By Parag Deulgaonkar
Company plans to expand into Abu Dhabi and Kuwait
You have only 60 minutes to escape from the world of Jumanji or Alcatraz prison, or crack the Da Vinci Code – all in Dubai. But if you can’t, don’t fear to be locked in forever.
Dubai-based Escape Reality, an escape-room game concept, has opened the doors of its first centre on Sheikh Zayed Road, with the 22-year-old company director Bhakti Khubchandani announcing her plans to open more centres across the Gulf countries and globally.
The company, which will be investing about $18.25 million (AED67 million) in the business, has already opened centres in Glasgow, Scotland; Cardiff and Manchester, UK. It is set to open its Leeds centre on March 20, followed by the opening of Los Angeles and Chicago in April.
“After Dubai, we are now looking at Abu Dhabi and are in talks with a company for a joint venture in Kuwait,” she told Arabian Business.
The escape room industry is about three year’s old and is one of those concepts that is entirely learning and educational, Bhakti said.
“So it’s an ideal way for all types of people and age groups - students, corporates or even a grandfather with a grandchild - to come in and do an activity together where it not only gives them an experience that is super fun but is also something where they feel like they have learnt lessons that they can take with them outside from the experience itself.”
The company, Bhakti said, is more in favour of striking joint ventures and opening its own stores despite having signed 19 franchise agreements in the UK.
“We have had a few franchise enquiries in Dubai after people visited our centre in the emirate [during our soft opening], but surprisingly they were not for the Middle region. But we do hope more franchise enquiries coming in as business picks up,” she said.
At present, the Dubai centre has eight escape rooms, which the company said will be enhanced in technology terms over the time.
“Whenever we open a centre, we take a combination of our existing 22 game rooms to find what is best suited for the market. For example in Dubai, we have one of the rooms where we have adapted a puzzle to do with Arabic.”
Bhakti also termed the escape rooms as one of the best ways to develop team building exercise for corporates.
“Senior company executives can watch their team play and understand which person remains cool in a tough situation, who takes credit, or is the leader of the pack. They can then use their strengths when they go back to their workplace,” she said.
The cost per person ranges from $27.25 (AED100) to $38.15 (AED140).