Chuck E Cheese business model


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I love Chuck E Cheese.

While their pizza and food leaves a bit to be desired (that's putting it kindly), every time I go there I leave with a sense of satisfaction and a feeling that I got my moneys worth. Allow me to explain:

They have a huge game room and I take my 3 and 6 year old grand kids there. I can spend about $100 and spend hours. It's awesome. They have a blast while running around playing games, getting tickets, and they get a simple prize at the end. There is always an employee around that I can go to for help if I have a problem.
The great thing? All the games are 25 cents. Yep , we can play anything for 25 cents. Sometimes I get coupons for even a better deal.

So then we go to this place called Boomers. Twenty years ago I took my young son there and they were similar. We always had hours of fun for a reasonable cost.
Not now. All the games cost at least $1 or more. Some even $2. $2 just to play one round of NASCAR?
Even worse a lot of the games were broken or I had to get an attendant for help. We spent $20 and left.
There is another place called Scandia Family Fun Centers. Same result.

My point?

I wonder how this translates into a business model.

20 years ago Chuck E Cheese was also expensive and I left unfulfilled.
Now I believe they understands that by offering customers an obviously better value they will be happier and return for repeat business.

Boomers and Scandia clearly think that they must charge more and scale back resources to maintain a profit and control their P&l. If they had offered a better value (even 50 cents per game, geese) I may have stayed longer and spent (a lot) more money.

Relation to app development?

Many of us here ponder about whether or not to charge for our apps. As independent developers most of us have limited resources and abilities. Some are more capable in coding/logic while some have better talents in graphical design and structure. Few possess both abilities.

From an independent developers point of view, offer your customers the most value for their money. In our case this means offering free apps.
If they like your app (even with limited capabilities) then they will feel they are getting a better value and return for repeat business. Your reward? Your ads of course.

If you charge even just $.99 cents for your app and they don't get everything they want then it's all over. They will never return. You may get your $.99 cents but your customer may give negative feedback and spread the word to their pals.

Idunno. Am I off base here or what?


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It's basically The Long Tail. Sell expensive to a few, or cheap to many. It all depends on the product.

For example, I've made a system for pavement maintenance planning which is used by Swedish towns. Highly specialized, limited amount of customers, important for the customers. Price is high.

On the other hand, my android apps are simple and aimed at a mass market who don't care much either way, so they are cheap.