After ‘Failed’ Reopening Attempt, Bad Axe Throwing CEO Shares ‘Insights’ For Other Small Businesses

Axe-chucking facility is adjusting its operations, something 'that other small businesses need to consider.'

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Bad Axe Throwing reopened in Atlanta last week to “numbers that were disastrous” and CEO Mario Zelaya wants to “caution small businesses from making the same mistakes we made.”

The axe-chucking facility’s reopening on Friday, April 24 came after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed an Executive Order allowing certain non-essential businesses to start reservicing customers even as the state’s shelter-in-place mandate was still in effect.

Over the course of the entire reopening weekend, Bad Axe only saw two customers at its Atlanta location.

“Small businesses need to consider making changes to their operations,” Zelaya said in an email to What Now Atlanta Monday.

“They’ll have to also consider if they’ll be hurting their staff by calling them back to work, only to give them one shift a week for them. They’ll be at a loss since they may no longer be eligible for [unemployment insurance].”

Here’s how Bad Axe is adjusting its business post-closures, something Zelata recommends “that other small businesses need to consider”:

  • Moving to a booking-only model, removing the walk-in option, “this way we can book a shift for a staff member, knowing revenue is coming in.”
  • Smaller staff during ramp-up.
  • Changing minimum requirements to book or lower price options are needed. Normally, to book an event with Bad Axe, you need at least eight people to come into the facility. The company has lowered that to a minimum of four people to book.
  • Incentives such as a free t-shirt with every event to help get more bookings.
  • The reassurance of safety procedures.

“There’s a basic principle in economics that says that if your revenue exceeds your variable costs, you should shut down your operations,” Zelaya said.

“That’s where we were last week and what we’re fixing this week and going forward. Every business needs to ensure they’re taking the same approach in order to survive.”

[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

2 Responses

  1. I was just talking to my buddy who owns a small cafe.
    Given that restaurants need to abide by 39 different safety regulations in order to open– it doubles the work on the restaurant while cutting their available tables in ~half.
    That’s not gonna make it worth it for a lot of restaurants/businesses…

  2. Civil Axe Throwing is bringing the experience to my house this Saturday! I wonder if he’s considered doing that as well?

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