FT Reporters Take a look at 3 Experiential Franchises | Franchise Information


From left, Museum of Illusions serves up heads on platters, X-Golf is healthier for normal golfers and Escapology puzzled this editorial staff.

Ever marvel how customers really feel about your franchise? Editorial staffers Matthew Liedke, Emilee Wentland, Megan Glenn, Laura Michaels and Beth Ewen try three manufacturers in a unique style every situation, and report again. 

You’ll be able to take a photograph of your head on a platter on the Museum of Illusions in Chicago. Or seem like a tiny little one sitting on a chair whereas your giant-sized companion pats your head. Or stroll on the ceiling, all for the worth of $21. These are simply three of the displays on the new franchise now increasing in america. Began in 2015 by Roko Živkovi and Tomislav Pamukovi, two buddies in Zagreb, Croatia, the Museum of Illusions has unfold to greater than 40 areas in 25 international locations around the globe, together with Paris, Dubai, Toronto, Muscat, Kuala Lumpur, Berlin and Vienna. The pair “curated” optical illusions acquainted to many—from “true mirrors” that replicate how others see you to “portrait eyes” that comply with your path to “vortex tunnels” that spin round a stationary walkway whilst you strive to not fall off. This location is tiny in comparison with many around the globe, and buddies who visited elsewhere (in a fort!) discovered Chicago’s spot disappointing. That’s a problem for a franchise, created to supply uniform experiences.

The upshot: Who doesn’t desire a image of their head on a platter? The Museum of Illusions gives an offbeat outing for anybody. —B.E.

Whereas probably not into sports activities, exceptions may be made if drinks, snacks and friends are concerned. X-Golf, an indoor golf simulator with 80-plus areas together with within the Minneapolis suburb of Woodbury, supplied the primary two together with superior simulators and a number of programs from around the globe. In contrast to Topgolf, which focuses extra on the social facet of the expertise, X-Golf felt geared towards golfers who wish to follow their swings within the offseason. Areas provide classes and league play. Given our group’s basic lack of expertise teeing up photographs, we opted for a scramble format to make one of the best of our two hours, which at $35 an hour appeared like a great weekday deal. With some cocktails and snacks ordered—the chips and queso had been superb however nothing particular—we cut up into two groups to play 9 holes. Laughs, together with loads of double and triple bogeys, abounded. Unsurprisingly, we didn’t end 9 holes.

The upshot: X-Golf might be extra enjoyable if in case you have some golf expertise and want to excellent your sport inside earlier than heading out to hit the hyperlinks. For a enjoyable good friend outing, I’d most likely quite go bowling. —E.W.

A go to to Escapology in a considerably lonely mall 20 miles south of Minneapolis thrust our group right into a world of curses, evil ministers and a lifeless congregation providing clues to save lots of the following sufferer earlier than it was too late. Such was the setting for “7 Lethal Sins,” the sinister theme and considered one of 5 sport choices at this escape room franchise. The objective? Kill the immortal minister to finish the curse, discover the key amulet and escape. The puzzles had been difficult, with a problem score of 8.5/10, some involving loads of brainpower and others testing dexterity. The sport’s development moved our five-person group by three rooms, every with sufficient puzzles—or crimson herrings—to make sure nobody ever felt not noted. We would have liked all three hints from the gamemaster, plus a few nudges, to get out with lower than 2 minutes to spare. Spending an hour locked in a room isn’t everybody’s concept of a great time, however for many who love puzzles and video games it’s a enjoyable escape—pun supposed.

The upshot: One other Escapology go to? Sure, please. For $32 an individual, the worth is common for an escape room and accommodating sufficient for all to get pleasure from. —M.G.