Unlike most people who start a business to fulfill their dreams, Frank Tate opened his based on a dare.
Working in the music industry, he didn't have any kid-centric business experience. He opened Super Franks six years ago, eager to bring families a "safe, clean and fun" entertainment center where both kids and parents could enjoy at an affordable price.
"I won the dare, but I lost my freedom," he joked.
Multiple rooms, each with their own theme, keeps kids of all ages entertained and amused. Tate used vibrant-colored wall murals to transform the facility where kids can tumble, play age-appropriate video games in the arcade and enjoy other activities.
From a glow-in-the-dark underwater room known as the "Fish Tank" to "Taught Town," an edu-tainment room geared towards kids 5 and under; for $8, kids are offered unlimited play time which can also include a music circle, story time and craft time depending on the time of day.
An on-site gym lets toddlers tumble and wears them out to the point where parents often say "our kids take such great naps after the come out of here," according to Tate.
"For parents by parents," is the facility's main motto according to Tate, who has a 10 and 13-year-old.
Mom or dad can enjoy Starbucks, which is brewed in the establishment daily, watch the game on the giant projectors while enjoying a cold beer or surf the web on the facility's free Wi-Fi, all while keeping one eye on the kids.
"If I can make [the parents] happy, the kids are super easy," Tate said.
All the food is made in house, except the macaroni and cheese. Tate said they tried to serve mac and cheese made from scratch, buts kids just really preferred the boxed kind.
"My kids eat here more than anyone else," he said, therefore, he makes sure the food is made from the best ingredients possible. Tate often asks them for their opinions, which have done well for the business.
"Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for," he said.
Despite the recession, Super Franks remains in business because it is driven mostly by the weather, according to Tate. They are busiest during the winter months when it's too cold to take the kids to the park and play outside.
Tate also ties his success to his staff. He said in the past years they've been open, nearly 300 people have worked at Super Franks, many of who held their first jobs there.
"It's so fun to watch our staff rise to the occasion and grow," he said.
Employees have mostly come from Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin and San Ramon. However, Tate said he's also hired staff from as far as Tracy.
For future business owners looking to follow in Tate's footsteps, he advises that they figure out their audience — his being kids 7 and under — and how to market their product to meet the demands of that target audience.
"Who's your audience, whats your product and how can you monetize it?"
For more information on Super Franks, visit www.superfranks.com
Are you and your kids frequent visitors at Super Franks? What do you enjoy most about it? What do your kids like to do there?