Unsurpassed build quality, comprehensive after sales support, flexibility and the play appeal of iconic licenses are the foundation stones of Bulldog Games, Britain’s newest pusher and redemption brand, according to Tony Glanville, Managing Director of exclusive distributors, RLMS Sales. The Bulldog range which comprises the 4, 6 and 8 player Deal or No Deal models, Monopoly 2p Roll Down, Monopoly Skyscraper and Ben Bones, has captured the imagination of coastal operators following a high profile launch at January’s EAG where the brand dominated the headlines and was the talk of the show.
Reflecting on the launch and the subsequent reception enjoyed by Bulldog, Tony Glanville said: “I don’t think that I’ve been involved in a more detailed R&D programme in my 25-year career in the industry. The team led by Peter Collinge, started with a blank sheet of paper and created a brand to the specifications set out by the people who know this business better than anyone else – the seaside operators.” He continued: “We were told that the quality of the build was paramount. As a result the range is engineered and built in the UK in order to be able to deliver a product that has been produced to the highest standards as opposed to one that's supplied in a flat pack format and has travelled many thousands of miles in a shipping container. The second non-negotiable for our customers is after sales and technical support. If a pusher position goes down operators are faced with a huge potential loss of income which is why Bulldog pushers come with a complete spares support kit including the PC, lamps, coin mech and a full set of machine glasses. There’s also a dedicated service support team providing technical back-up and a spares order line which operates 364 days a year on a 24 hour part turnaround. From a sales support perspective it really is the complete package that provides operators with the confidence they quite rightly expect from their suppliers.”
While the media focus has understandably been on the Monopoly and Deal Or No Deal licensed products held exclusively by Bulldog, one of the unsung heroes in the range is Ben Bones which has been developed in-house by the Bulldog Games team. Explaining its appeal Tony Glanville said: “Ben Bones is a visually stunning piece which offers the player a range of experiences and the operator the flexibility in terms of ticket win values and the ability to complement other products in order to maximise bottom line profits rather than cannibalise income from one product to another.
“The Bulldog Games offering is not limited to the delivery of excellent product backed by best of breed after sales support. Driven by a mission to make the brand accessible to the widest market possible we have introduced a range of purchase options which include a revenue share agreement which enables sites to operate Bulldog products through to the October half term when they will then be given the option to purchase. It’s a compelling offer which underlines the confidence that we have in the Bulldog portfolio."
Bulldog Games MD on why it always pays to listen
Peter Collinge has enjoyed an illustrious career spread over four decades and including senior operating roles at Gamestec, Games Media and Inspired Gaming. As Operations Director at Leisure Projects where he was responsible for a 150 coastal arcade operation, he got to understand the nuances and unique characteristics of the seaside business, a background that has served him well as Managing Director of the industry’s newest redemption brand, Bulldog Games. Unveiled to the industry at EAG in January, Bulldog has enjoyed a spectacular first quarter with sales 86% ahead of forecast. Coinslot spoke to Peter about all things ‘coastal’ and how Bulldog has been making waves in one of the amusement industry's most mature market sectors.
What’s different about operating at the coast?
First and foremost I believe the amount of competition coastal operators face is much greater than that of inland venues. Walk down the seafront at most coastal destinations and there will be ten or more different arcades fighting for the very same leisure pound. As a consequence they have to dress their shop windows and show off their product to a far greater level in order to attract and retain players. It’s not just about being a good machine operator any more: it’s about being an even better marketing and promotions company. Added value is so important, standing out from the crowd, providing a far greater guest experience. That’s not to say the inland venues don’t - there are some fantastic quality offers in the bowling sector where delivering a positive customer experience is also of paramount importance.
You spent a lot of time during R&D talking with FEC operators and listening to their advice – how important was this?
The discussions we had with FEC operators were fundamental to the development of the Bulldog range, both in terms of engineering and game design. A good example would be the time we spent with the highly respected East Coast operator Brian Bell: the advice and guidance he gave us was totally invaluable. People from the Bell Fruit factory from every part of the design and build team spent many hours talking to him, we listened to what could be done better, we learnt from the masters and applied it right through the design and build process. Designing new product and testing, talking to owners, to players, making fine tweaks, learning from our mistakes, keeping an open mind, instilling a culture of continuous improvement - all these factors contributed to the process and helped us to arrive where we are now with what is one of the industry’s most exciting brands and one that’s earning income for our customers.
How much importance have you placed on the quality of the build and after service?
Looking back to my time in operations you never forget the frustrations when machines were out of order and you are left waiting literally weeks for a part to arrive on a 'slow boat from China'. Because of this, it was very important to me to ensure the machines we manufacture here in the UK are reliable. We all know machines can break down and when they do you need a first class service and spares support. Bulldog pushers come with a complete spares support kit including the PC, lamps, coin mech and a full set of machine glasses. We also have a dedicated service support team who provide technical assistance and a spares order line which operates 364 days a year on a 24 hour part turnaround - so in essence any downtime should be kept to the absolute minimum. We have all experienced the issues that go along with poorly manufactured machines, built overseas, flat packed with poor after sales support. By contrast, Bulldog machines are British designed and manufactured just like the Great British Seaside. We are very proud of that fact.
Post launch how important has it been for you to be at the coal face speaking with operators at the coast. What have you learned?
In essence I learnt what I thought I already knew! Being on site talking to operators, picking up and sharing knowledge is fundamental. No one in my position should lose sight of the fact that operators on the arcade floor know their customers and they know what works and what doesn’t. We listened we learnt, we took the best ideas and worked with them until between us we got it right. Having said that it doesn’t stop there, we continue to talk, we continue to listen and as a consequence we continue to learn. It has and it continues to be an invaluable experience.
Of all the resorts that you’ve been to which ones do you like most and why?
Since January I’ve spent 100 days at the seaside in different resorts. They all have their own unique characteristics and deliver a brilliant customer experience. A walk down the sea front at Skegness brings home just how hard the coastal operators work to provide the very best in family entertainment. It’s unique and I can’t think of anywhere else in the world that you would find anything that’s comparable. As you can probably tell, I’m a massive fan of the British seaside.
Why do you think redemption is so popular?
It’s great competitive fun for all the family. Mum, dad and the grandparents can join in and play as a group, compete against each other and walk away with prizes. You see people walking along a promenade with a giant cuddly toy and a huge smile and you know it’s been a rewarding experience and it has created a memory which the family can share and look back on. Many children’s early memories are from days at the coast with their families doing exactly that - it’s priceless.
What’s the biggest challenge facing coastal operators in 2018?
I’m not sure if the challenges really change from year to year. It’s a fashion industry and you have to keep up with the trends. Redemption in now a core part of every coastal operation. Merchandise is the driving energy behind any redemption operation and it’s the reason that players will visit the venue. You have no control on visitors going to the seaside but once they are there it’s over to the operator to attract the players and keep them by providing a great value for money family experience.
Finally, can you summarise the appeal of the Great British Seaside Holiday in three words?
Super, Smashing, Great!
The Bulldog Games brand of pushers and redemption equipment, which has reported Q1 sales that are 86 percent ahead of pre-launch forecasts, is being made available to operators on a unique revenue share agreement. RLMS Sales, the exclusive distributors for the Bulldog range, has introduced a ground breaking option that will enable operators to share in the cash box through to the completion of the October half term holidays when they will then be given an option to buy.
Tony Glanville, Managing Director of RLMS Sales, believes the array of purchasing options makes Bulldog a brand that’s accessible to every location and every business type. He explained: “We continue to work very closely with seaside operators and to understand the market dynamics and the contributions that we can make to help maximise profits. Clearly, the most important component part is the development of outstanding product and I’m delighted at the response that we’ve experienced both at EAG when we launched the brand and in the subsequent order book.
"The second area we have focused on is making the range available to the widest audience possible. The revenue share option is a sign of the confidence that we have in Bulldog. After operators have sited our products for the season we believe that having experienced the products on site that they will exercise the option to purchase. Whatever the outcome they will be able to add the energy and dynamism of the industry’s newest pusher brand to their operation without having to make any capital expenditure. It’s a win-win situation which we are delighted to be able to offer. The shares option is one of a number that RLMS has created for the industry. Operators can take advantage of a two year rental agreement with an option to purchase, an HP arrangement which is available over a two year term and a straightforward purchase. The key objective is to make Bulldog a brand to be enjoyed by everyone."
The Bulldog brand is manufactured in the UK and is backed by a comprehensive and detailed after sales and technical support which has been developed to keep machine downtime to an absolute minimum.
Bulldog Games the pusher and redemption brand that was unveiled to the industry at EAG, has enjoyed a stellar launch with sales 86% ahead of forecasts. The figures cover the first quarter of 2018 and relate to sales of Bulldog’s 4, 6 and 8 player Deal or No Deal models, Monopoly 2p Roll Down, Monopoly Skyscraper and Ben Bones.
RLMS Managing Director, Tony Glanville, whose team is responsible for distributing the Bulldog range in the UK, believes the brand has brought a new zest and energy to what is a mature market. He said: “The response we received from operators at EAG was nothing short of phenomenal and I’m delighted to confirm that the enthusiasm for the Bulldog brand has been sustained and is evident in the order book.
“Bulldog is the result of an extensive and in-depth R&D process which has drawn on the experience and insight gained by consulting with many of the industry’s most knowledgeable and respected FEC operators. Their thinking and vast experience has inspired the brand and it’s that level of attention to detail, the quality of the build – which is exclusively UK-based – and the appeal of exclusive licenses that are instantly recognisable which explain what are fantastic and highly encouraging figures.”
RLMS Sales are buoyant heading into summer with their Bulldog brand delivering a fresh perspective in a very traditional environment. Tony Glanville explains why the seaside sector is the place to be over these
Both for yourself, and the wider scope of the industry, how important are coastal operations?
They are hugely important and for a number of reasons. The coast represents the foundations of the modern amusements and low stake gaming industry and for many people their first contact with a piece of amusements equipment will have taken place at the seaside. Ask the man or woman in the street to describe an inland AGC and they will probably struggle but ask them to describe a seaside arcade and the response will be totally different. The seaside is one part of the amusements landscape that really resonates with the population something which probably goes right back to childhood holidays. As a company we spend a lot of time at the coast and following the launch of the Bulldog brand that level of commitment has increased even further. Bulldog managing director, Peter Collinge, led the R&D team which drew heavily on the experience of seaside operators who know the sector inside and out. We have continued that approach in the marketing of the product range and I am a huge believer in really understanding the personalities, the businesses and the market sectors that we are selling into. None of this is possible unless you spend time in the environment and experience it first hand.
Have you seen any particular products, or product types finding success ahead of this summer?
RLMS are exclusive distributors for the Bulldog range and we’ve been party to the really extensive and in-depth R&D commitment that has defined the brand. The key factors that set the Bulldog brand apart are the contributions and insight made by leading seaside operators, the quality of the all British build, the after sales commitment, the strength of the Monopoly and Deal Or No Deal licenses that are exclusive to the brand, the range of terms that we are able to offer and the commitment and backing of Novomatic UK. It’s a formidable list of features which are striking a chord with operators and which explain our really strong Q1 sales figures which are 86% ahead of forecast.
Is the British seaside in the midst of a comeback? If so, what do you feel has driven this?
I would say most definitely so. People experience their leisure time in a variety of ways and are no longer locked into the concept of a fortnight away. Day trips or weekends at the coast are becoming increasingly popular and resort economies are tapping into this. The ‘staycation’ is a reality and not just a marketing term. From an amusements perspective the market has experienced a period of consolidation and the upshot has been a quite dramatic raising of standards. Operators at the coast work hard and they work smart. There’s a dedication to the business, a pride in the resort in which the businesses are based and a real professionalism in the ways in which they market themselves as part of an amusements/tourism proposition. There’s no doubt that coastal operators define the Great British seaside holiday and we are proud to be making our own contribution to that institution.
The umbrella term of coastal operators covers a wide variety of premises, both geographically and in terms of offering, how important is it to have a flexible portfolio to accommodate this?
We’ve been very conscious of the need to create a portfolio of products that suit all locations and business types. We have delivered that by creating games of various sizes from Ben Bones, which has a footprint of two AWPs through to the eight player Monopoly and Deal Or No Deal pushers which serve as really powerful centrepiece attractions. The second way that we have addressed this is by offering terms which meet the needs of operators including a revenue share option. There are only two areas that we refuse to budge on and that’s the quality of the final product and an unstinting commitment to after sales and technical support.
How important is the East Coast as a market for your company?
Preparations are now complete for the 2018 East Coast Amusement Show, with National distribution firm RLMS Sales part of Novomatic UK unveiling a fantastic range of products which will be on show over the four days. As in 2017 the show will take place at both the Mercure George Washington Hotel, Washington on 14th/15th May and the Southview Park Hotel, Skegness on 17th/18th May.
The line-up includes Astra’s stunning Big Bonus Wheel addition to their incredibly successful VIP Lounge, Elemental Dragons 3 Player and their eye catching Video End of Bank Displays. From Bulldog Games we have the two world famous licenced products with Deal or No Deal Pusher and Monopoly Rolldown with Ben Bones completing an outstanding range of ticket redemption equipment.
National distributor RLMS Sales part of Novomatic UK is a One Stop Shop for the very best in Cat C and operators looking to add to their offering should look no further.
With products from Novomatic UK Group Companies Bell-Fruit Games and Astra Games as well as other supply partners Project Coin, Electrocoin, Fatcat Softworks, G Squared Games and Jabro Games the firms Cat C offering is a comprehensive range that has something for every operator.
The firms stunning range of products covers Hi tech and Lo tech, video or analogue, single games and compendiums, complete machines or kits and single or multi players.
Managing director Tony Glanville commented, “We have something in our portfolio for all operators that can help them refresh their offering in a way that suits their budget. We carry Cat C new, rebuild and used products in stock so there is always something available.”
Another key aspect of the RLMS Sales philosophy is to encourage a more consultative approach to its customers. We work hard with clients to understand more about the specific requirements of their businesses. “The aim is to identify more accurately the kind of product that best suits their individual needs. So basically if you want the right advice to get the right product at the right price on the right commercial terms the right call to make is to RLMS Sales!”
RLMS Sales’ website (www.rlms-sales.com) is also a One Stop Shop for all your product information needs, not only covering their incredible Cat C range, but all leisure and gaming products in the firm’s portfolio. You’ll find all the details you need to help you making a purchase, including product demonstration videos of the latest cat C lo-tech games.
Coinslot: What is it about Cat C units that makes them so popular?
FEC operators who need to refresh their ticket redemption offering and to stay ahead of other leisure venues need look no further than the impressive portfolio on offer from national distributor RLMS Sales. Accessing the very best in Ticket Redemption games and the soundest customer advice available. Part of NOVOMATIC UK, RLMS Sales adopts a specialist approach to each product sector and the Ticket Redemption genre is no exception.
The firm currently has a stunning range of Ticket Redemption equipment with its exclusive distribution deal of Bulldog Games range of products launched with great fanfare and to critical acclaim at EAG 2018.
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