A team featuring many former executives from popular “eatertainment” brand Kings Dining & Entertainment, has banded together with the support of several other seasoned professionals to form a new and innovative concept, Ke’nekt, launching in 2021. The team, with over 200 years of combined experience in the field, is channeling their collective expertise into a vision for the future centered around a better, safer, more innovative and more “real” experience that consumers would crave in the boutique dining and entertainment space. The large footprint concept, between 18 to 34 thousand square feet, has been designed as the new “anchor tenant” for popular lifestyle centers as the traditional brick and mortar retail industry, which until March was already skating on thin ice, has taken an incredible hit that has forced many once-blue chip “anchor” retail brands into bankruptcy.
Josh Rossmeisl, a decorated, 25 year industry veteran, led Kings’ growth as COO and is at the helm as the CEO and Founder of AMP UP1 Hospitality Group, parent company to Ke’nekt. “This pandemic has been absolutely devastating to so many individuals, families and businesses,” says Rossmeisl. “But if history has taught us anything, it’s that we, as humans, are remarkable, resilient and we are biologically wired to crave social connections. Once we all weather this storm, I predict we’ll see an incredible resurgence to our industry and this amazing team and our partners are going to be introducing some exciting innovations that we believe will make this brand quite popular.”
Rossmeisl unveiled several differentiators that will help the Ke’nekt brand evolve the popular “eatertainment” segment:
- A recurring membership program that is designed to give all access to members to use the facility’s dozens of fun experiences and features on demand and will be offering an exclusive booking platform for members to reserve space in advance.
- The “Ke’nektions platform that uses proprietary software to match members’ gaming, food and beverage interests, along with personality traits and preferences, to other members. Once matched, members can chat, optimize schedules and secure a reservation with the click of a button, making for a uniquely seamless meetup experience that marries the traditional digital world with the analog. The platform will not only help members find love, but also friendships, social groups, networking opportunities and more.
- Instead of the usual booths, tables, and hightops of bars and restaurants, each Ke’nekt will have 10-16 “Cabanas” with comfortable seating and small tables for 4-24 guests, much like VIP areas at a nightclub. Cabanas are modular and allow for games to be brought right to the groups marrying food, beverage and gaming into a space designed to entertain. Guests can convene in their space or “wade into the ocean” of activities throughout the space.
- An Indoor/Outdoor activity-centric beer garden with pour-your-own craft beer capabilities and unique lawn game inspired activities in this indoor greenscape that connects to the venue’s sprawling outdoor patio space.
- Each guest fills out a “bucket list” with their “Connector” (Server) that encourages exploration of new activities and customizes the experience around personal goals moving away from the “one size fits all” experience they’ve come to expect from other similar venues
- Tapas-style small plates dining, with an Executive Chef driven, Latin, Asian fusion flair, designed for sharing and exploration and allowing for seasonal rotation and fast service.
- A built in cafe featuring nitro cold brew on tap, matcha infused drinks, and even CBD-infused coffee among the cafe classics. Ke’nekt wants its patrons to not just visit their “cafe” for alcohol, but plan to create a creativity centric co-working experience during the day and evenings under the premise that some of the best connections and creativity happens over coffee.
- Nearly 20 “low tech” games in the “analog” collection, void of any technology that the team believes will be popular in the setting designed for genuine human interaction. The resurgence of “analog” games post pandemic will prove significant.
- Dozens of gaming options including bowling lanes and private bowling suites, billiards, shuffleboard, and ping pong, along with dozens of retro, interactive arcade games and head-to-head games such as “Pop-a-Shot”.
With innovations centered around creating community, connection and pure, exploratory fun, the team is pushing their chips all in on the growth of the “experience revolution” as Millennial and Gen-Z audiences, wired for interconnectedness, are likely to be eager to reconvene on a new level as they define the “next normal. A study by Harris Group found that 72 percent of millennials would rather open their wallets more for experiences rather than material items. The reactance theory suggests this will grow stronger when the COVID-19 dust settles.
The team is actively working on several locations in its pipeline in some of the most attractive projects being developed across the country. “There is no shortage of really great opportunities and we plan to carefully choose the right locations and make sure we grow only as fast as we can deliver the top-level entertainment experience we want to be known for”, added Rossmeisl when he talked about the brand’s growth. The group has several active investors and key partners who are working with the team to launch the brand and support the growth who see not only the strong business model but the opportunity in this space as consumer habits change and many brands reduce their size. The brand plans to operate in every major market in the country and has begun mapping out a calculated growth trajectory throughout the states and hinted at eventual international expansion.
Ke’nekt is an innovative experiential “Eatertainment 2.0” destination marrying social gaming, tapas-style dining, and creative craft beverages. Ke’nekt creates a clean, safe, social environment rooted in the idea that low-tech games foster conversation, laughter, and genuine human connection. Guests can “unplug” with options like bowling, billiards, shuffleboard, and dozens of specially curated retro arcade and head-to-head games, enjoy the gaming-centric “beer garden”, or gather in one of the Ke’nekt Cabanas, Karaoke Suites, or Private Bowling rooms. By day, guests frequent the built-in Ke’nekt Cafe featuring premium coffee, espresso, and matcha drinks before transforming into a full-scale social gaming emporium by night complete with top local DJ’s. Loyal guests can enjoy the membership program offering competitive perks, social community and the proprietary Ke’nektions platform which matches members interests and allows them to schedule and make reservations for live meetups. For more information, please visit www.Kenekt.xyz.
AMP Up1 Hospitality Group was founded by a seasoned group of hospitality leaders as an incubator to grow and evolve the “Eatertainment” segment of the industry. Amp Up1 is the parent company for the innovative experiential dining brand, Ke’nekt, known for its differentiated, industry-defining food, beverage and gaming offerings. AMP Up1 also serves as a consulting group to Eatertainment and restaurant concepts, driving results through a proven systematic, people-first approach. The company, with over 200 years of combined hospitality experience, has a broad range of expertise in the field including operations, finance, HR, F&B management and development, social media, web design, graphic design, facility and gaming management, IT, risk management, real estate and more. For more information, please visit www.Ampup1.com.
Whitlock Design Group is on the forefront of hospitality and retail design with a large portfolio of dynamic and innovative retail, restaurant and entertainment venues. Their fresh and trend setting approach tell a unique story about each project, with cutting edge architecture and interior design concepts.For more information, please visit whitlockdesigns.com.