Mall entertainment shopping

The Shopping Cart Model

I love to go to food shopping. At a butcher I take time to select a nice piece of meat, at my local farmer shop I select the freshest vegetables and at my favourite specialty shop I buy my favourite spices and ingredients. With a trunk full of really nice ingredients I get back home and start to cook. At the internet I seek some assistance for ideas and off I go. This will become a success! Dinner is served and I am hopeful that my family will appreciate all my efforts. And yes, to be polite they smile and say it is great, but the real truth is that they appreciated yesterday’s dinner at the restaurant way more…

There is a reason why I am not a great cook: I not only miss the creativity, but more important, I miss the knowledge of the individual components and how to combine them in the right way to touch the senses of my dinner guests to the max. Only a few people have the experience, feeling and knowledge to become a great cook. This is exactly why we as amateur chefs appreciate a dinner at a great restaurant. The better the chef, the more we are willing to pay for their dishes.

IAAPA Trade show

With this in mind it is interesting to see what happens at a the IAAPA trade show.

For who never have been at an IAAPA tradeshow: Visitors get spoiled by hundreds of booths with products varying from plush animals of a few cents to roller coasters costing tens of millions. From franchise models of selling Dippin’ Dot’s to feasibility study companies helping you with investing hundreds of millions into our industry. It is an interesting mix of all kind of products and services necessary inthe Themepark and Attractions industry. You can almost compare it with what Walmart or Carrefour XL is for a family household.

Interesting to see that not only new people in our industry, but surprisingly also existing operators treat the IAAPA tradeshows as a supermarket. It works a bit this way: The first day they select rides, the second day they will select their Point of Sales and ticket supplier, the last day they spend on midway games and F&B ideas. With a shopping cart full of expensive equipment, they return home and start to fill in their empty plot or building and start their adventure to operate their mix of new purchases.

The Industry chefs

Like in the restaurant scene also our industry has a few great chefs available. Chefs that understand how to combine the ingedients you can buy at an IAAPA show floor in the right way. Chefs that know what guests like and know how to touch their senses optimal. In the Theme Park and Attraction world these great chefs are named consultants, design companies and feasibility companies, all containing an enormous experience. They will bring the knowledge on how to treat all the items in your IAAPA shopping cart in a way that your guests will appreciate your end product better and willing to pay more for it, exactly as the star chefs in Michelin star restaurants.

What I really cannot understand is that investors and operators in the Themepark and Attraction industry still think that they can be the perfect chef and create the same success as the star chef. Why investing so much in the ingredients without hiring a specialized chef?

Maybe I should invite operators and investors that still don’t believe me, to taste myself prepared dinner….


Thank you for reading this article. With more than 25 years of experience in the local based entertainment industry I started to observe the industry in a certain way and defining more and more opinions about our great industry. Some (business) friends asked me to write them down, which made this another episode. All articles can be found via:

Please let me know your thoughts and your opinion !