Norfolk restaurant adds arcade for family-friendly entertainment | Business

A new venue for family entertainment now can be found at the Sunset Plaza Mall in Norfolk.

The Pizza Ranch FunZone is officially opened on May 13. The addition of the arcade is part of a larger expansion project that has been in the works at the Norfolk Pizza Ranch for a few years.

“We’re excited to provide this fun-filled family service,” said Steve Denn, who with his wife, Dawn, is an owner of the Norfolk Pizza Ranch. “It’s stress-free. It’s fun.”

The FunZone features more than 31 games, including virtual reality, cranes, pushers and three types of basketball games. It also includes a Monopoly game and Jurassic World Thrills, where players hunt dinosaurs in the park, Denn said.

The arcade is equipped with a self-service card kiosk and a redemption counter than includes prizes with a wide range of value.

“At the end, if you’ve got 150 points and that little 4-year-old wants his toy now, he can go pick it, or if you’ve got junior high kids that want to get the 5,000-point big Lego set or the 35,000-point Nintendo Switch, they can do that,” Denn said. “We’ve got long boards, Air Pods and plug-in coolers for your car.”

The FunZone concept was started by Pizza Ranch’s corporate office. Norfolk’s was the 50th to open and was part of a larger expansion project that has been in the planning stages for a while.

The company that put the arcade together is the same one that designed the arcade at the bowling alley, Denn said. When the planning stages for Pizza Ranch’s FunZone began, no other such venue existed in Norfolk.

“We put ours on hold for COVID,” he said.

Norfolk Pizza Ranch owners Steve and Dawn Denn (center) stand with Christel Schuller (from left), Maesik Denn, Marrix Denn and Kim Black inside the new Pizza Ranch Fun Zone arcade.

Denn said the extra 3,100 square feet now used by Pizza Ranch includes new party rooms that can accommodate crowds from maximums of 16 to 52 people. The rooms can be reserved without a deposit and can be used in tandem with various party packages that are available for purchase.

“Our main goal was to promote family fun, birthday parties, family events and business parties in the afternoon,” Denn said.

Denn said additional staff had been hired at Pizza Ranch. Denn’s daughter, Maesik, is the FunZone manager, and other staff members — including his son, Merrix, general manager Kim Black and Christel Schueller — have been cross-trained to work at both the restaurant and arcade, as well.

While FunZone customers don’t have to eat at Pizza Ranch to use the arcade, they do have to enter through either the restaurant’s main or mall entrance. There is no direct entrance to the arcade. Instead, a wall of glass — decorated with one-way vision film that features pictures of the games that can be found inside the arcade — separates the FunZone from the interior of the mall.

Denn said requiring customers to enter through the restaurant’s doors helps Pizza Ranch employees monitor the number of people in the arcade, which, in turn, provides a more enjoyable experience for the guests.

“My biggest goal is I just want satisfied customers,” Denn said.


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