By Roger Long
Has anyone other than me noticed how many pool rooms have closed in the past few years? What is the primary cause for this? Should we blame mismanagement, the anti-smoking laws, or the poor economy? Would you believe it if I told you that none of these are the primary cause for pool room failures?
Before I go on, let me say that the opinions I’m about to express in this article are based on observations I’ve made in my immediate area, and may not be applicable to the entire nation. But, if you do live in my area, and don’t like what I have to say, please don’t blame the owners of this publication. This one is on me!
Now back to business. While I know that mismanagement, anti-smoking laws, and a recession can all contribute to poor business in a pool room; none of them can be considered the “primary” cause for a total failure. As a matter of fact, I don‘t think all of them together are the real problem. No, the primary cause of most pool room closures today is the pool player. That’s right; you and I are to blame!
Take for example the pool room where I currently operate my pro shop. The place is great! It has 42 excellently maintained pool tables that are comfortably spaced in a beautiful facility of eighteen-thousand square feet. This place has more pool players pass through its doors in a week’s time than most pool bars see in a month. And yet, the owner doesn’t turn a profit off of these players. Why?
Said owner of said pool room recently confided to me that his dart players – who make up only 20% of his total clientele – are responsible for a whopping 60% of his total revenue. That doesn’t look very good on us pool players when only 11% of his total floor space (2,000 sq. ft.) is allocated to the dart area.
I’ve heard many of my fellow pool players lament that dart players are a “bunch of drunks,” using that as reasoning for dart players’ expenditures. I think that reasoning is flawed. I’ve observed at length both the dart players and the pool players, and the discrepancy exists because there are too many pool players who spend practically no money at all. In other words, we as a group are CHEAP! The dart players spend more money on drinks, yes, but they also spend more money on food, their games, and everything else the room has to offer. And they do it all without complaining about the price!
We need to change our mentality if we want to have any decent pool rooms left in which to play. We need to quit demanding added money tournaments, cheap tables, team drinks, league shirts, and all the other stuff we’ve been taking for granted.
In short, we need to quit expecting our pool rooms to support us, and start supporting our pool rooms, before it’s too late!