The 2nd largest bowling operator in the UK Strikes Big with EDGE String

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With an unwavering focus on providing a fantastic family experience, Tenpin has become the second largest tenpin bowling operator in the UK with 45 centers and over 1,100 lanes. Bowling represents about 50% of their revenue on average. Along with casual and league bowling, Tenpin centers offer arcade games, table tennis, soft play, laser games, pool tables plus high-quality food and beverage service to over five million visitors every year.

Tenpin is the second largest bowling operator in the UK with 45 centers and over 1,100 lanes.

Tenpin’s Challenges with Free-Fall Machines

Tenpin worked hard to become the go-to place for UK families looking to have fun. Yet, in 2014 , Graham Blackwell, their chief commercial officer, was finding it increasingly difficult to deliver an exceptional bowling experience. Problem number one: their free-fall machines. Chief among many other issues, unreliable performance and downtime was becoming a source of frustration for players. Problem number two: finding and retaining experienced technicians to service those machines had become a huge challenge. “We were struggling,” says Graham, a 30-year bowling industry veteran. “Our guest experience, revenue and brand reputation were all suffering.” On top of that, maintenance of their free-fall machines had become an ever more significant operating expense. Plus, it was challenging to bring their older machines in line with current HSE workplace safety regulations. Something had to be done.

Tenpin’s Key Problems with their Free-Fall Machines:

  • Finding technicians with the proper skill set
  • Poor reliability hurting the bowling experience
  • Lanes down resulting in missed revenue during peak times
  • High maintenance costs
  • Workplace safety challenges

Tenpin Chooses QubicaAMF String Pinspotters

With free-fall machines topping his list of major headaches, in 2014 Graham began seriously looking at ways to solve the problem. He’d heard of string machines but had no direct experience with them. So, in 2015 he embarked on a disciplined international quest. His goals: to experience bowling on string machines firsthand; to hear what players thought about them; and to understand reliability and maintenance needs.

QubicaAMF EDGE String Pinspotters provide:

  • A pinspotter solution any member of your staff can easily operate
  • An innovative app, Tech Wizard, that makes operation even easier
  • A very authentic bowling experience
  • An amazingly simple way to offer bowling!

After bowling his way across Europe—speaking with operators and players alike, Graham felt confident that string pinspotters were the way to go. “I did not find pin-fall to be meaningfully different,” he says. “Most customers either didn’t notice or mind that they were bowling on a string machine.”

“QubicaAMF’s use of innovative technology... smart design features and robust construction as compared to the string machine alternatives... were the deciding factors.” –Graham Blackwell

Energized by these discoveries, and after testing string machines in one center, Graham presented a business case and a wider trial plan to the Tenpin Board of Directors. Soon, after researching options, Graham chose QubicaAMF to be the exclusive string pinspotter supplier for the Tenpin chain. QubicaAMF string machines were then installed across six Tenpin centers of varying size, performance, technical competency and league participation.

Three things became immediately clear:

1. String pinspotters delivered a better guest experience

2.Revenue was up

3. Center managers and employees were happier and less stressed

Tenpin began installing QubicaAMF’s acclaimed TMS string pinspotter in 2016, then transitioned to the revolutionary new EDGE String in early 2019. To-date Tenpin has replaced over 800 of their 1,100 lanes of free-fall machines with QubicaAMF string pinspotters.