Roxy Leisure has ambitious expansion plans but tries to make sure every site has unique features, the group’s commercial manager Joel Mitchell tells MCA.

The 13-site strong business operates Roxy Lanes and Roxy Ballroom venues and is about to launch a new bowling concept called King Pins in Manchester this spring.

Despite the challenging economic environment, the group is still on track to deliver on the expansion plans it originally set out, of five to six new sites per year.

While finding suitable locations can be difficult, due to the size required for the concepts, but “we are well placed to jump when we find the perfect fit”, he says.

“There are some cities we’ve been searching within for a while too. It’s important to us that even if it takes a while, it’s the perfect venue both in size and location.”

The next site to open will be a Roxy Ball Room in Victoria Square in Birmingham next Friday (10 February).

This will be followed by a Roxy Lanes in The Friary Cardiff in April, which will feature electric darts – something unique to that venue.

“We’ve wanted to introduce darts into our builds for the last few years and have finally found a system that works for us and provide the customer with an incredible experience,” he explains. “We pride ourselves on innovation in our options.”

While both Roxy Lanes and the Ball Room concept offer ten-pin bowling – its Lanes venues are centred around this game, while at Ball Room it’s included but isn’t the main feature, Mitchell explains.

Despite some overlap with the offering, Mitchell believes there is a lot of scope for Roxy to open multiple venues in the same city.

“It’s tried and tested – right now we have multiple sites in Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Liverpool ad soon-to-be Birmingham.

“Our sites don’t cannibalise themselves even when in close proximity. Each one has a point of differentiation that sets it apart from the other,” he says.

“The same goes when there are social gaming competitors close by or in the same city in general. It’s beneficial to everyone when there is more choice at this stage in the growth of competitive socialising.”

Its new King Pins concept looks to tap more into the family market. “When it comes to bowling brands, the family segment has seen very little innovation in the last 10 years or so, whilst the competitive socialising market has flourished, largely targeting Gen Y.

“Many of our Roxy audience has grown up and had families of their own, yet still crave that Roxy experience, albeit tailored to their new needs. We’ve taken the building blocks that have made Roxy successful and tailored them for a family audience who want something different to current outdated offerings.”

The King Pins proposition will include a variety of games including: ten pin bowling, duck pin bowling, ice-free curling, shuffleboard, American pool, karaoke, and state-of-the-art arcades. While central to the venue will also be a standout F&B offering, Mitchell says, with two independent local street food vendors.