Keep a crowd in for autumn with pub quiz machines and jukeboxes

Autumn is an unusual season for pubs and clubs. There are the isolated events such as Halloween, Bonfire Night and the run-up to Christmas, but you need a strategy for the weeks in between.

It’s seven weeks from November 5th until Christmas Eve – realistically giving you six weeks in between to host any events you might have planned to draw in the crowds.

A regular schedule can be a big help at a time of year when the nights are drawing in and many people are looking for ways to brighten up their evenings, as well as to start getting into the seasonal spirit.

Here are just a few ways pub quiz machines and jukeboxes can help you to do just that, keeping customers on your premises for longer and encouraging them to make the cold journey out into the autumn evenings from home.

Pub quiz machines keep pals entertained

Pub quiz machines are a great way to entertain groups of friends and family, and although in theory only one person can play at a time, you’ll see patrons stood two and even three deep around your quiz machine at times.

Anyone within arm’s reach of the screen can lean in to tap the correct answer to a question, so this kind of huddle is not unusual.

It’s also an easy way to introduce trivia into your establishment – so even if you’re not holding a full-blown pub quiz at the time, customers can still challenge their wits.

Jukebox bingo and pub quizzes

Another low-effort way to offer pub quizzes and even bingo is to install a pub jukebox such as the Sound Leisure VenueHub.

It features free, professionally recorded pub quiz and bingo audio, plus other marketing capabilities like the ability to display adverts for upcoming sports events you will be screening.

This of course is all in addition to its functionality as a pub jukebox, playing music as audio and/or video to generate an additional revenue stream from customers who want to choose a song.

Pub pool tables and fruit machines

Finally, give pairs and individuals some entertainment by installing pub pool tables and fruit machines, again allowing customers to play whenever they want.

Coin-operated pool tables are a great source of revenue and can keep customers on-premises for longer while they complete a game, increasing the chances of them buying drinks, snacks and other products in the meantime.

Compared with leaving to head home in the cold, dark and probably wet conditions of an autumn evening, any of the above can provide a compelling alternative to keep patrons on-site and purchasing for longer.

 

https://soundleisure.com/digitaljukeboxes/products/venuehub/

New player’s guide to fruit machines (tips and tricks)

If you’re new to playing fruit machines, there’s no need to be daunted by all those flashing lights and bonus features – even most experienced players learn just by playing new titles when they are released.

Remember that fruit machines should always be fun, so as long as you’re having a good time, don’t be afraid to lose along the way until you get to grips with your chosen machine.

Of course, a big win is the aim for many players, so there are a few tips and tricks to making sure you’re in with a chance of the biggest pay-outs.

Tips and tricks for bigger slot machine wins

Most modern fruit machines will tell you what the previous player won – often by pressing down one of the hold buttons, but look for the scrolling text display to tell you how to display the last win.

It’s a handy way to see if the jackpot has just paid out. Fruit machines typically aim to pay out a certain percentage of total stakes over time, so while there’s some randomness involved, you might feel like you’re in with more of a chance if the previous win was small.

Many machines let you play for several different stake amounts – e.g. 25p, 50p or £1 a spin – and while you’ll get more spins for your buck at the lower levels, remember that the biggest jackpots and some of the juiciest features are restricted to that £1 stake.

By pitching your stake sensibly depending on the machine and how primed you think it is to pay out a big win or jackpot, you can focus on big pay-outs from fruit machines that are ready for a win.

How to play fruit machine features

Fruit machine features can have a lot going on, so take your time and familiarise yourself with all the options.

Look for a hi-lo reel, as this can sometimes give you a second option rather than accepting whatever is happening on the main feature board.

Check the location of the ‘game over’ and ‘bonus’ or ‘chance’ squares on the feature board. In many cases, ‘bonus’ will include the risk of an immediate game over, so if you have the option of a decent prize, it might be worth cashing out at that point.

Finally, know whether you have more than one life and/or the chance to earn extra lives, as these can keep you in the game even if a chance or bonus square doesn’t go your way – and have fun, whether you win or lose!

What are the most popular tunes for juke boxes?

In 2022 the UK music charts reach their 70th anniversary – that’s a lot of music, so what are the most popular tunes for juke boxes?

The answer isn’t an easy one. It can depend on your particular clientele, the quality of new music releases, and even on the day of the week.

Because of this, Manco Automatics provide audio and video juke boxes for pubs and other venues that give you plenty of ways to customise and update the music you offer.

One example of this is the Sound Leisure VenueHub Digital Jukebox, known as VHub for short, which offers exclusive access to regularly updated UK Singles Chart music.

Give it an internet connection and it will update on a weekly basis, so whatever the most popular UK singles are at the time, it should have them available for your customers to choose.

Networked jukeboxes can also offer vast libraries of on-demand music, so you can give far more choice than what’s stored directly on the digital juke box hard drive.

Even if you don’t have a suitable internet connection, digital juke boxes have as many as 30,000 songs and albums stored internally – plenty of choice for your customers.

Improve what you offer

As soon as your digital juke box is installed, you can start to improve the music library you offer – which can mean making it smaller, as well as bigger.

Some tracks might not be suitable for your venue. These can be removed from the library or from the menus and search results on the juke box so they can never be selected by customers.

Some songs might only be unsuitable at certain times of day – for instance, you might be happy to offer songs with swearing in them later in the evening when no children are around.

Dynamic profiles can be created that automatically adjust the availability of those songs over the course of the day, so you don’t have to manually switch profiles every evening when your family friendly hours end.

VHub even supports soundjack, an app that means customers can choose songs directly from their smartphone – reducing congestion around your juke box and allowing more songs to be queued overall.

By combining all of these techniques, you can create a music library that is perfectly suited to what your customers want, whether that’s the latest chart music or the old classics dating back 70 years or more.

Fruit machines through the ages

The first fruit machines were slot machines, but the first slot machines were not fruit machines.

That’s because the term ‘slot machine’ originally applied to all coin-op machines, including vending machines and automatic horse racing machines similar to those still found in amusement arcades to this day.

Starting from the 1880s, if you won on one of these horse racing machines, you might receive a prize in the form of cigars or drinks – yes, pub slot machines have existed since the very first days of coin-op gaming machines!

Interestingly, these machines led to a commonly used saying for games that almost (but not quite) landed on a prize – “close, but no cigar”.

 

One-armed bandits and fruit machines

Towards the end of the 1880s, coin-op machines started to pay cash prizes. These included ‘tip the balance’ machines similar to modern-day coin dozer/push-off machines, and ‘wheel of fortune’ style games.

By the mid-1890s, American inventor Charles Fey had created the first slot machines similar to the pub fruit machines you see today.

Fey’s second slot machine to enter mass production was 4-11-44, a one-armed bandit based around the three winning numbers in the lottery game Policy.

Soon after, he created Liberty Bell, and the benchmark was set for modern slot machines. The reels still did not feature fruits, but the combination of playing card suit symbols, plus lucky horseshoes and bells was a big step towards the fruits we know and love today.

 

20th century fruit machines

Fey’s factory – and almost all the first-generation Liberty Bell machines – were destroyed in the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

This disaster may be partly responsible for the rise of 20th century fruit machines. In 1910, a partnership between Fey and the Mills Novelty Company produced Operator Bell, a new version of Liberty Bell with – at last – fruits used as the symbols on the reels.

During the decades that followed, these Mills-produced fruit machines evolved to use wooden cabinets that were much lighter than the original cast iron, and much quieter mechanisms.

 

Modern pub fruit machines

The past 50 years have seen pub fruit machines evolve yet again, with the introduction of secondary feature boards and much more complex gameplay and gamble options.

In the 21st century, touchscreen fruit machines have become more commonplace, with pub quiz machines adding to the gameplay options for patrons too.

The choice is wider than ever – and with new games, features and rules being introduced all the time, who knows where fruit machines will go next??

How pub gaming machines can help you stay open

The British pub industry is showing signs of more positive performance, but recent figures still show pubs are closing at an alarming rate – so could hired pub gaming machines be the answer?

According to a report from Altus Group, nearly 1,000 UK pubs called last orders for the final time in 2018.

That works out to around 76 per month, which is only 55% of the long-term average of 138 closures per month in the first seven years of the decade.

However, the British Beer & Pub Association’s chief executive Brigid Simmonds says pubs are still being taxed out of business.

“Too many pubs are still closing because of huge tax pressures from elsewhere, especially from eye-wateringly high beer duty and VAT, so we cannot be complacent,” she said.

“On a typical pint we pay 46 pence in beer duty and cutting this is one of the best ways to help pubs. Pubs pay on average £140,000 in tax each year.”

A possible way for some venues to increase revenues – and crucially, profits too – is to install more hired pub gaming machines including pool tables, fruit machines, quiz machines and jukeboxes.

 

How do hired pub gaming machines help?

When you install hired pub gaming machines like quiz machines and fruit machines, you diversify your revenue streams while also giving customers more reasons to stay on your premises.

Although there are still taxes to pay, such as Machine Games Duty on pub gaming machines that pay out cash prizes, this is calculated as a percentage of the net profits after deducting any prizes paid out – so pub fruit machines, quiz machines and other cash games remain profitable.

Manco Automatics are able to provide gaming machines on a profit share basis, which reduces the upfront costs even further when you choose to install them on your premises.

There are also plenty of coin-op machines for pubs that do not pay cash prizes, for example pool tables and jukeboxes, all of which add entertainment and customer retention, as well as bringing in cash revenues.

Finally, our pull tab machines are a great way to add a gaming machine to private members clubs, with a variety of different machine sizes and ticket stakes.

The industry may not yet be out of the woods, but circumstances do appear to be improving. By diversifying your income-generating revenue streams with one or more pub gaming machines, you can add to your profits and sail into calmer waters ahead.

Manco Automatics Ltd
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