Red Engine’s Flight Club and Electric Shuffle venues have experienced “a level of excitement like we have never seen before – it’s like Christmas day every day”, CEO Steve Moore has told MCA.

Like-for-like (lfl) sales are up between 20-30% on average, compared to 2019, and even more in some of its sites with Manchester achieving lfls of around +40%, he said. “Every single venue in the Red Engine portfolio is outperforming our wildest dreams.”

He said the business had anticipated being at around 80-90% of its pre-Covid numbers by now, but he believes that as the concepts are so unique, and due to the fact that although they are very busy groups having their own spaces within the venue, it’s really attracting people to visit.

Wallet size is also up as consumers are visiting on a more occasional basis and therefore trading up, and more said the hybrid working model may have even benefited its venues as people who are only going out a few days a week instead of every night are “going out with purpose”.

In terms of bookings for parties or larger events, some people have been moving their bookings to between January and March next year but they haven’t been cancelling, and those spots instantly get filled by smaller groups, he added.

The operator of social entertainment venues has opened three new UK sites since July, as well as its first Electric Shuffle in the US in Dallas last month, which is operated by Red Engine.

Its franchise business has also been growing significantly, with a franchise venue in Perth Australia launching later this week.

Moore said around 10 venues were pencilled in to open in 2022, with four of those in the UK, across the two brands. He said it was looking to balance the estate a bit more as it currently has eight Flight Clubs and two Electric Shuffles in the UK, but that decisions were based on which brand the venues were most suitable for.

That said it is looking to open an Electric Shuffle in Leeds, and it would definitely be keen to open in Manchester in Birmingham – cities where its Flight Clubs “trade like crazy”.

Upcoming international locations include franchise Flight Clubs in the US, in Chicago and Boston, as well as Houston, Las Vegas, Denver, more in Australia and one in Ireland. It will also be opening another owner-operated Electric Shuffle in Austin, Texas next year.

Moore said he was “incredibly optimistic” about the year ahead. “We have such good momentum – it’s about harnessing that.” But alongside new openings the business is also focused on developing its offer with new technology and gaming features, new menus and revamped interiors, because as Moore said: “Keeping on top of your product and improving it is equally as important as new venues.”