Just the alcohol/drug aspect is tough. If you pay 7 employees $3500 a month that’s already $25,000 in expenses without counting their taxes and benefits you pay. A place that can hold all those people will be huge. Rent will be high, renovations will be expensive to get it going at first.

  seanoconnell96 1

Yes that’s a good point. I don’t think I’d require 7 full time staff at $3500 a month. I think maybe 2 or 3 full time and a few part-time maybe. But I see what you’re saying about the amount of time spent. I was thinking that each membership comes with a number of hours, and every hour you go over you pay a small extra fee? $2 per hour extra maybe? This is definitely one of the biggest problems though, you are correct.

Joe_Doblow 1

If you charge cheap for drinks and can serve food that might work. Maybe charge for games. Maybe find another way to make money off your 1000 clients. Like start selling something, supplemental income. Desserts coffee some product. Dealing with drunk young adults sounds like a big liability. I like the idea. I used to own a hookah lounge in a college town where we had a team of customers that came everyday and became family with sprinkles of new customers we were near the airport in a tourist town

  seanoconnell96 1

Yeah that’s good advice man. I think the “byob” thing would be limited to a few hours on a Friday and Saturday evening maybe. But serving food and charging extra for certain games etc is a good idea. Thanks for the advice :)

Casarosso_ 1

First question that arises is how would you prevent that 1 group of friends would take it over? Also how would you prevent that people would turn it into trapspot?

  seanoconnell96 2

Well could this not be said about anywhere? How can you prevent one group of friends from taking over a cinema, a restaurant or a pool hall? If a group of 100 friends want to pay in then they have every right to be there I suppose. As for a trapspot, it’s a pretty chill city and I think location would be important here. Also - the weekend evenings when people are drinking there could be security.

sac45856 2
  seanoconnell96 1

Yeah very much like this! But I suppose slightly more focused on comfort and games. But yeah, I’ll do a lot more research into anti-cafes. Thank you!

xXConfuocoXx 5

My first impression:

      • -

        You’ve found a problem: no place for young people to hang out

        But your solution seems to be too nonspecific

        Literally any business has the opportunity to be a young person hangout. You have to give them a good reason to show up to your spot first and foremost then give them a good reason to stay.

        The monthly membership I think is a terrible idea unless your area/target audience likes exclusivity... still I have my doubts. Why pay 25 bucks a month to go somewhere when I can pay 8.99 and have my own stuff and my own house with my own friends and watch Netflix?

        My suggestion, make it a coffee shop with a hip young atmosphere with board games, arcade games pool ect, it can still be BYOB and have all the fun things you’re thinking of but making it a coffee shop gives the kids a reason to go, all the extra shit gives them a reason to stay.
  seanoconnell96 2

Thanks for the advice, I see what you’re saying. I’ll look into this and weigh up the options. Thank you for the advice, really appreciate it!

xXConfuocoXx 2

No problem!

You’ll also want to think about start up costs, marketing costs, and costs just to keep the lights on. It’ll add up pretty quickly a brick and morter business with all the bells and whistles is going to be a million or more just to get rolling, if you rent the building you could cut that down but even then I’d wager with renovation you’re still looking at over a hundred grand to get started.

If you just want experience starting and running a business you might try something service based and hire contract workers. You can start one of those depending on the niche for like a grand depending on your state

  seanoconnell96 2

Yeah you are absolutely right. It’s the “getting started” part that is really tough and expensive. Maybe I’ll try to come up with a more online/services based business first. Thanks again :)

digitalwankster 8

Agreed. It sounds like OP essentially wants to crowd source a space to party. What are you going to do when 1 group of people gets shit faced and is loud and pisses off other members who are also paying to be there?

l0uisjones 6

As a 17 year old, I think this idea sounds like a dream but the monthly membership idea sounds way too annoying to deal with for a bunch of teenagers

  seanoconnell96 2

Thanks for the feedback. I was thinking maybe students would get a reduced rate of like €18 per month? And monthly membership wouldn’t be compulsory, maybe like €5-€10 for a single entry. How does that sound?

l0uisjones 1

Sounds good, I feel if you tried to include a plan where a group of say 5 or 10 people were able to pay as a whole that would be a lot more convienent as well

  seanoconnell96 1

Yeah I get you, group discounts and that kind of thing. There’s a tonne of options for pricing. I suppose my main concern is just whether I could get enough people in to cover costs and actually make money.

l0uisjones 2

Suppose that would take a lot of capital to start going, maybe going with free to start type of entry to gain attraction. Sounds like a really good idea though from the looks of it

  seanoconnell96 2

Yeah that’s the big problem really. Thanks, really appreciate the feedback!

SpringBrreeaaaak 12

First off congrats on your idea, always good to think what needs there are in the market.

Few things to think about off the top of my head, hopefully some helpful.

There's a place in my town that is similar on a smaller scale. Their main focus is board games of all types from simple kid ones to D&D etc. They provide all the games (at least the more generic ones), and people can hang out and play. They also have a coffee bar. While lots of coffee shops have board games, this one is much more focused on come play games, and hey we have coffee. They run tournaments to get people in, they have instructional sessions, like Learn the basics of playing D&D, etc. The place is pretty popular, and they have annual, monthly and drop in membership rates. I know you are going for something bigger and more general come hang out, just mentioning it because it is actually pretty successful.

That story aside, a few things to consider. Since college kids sound like a target group, I assume they'll be gone all summer, something to keep in mind. As well if college kids are tight on money, the membership might be the first thing they cancel.

You'll have a decent overhead cost - rent, electricity, staffing. The bigger and better the location, the more expensive it'll be to run. A good start on the financial front would be to list out all the expenses you can think of that are fixed (you pay every month regardless, like rent), and variable expenses, ones that depend on the number of people you get in there, like the coffee you supply will depend on how many people are showing up)


Also consider expenses like insurance - I don't know specifics but some type of liability insurance incase someone breaks their leg there. Marketing as well, think through how you'd market it, and what that'll cost.

One you get a good handle on all your expenses, you can start to figure out your break even, how many memberships you'll need each month to cover all the expenses. Say everything including rent, power, etc. adds up to $10,000, well you need 400 paying members at 25 to break even.

That's a start for the financial side, just some things to think about. Good luck with it!

  seanoconnell96 4

Thanks so much for the advice, it’s all very useful! I’ll be sure to calculate all of this.