Sidoli on re-opening: Finding opportunity in adversity

Paolo Sidoli SB Machines
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In optimising the number of children’s rides at any one site, Paolo Sidoli of SB Machines has prioritised quality over quantity in the face of pandemic guidelines.


With social distancing comes opportunity to downsize, claims children’s ride specialist Paolo Sidoli. With FEC users told to keep their distance and owners limiting customer capacities, Sidoli has adapted by reducing the number of shared rides – focussing on prize pieces whilst raising the price of play to £2 and simultaneously adding the contactless payment option to all of his rides.

“Revenues per ride on SB managed sites have increased circa 40-50 percent so far compared to last year because we are now siting only our newest and most popular rides. Our older estate (circa 3-5 year old rides) has been completely removed. Coupled with arcades thinning out the amount they are operating in general, it has been a revelation to us.”

Sidoli added: “We accept that as distributors we will have to forget 2020 and concentrate our efforts for 2021, like everyone else. At this moment in time, our after sales team has been overwhelmed yet our response times are better than ever. But as a broad based business it only serves to compensate for some of the shortfalls our coin-op sector has been managing during this restrictive period.”

But he insists, this downturn has been partially offset by an upsurge in coin drop at coastal locations. He continues: “For example, it has been exceptional for everybody in leisure, catering and hospitality in Porthcawl. Many colleagues of mine who are not directly involved in coin-op have had their best ever July, and August is on course to break records despite the weather getting a little more inclement. As a result, FEC’s have benefitted very well from this”

And it is this positivity that Sidoli keeps his eye on. “The theme is quality not quantity and to deliver superior levels of service that sets your business apart from the others.”

Covid 19 has delivered many shocks and surprises, but it has also provided a ‘fresh opportunity’ for FEC’s to once again really raise the bar with their equipment and service offerings.

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