Just two months after opening its doors, it’s tough to find a table during peak evening hours at Ottawa’s Monopolatte cafe.
Ottawa board game cafe Monoplatte is located at 640 Somerset St. W. (photo provided).
Billed as the only board game cafe in the national capital, patrons can have light meals while enjoying any of the hundreds upon hundreds of games on offer at the store.
Word of mouth and social media are the primary venues for advertising right now, and more targeted advertising will be coming up soon, said David Narbaitz, Monoplatte’s owner.
“The day tends to be pretty slow; we probably have three or four tables [used] during the day hours. That gives us a bit of time to prepare for the evening rush,” he said.
“That will improve in the future. We will have alternative forms of advertising to older generations,” he added, saying that he plans to make individual pitches to institutions that he think would be interested in bringing their patrons there.
“Eventually we hope to put in a ramp,” he said, “and maybe we can do some cross promotion with old age homes and get a bus to come by for the afternoon or whatnot.”
Patrons range from schoolchildren to senior citizens, with a core demographic of working professionals between 25 to 30 years old.
The cafe employs 10 part-time people. There is room right now for expansion, either by adding more hours to those shifts or by bringing in an 11th person, Mr. Narbaitz said.
Monopolatte is the first venture for Mr. Narbaitz, who has been a board game enthusiast since childhood. The first 150 games for the cafe came from his personal collection. Others were picked up from local garage sales, at “every Value Village between here and Toronto," and from wholesalers.
“Space is a concern,” Mr. Narbaitz said of his desire to acquire new games. They have “five or six shelves just full to the brim with games. Every time I add one, I have to take another away, but you take out the weaker games and then put in the better games.”
While he’s content with the space he has available now at 640 Somerset St. W., one day Mr. Narbaitz said a bigger location would be nice.
Meanwhile, he’s keeping an eye out for competing concepts.
“We’ll see how it plays out,” he said. “There are other board game cafes in Ottawa on the horizon, so we’ll see when they enter the market how much demand there is.”