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Written by Elma Steven | Updated on February, 2024

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Find Out- Is Bowling Alley Business Profitable?

The profitability of your Bowling Alley business depends on 4 important factors: Industry Prospects, Investments, Revenue Sources, Cost and Profitability. We have taken a deep dive to find out potential profitability from the Bowling Alley business. 

Bowling Alley Industry Prospects

The global Bowling Centers market size is projected to reach $9.46 billion by 2023, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9% during 2021-2027 (businessgrowthreports). Additionally, the global Bowling Centers market is estimated to reach $19.6 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 5.9% over the period 2022-2030 (globenewswire). The Bowling Centers market in the US is estimated at $3.6 billion in 2023 and is projected to reach USD 4.2 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 9.3% over the period 2022-2030 (globenewswire). These figures provide an overview of the market size for the Bowling Alley Business in the US and globally in 2023.


  • Bowling Lanes and Equipment: The cost of installing bowling lanes, which includes the lane surface, pinsetters, ball returns andscoring systems.
  • Building Acquisition or Leasehold Improvements: If you’re purchasing a building or leasing a space, significant investment may be needed to remodel or construct the bowling alley to fit your needs.
  • Furniture and Fixtures: Seating for guests, tables andother furniture for the lounge or dining area, as well as the front desk and other areas.
  • Lighting and Sound Systems: Investment in quality lighting and sound systems to enhance the bowling experience.
  • Rental Equipment: Purchasing bowling balls, shoes andother equipment for customer rental.
  • Point of Sale (POS) System and Technology: Cash registers, credit card processing machines anda reservation and lane management system.
  • Signage and Branding: Exterior and interior signage, as well as branding elements for your business.
  • Initial Inventory for Food and Beverage Services: If your bowling alley includes a restaurant or bar, the initial purchase of food and beverage inventory.
  • Kitchen Equipment: If providing food services, the cost of kitchen equipment like ovens, fryers, refrigerators andfreezers.
  • Arcade or Additional Entertainment Options: Costs for arcade games, pool tables, or other entertainment features you plan to offer.
  • Initial Marketing and Advertising: Costs associated with promoting your bowling alley’s grand opening and initial marketing campaigns.
  • Security and Safety Equipment: Security systems, cameras andsafety equipment like fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
  • Legal and Professional Fees: Costs for legal, accounting andconsulting services related to setting up the business.
  • Renovations and Decor: Costs for interior design, artwork andany themed decor to create an inviting atmosphere.

Budgeting for these CapEx items is critical for the successful launch of your bowling alley. It’s important to carefully plan and consider the long-term sustainability of these investments.


  • Lane Rentals: Charging customers for the use of bowling lanes, usually on an hourly basis or per game.
  • Shoe and Equipment Rentals: Revenue from renting out bowling shoes and other equipment like balls and wrist supports.
  • Food and Beverage Sales: If your facility includes a restaurant, bar, or snack counter, sales from food and beverages can be a significant source of revenue.
  • Parties and Events: Hosting birthday parties, corporate events, team-building exercises andother group activities can be a lucrative source of income. You can offer packages that include lane rentals, food andother amenities.
  • League Play and Tournaments: Organizing and hosting bowling leagues and tournaments can attract regular players and generate consistent income. Entry fees and sponsorships can also contribute to revenue.
  • Arcade and Other Games: If your bowling alley includes an arcade or other games (like pool tables or air hockey), income from these can supplement your primary revenue.
  • Merchandise Sales: Selling branded merchandise such as t-shirts, caps, bowling gloves andequipment.
  • Special Promotions and Nightly Events: Hosting themed nights, special promotions andevents like glow-in-the-dark bowling can attract more customers and increase revenue.
  • Membership or Loyalty Programs: Offering membership packages or loyalty programs where customers pay upfront for certain benefits or discounts.
  • Advertising and Sponsorship: Earning revenue from local businesses through in-house advertising or sponsorship deals, particularly for leagues and tournaments.

These revenue streams can help stabilize your income and make your bowling alley business more resilient to market fluctuations. It’s important to continuously assess the demand for different services and adjust your offerings to meet your customers’ needs.

Cost of Services Sold

  • Lane and Equipment Maintenance: Costs for maintaining and repairing bowling lanes, pinsetters, ball returns andother bowling equipment. These costs vary based on usage and the need for repairs.
  • Utility Costs Related to Usage: Additional costs for electricity and water that directly correlate with the operation of the bowling lanes and other facilities, such as arcade games.
  • Inventory Costs for Food and Beverages: If your alley includes a restaurant or bar, the cost of purchasing food and beverage items that will be sold to customers is a variable cost.
  • Cost of Rental Equipment: Maintenance, replacement andcleaning costs for rental items like bowling shoes and balls.
  • Supplies for Operations: This includes items like scorecards, printer ink for scoring systems, cleaning supplies andother consumables used in the daily operation of the business.
  • Staff Wages (Variable Portion): Wages for staff that work in direct service to customers, like lane attendants, bar and restaurant staff, which can vary depending on the number of customers and hours of operation.
  • Costs of Hosting Events: Expenses related to hosting special events, leagues, or tournaments, such as prizes, decorations andadditional staff hours.
  • Marketing and Promotion (Variable Costs): Costs associated with specific marketing campaigns or promotions to attract customers, which might vary from month to month.
  • Wear and Tear of Recreational Equipment: Over time, recreational equipment like arcade machines, pool tables andother entertainment options in your facility will require maintenance and eventual replacement.
  • Costs for Music and Entertainment Licensing: If you have music playing or other licensed entertainment, there may be variable costs associated with these licenses.

Efficient management of these variable costs is crucial for the profitability of your bowling alley business. Keeping track of these expenses helps in pricing your services appropriately and ensuring you maintain a healthy margin to support your business growth.

Operating Expenses

  • Rent or Mortgage Payments: Regular payments for your facility space.
  • Utilities (Fixed Costs): Basic utilities such as electricity, water, gas andinternet that are essential for the operation of your facility, excluding those directly used in customer services.
  • Insurance: Business insurance, including property insurance, liability insurance andpossibly special insurance for recreational businesses.
  • Salaries for Permanent Staff: Wages for your full-time employees, such as management, administrative staff andmaintenance personnel.
  • Marketing and Advertising: Ongoing marketing costs to promote your bowling alley, including website maintenance, social media advertising andtraditional advertising methods.
  • Professional Services: Fees for ongoing professional services, such as accounting, legal advice andconsulting.
  • Office Supplies and Equipment: Regular expenses for office supplies and any equipment necessary for running the administrative side of your business.
  • Maintenance and Cleaning: Costs for routine maintenance and cleaning of non-bowling areas, such as the lobby, restrooms anddining area.
  • Taxes and Licenses: Any business taxes and fees for permits or licenses required to operate your bowling alley.
  • Depreciation: Depreciation of capital assets like bowling equipment, furniture andthe building itself over time.
  • Loan Repayments: If you have financed your business through loans, the regular repayments are part of operating expenses.
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: Any other costs that are necessary for the operation of the business but do not vary with the level of service provided.

It’s important to manage these operating expenses efficiently to maintain the profitability and sustainability of your bowling alley business. Regular review and careful planning of these costs can help in optimizing operations and improving your bottom line.