Spring 2020
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Jabian Conversations

Chris Morris, chief executive officer at Main Event Entertainment, explains how his company is positioning itself to meet growing market demand head-on by innovating from a customer-first position.
Chris Morris
CEO, Main Event Entertainment

The idea of destination entertainment has evolved a lot over the years from pool halls and arcades to what we see today. How is Main Event evolving to meet the needs of today’s entertainment customer?

Our position is the progressive innovator in the industry. We continue to evolve our experience to provide entertainment and fun that our guests can only get at Main Event. Beyond that, our teams are built to get very involved in our communities. That is something that is so important to our brand.

How has the Main Event customer changed in the last 10 years, and what will customers look like 5 years from now?

We exist to help families create memorable moments together, and we take that opportunity very seriously. At the same time, our entertainment is attractive to all ages and occasions, so we must remain relevant to a late-night crowd looking for a place to have a good time or a company in need of a first-class facility to host its next corporate event.

Since Main Event appeals to both kids and adults, how do you position the brand to be attractive to both?

We are focused on providing all of our guests an experience they can only get at Main Event, and that commitment to servicing our customer can translate across audiences.

What is Main Event doing to build an audience for a more late-night crowd?

This is a such a huge opportunity! More and more people are looking for an experience that includes food and entertainment, and that’s why you’ve seen such an explosion in the social entertainment space. We are fortunate to have a great reputation for leading during the day, and now we need to bring in the audience that’s expecting more of a grown-up concept at night. We’ve already seen some massive gains just by educating our guests that we are open late and then testing concepts like “Silent Discos” and exclusive late-night deals on food and beverages. Much more to come from us in this area.

Is it easier in the social entertainment industry to be a market-leading innovator or to capitalize on innovations from others and improve them?

Leaders do just that—lead. As the progressive innovator, we do not plan to fast follow. Our mission is to provide an experience you can’t find anywhere else, and that means constantly innovating in virtual reality, games, ways to bowl, prizes to win, and food
and beverage. We are constantly paying attention to the category, but also recognize where we win and what we do better than the others. Our focus is to continue to grow share as others offer a slice of what we do.

With a brick-and-mortar business, what is the strategy to continue to appeal to an increasingly online world?

The digital world exists to be entertained, and we are in the entertainment business. We provide that entertainment, just in a real-life format. Above that, we also are developing innovations for guests to experience our brand more digitally, and even on the go.

How does the culture at Main Event help drive the business?

We exist to help families make memories, and our team members come to work ready to bring that culture to life. We are an entertainment company! We believe in making our experience one that each guest never forgets and something that everyone wishes to experience time and time again.

What does walking into a Main Event in 5 years look like?

Walking into a Main Event in five years is going to look much, much different, but the feeling you have when you enter will not change. That excitement. That smile. That thrill of rushing to the next activity. That won’t change. Our team will continue to deliver on that for all
of our guests.

What’s been the biggest surprise since joining Main Event last year?

My biggest surprise has been how giving this company is, and that’s born from our culture. Our partnership with the Special Olympics is so important and loved by everyone at Main Event. That love for giving back continued through our partnership with The Birthday Party Project, which was created for kids in homeless or transitional home situations to make sure they could experience the joy of celebrating a birthday. It’s that deep passion and connection we have in the community. I love that about our brand, and it’s exciting to continue to bring it to more and more guests.

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