Trending Tribal CapEx Investments

Expanding your guest base through tribal breweries, unique food outlets and more

Einstein’s definition of insanity, as modified for this purpose, states that “a casino hoping to engage and energize their existing base, while attracting a new guest – while offering the same amenities they always have – is insane.”

One reason that Las Vegas has modified its “formula” away from casino-exclusive offerings comes from the realization that people want to be entertained differently today. Dining is entertainment, along with shows, concerts, recreation and golf. According to the Las Vegas Sun, creating other reasons to visit Las Vegas has turned into a billion dollar lift annually. However, the newest trends are in niche additions to these entertainment investments that create a unique buzz and corresponding lift in guest base. These new ventures don’t replace your main gaming business focus, but enhance them so that players choose your casino over your competitor’s and they stay and play longer.

Home Brew: Several Tribal casinos have added their own brewery to their F&B offering. Everyone sells beer! Why not take advantage of making a batch or two with your own name or with Tribal significance? The return on investment can be under one year and provide a unique offering as your house tap handle, oftentimes better beer than what is offered in the bottle. Brew companies can help you create the best formula for you and your guests, while handling the difficult recipe formulation that might sour your guests if it was made in your garage.

Mansion Wine: Better than “house wine,” partner with a local winery to private label a wine that features your Tribe, casino or notable elder. Wineries often have “extra juice” that they use for blending or pour-off when they have excess and not enough for a single varietal in the volume intended. Negotiating to purchase and feature a special blend of their “extra juice” can also provide you with some additional free marketing to each guest who tries it at the winery. Oftentimes the cost is well in line with your glass pour wines and will taste better with the unique story that follows.

Molecular Cocktail Bars: Very popular today is a dining experience where the art and presentation of great food and drink are offered with creative flair. Bars that treat cocktails like food and then offer tasting plates that pair with each cocktail can be counterintuitive, but it is a fun way to put a twist on entertaining. Guests watch “chefs” build drinks that look more like a chemistry experiment or Michelin-rated culinarian building a most delicate plate. These cocktails are not cheap, but those who appreciate the experience – and the tastes – are willing and happy to pay.

Gastropub Pop-ups: Food-focused bars aren’t a new trend (we can track them back to 1991) and creating gastropub pop-ups in your casino creates a unique buzz during peak times and assists service opportunities. When there is a concert scheduled or nights when casino promotions bring in higher volumes, your outlets are taxed, and it gives poor service to your players. Having portable bars or temporary outlets open with a unique offering can take pressure off of the main outlets and are good testing grounds for new foods and drinks. The concentration should be in quick, appetizer or shared plate concepts so that seats can be turned frequently. With new cooking technologies in hoodless combi-ovens, many options are now available for good food in remote locations.

Co-brand Partnerships: There are many examples of restaurant franchises with celebrity chefs – or at least their name, attached to the property. Consider partnering with successful trending operations while the interest in these partnerships is still growing. One casino in Arizona wanted to compete against the many casinos having golf courses and decided to partner with Topgolf instead. This unique and very popular entertainment venue gives people a golf experience in a third of the time that traditional golf takes, and the maintaining of this venue is far less demanding. The tracking of each “golfer” is also as detailed and comprehensive as the best casino player tracking system, with preferences and spending patterns that are so important to our business.

The options are limitless. Consult with a casino gaming firm (tip: a firm that knows the patterns and habits of players) that will analyze what would be best for your property by doing a competitive survey to recommend a unique investment that can achieve the best outcomes in ROI and lift guest base for your casino.

Your next investment? Consider:

Home Brew

Mansion Wine

Molecular Cocktail Bars

Gastropub Pop-ups

Co-brand Partnerships

Brett Magnan 30 Articles