A bowling alley can be a challenging small business to operate, simply due to the nature of continually maintaining equipment and holding nontraditional business hours while also marketing and promoting the business. A bit of business savvy paired with strategic business partnerships can help you add more offerings to your bowling center while simultaneously raising profits.

Add Entertainment

Bring in an up-and-coming local band on weekends and charge an entry fee. This brings in more people, both for music and bowling. Change up entertainment venues by having an open mic night, a talent show or some other low-cost, low-hassle form of entertainment that gives people another reason to frequent your establishment.

Host Theme Nights

Host theme bowling nights, like lady’s night, sports night or teen night. This helps you diversify your crowd and expand your target market. Offer package deals to boost profits – for example, a pizza, pitcher of drinks and two games. Sell raffle tickets and host prize drawings, both as a way to increase profits and draw a crowd.

Rent for Parties

Rent the bowling alley for kids’ parties, adult parties, corporate events and fundraisers. Put together package deals that include party planning, supplies and refreshments. Make the facility available for club meetings or youth events, and if you don’t already have a bowling league, form one. Talk to local schools about forming bowling teams and host practices and tournaments on-site.

Increase Amenities

Contract with outside service providers to bring in candy and soda machines, ball washers, video games and arcade games. Sell bowling shirts, custom bowling balls, shoes, socks and laces. Add pool tables, darts and even specialty services, like onsite childcare. Sell season bowling passes and offer gift certificates for sale.

Expand Food and Drink

Increase the types of food and drinks you have available, and apply for a liquor license if you don’t already have one. Offer carry-out services as well as dine-in to bring in non-bowling customers. Have specialty good nights to attract and keep regulars. Employ wait staff to take orders while patrons bowl.

Increase Your Hours

Host early bird bowling breakfasts or midnight madness bowling tournaments. Be open when your competition isn’t as a way to attract customers who don’t work nontraditional hours. This can also be a profitable approach in college towns.