Written by Joan Mantini, Associate Editor at Casino Journal.
Gary Platt Manufacturing LLC has been in the casino seating business since 1996, and today they produce seating exclusively for casinos including slots, table games, poker, bar-top and bingo.
The company was founded on the concept that a high quality more comfortable chair would increase player’s time on device. By specializing in casino seating, Gary Platt has become one of the recognized leaders in performance seating by casino customers and casino management. The company features a very robust and creative product development team that is willing to work with casinos and designers to help them realize their vision.
Casino Journal Associate Editor Joan Mantini recently touched base with Skip Davis, president of Gary Platt Manufacturing, to discuss their focus on social seating for the casino floor and company plans for 2017. Below are some excerpts from that conversation:
What role does social spaces and seating play in your product development?
Davis: To date, our focus on social seating for the casino floor has been primarily centered on custom designed creations, such as benches and sound chairs. Off the casino floor, our operator partners have been utilizing our bar and other type seating for their social space. We anticipate our customers will have increasing interest in this area as they reach out to new demographics, and our design teams are continually conducting research in this area.
In recent years, what are some of the things you have learned and integrated into your products to help create the look and comfort for the Millennials at casinos?
Davis: We have developed new models that incorporate modern design elements, to give our customers an even greater choice of the look and brand feel they want to project to their Millennial customers and other customer segments. Multi-player benches, sound benches and customized seating options have also been interesting to our customers.
What do you think casino operators are looking for to keep their casino furniture up to date?
Davis: Keeping casino furniture up-to-date is part of a larger question of profitability… as operators, how can we keep our casino up-to-date, profitable and maintaining a high ROI? These factors certainly were a consideration for del Lago, MGM National Harbor and Rivers Casino—three new properties that exclusively chose Gary Platt Products. What we have found in supplying high performance casino seating to customers across North America and around the world is that operators are looking for furniture that will help them improve the financial performance of their casino. This can be interpreted many ways, but primarily means enhancing the experience they create for their players by providing attractive seating with unsurpassed comfort. Our design teams are continually innovating, and our current designs, ergonomically correct seat construction, and chairs that are easy-to-move/re-position are three important factors we take into consideration, based on operator feedback. Our customers also tell us they need durable products that will perform over a long period to improve their ROI. Of course, every operator wants to make a deliberate statement by introducing new and innovative products to their guests, and that includes seating. That’s why we recently introduced new and modern design options, such as our new Monaco model and our Epic base.
What is the importance of seating to the modern, land-based casino environment?
Davis: Our research has proven that quality, comfortable seating is one of the variables that contribute to the success of the modern casino. We all know players gravitate to a particular casino for many reasons, which could include factors such as proximity, service, games, player reward programs, restaurants, social aspects and others. What we know from our two decades of experience in the casino space is a casino’s seating has to be inviting and comfortable. Operators spend an enormous amount of money to get players to games. So once the players are seated at the games, they need and want to be as comfortable as possible. This is true for standard-limit areas as well as high-limit areas, such as the new high-limit area at Rocky Gap, which exclusively chose our chairs.
At Gary Platt, we have scoured the world for the highest quality foam for unsurpassed comfort, and our design teams work extensively with ergonomics experts. That combination helps to ensure our customers’ guests are comfortable, and have an enjoyable experience that they want to extend and enjoy over and over again, never leaving just because their seats are uncomfortable.
Why should casinos care about this?
Davis: An operator’s chair purchase decision will directly influence the overall profitability of the casino. Their players care about the quality, comfort and appearance of the chairs. We’ve proven that with nearly two decades of field experience and research, and it is a logical conclusion. No one reading this article wants to spend an hour or two in an uncomfortable chair or in uncomfortable shoes or in uncomfortable shirt. We are creatures of comfort, so when operators make a conscious decision to provide their guests with a comfortable seat, guests respond by staying and enjoying themselves longer.
What would you say casinos are doing when it comes to integrating social spaces into customer-facing products such as chairs and furniture?
Davis: This has been an interesting trend throughout the hospitality industry. New casinos we have been involved with have deliberately constructed more socially driven spaces into their designs. Established casinos, such as San Manuel and its new Rock & Brews, are creating new social spaces. In each of these cases, the operators chose Gary Platt chairs because of their comfort; after all, a social space is a place to sit, relax and be comfortable.
When it comes to seating and furniture, what are some of the challenges casinos face when trying to create social environments for players? What are you doing to alleviate these challenges?
Davis: Social spaces are designed to be quickly re-configurable depending on the needs of the moment, so one directive we continually hear from our customers is that our chairs must be easily moveable, in addition to durable and comfortable. Another interesting point in the social environment space is we are seeing more bench seating than ever before. Players are enjoying the game together as pairs or in groups, and our customers report to us that our bench seating is proving to be a valuable solution to the way their guests are enjoying the casino today.
What are some of your best-selling products?
Davis: We are very pleased that our newest products have been performing very well with our customers, both at newly opened casinos, such as Del Lago/Kansas Crossing, MGM National Harbor and Rivers Casino, and at casinos with new amenities, such as Rocky Gap and San Manuel. Our new models such as Monaco, Lido, Lido Revo, Sonoma Bench, San Remo, have performed very well for us, as have our new understructures which are designed to adjust the footrest position to improve comfort.
What are your plans for 2017 in terms of development and new products lines?
Davis: We have development efforts working on many levels, including two new products we expect to release later this year. These are ultra-high comfort seats that can be used in any gaming area and that easily translate to non-gaming/social areas, such as lounges and bars. We also have several products being developed today for specific new casino projects that will likely become part of our standard offering once those casinos open. In addition, we are always working on at least one sound chair where we expect to raise the bar and the volume. We also have two new markets that we are entering that have application for casino hotels and conference and multipurpose areas of resort casinos. And then there are the designs we haven’t even thought of yet. That’s one exciting part of our business is our design teams are constantly creating, constantly innovating.
Do you have any new/recent partnerships or business?
Davis: We recently named E-screen Limited our exclusive United Kingdom distributor, and we have distributor arrangements in place with select distributors in key markets worldwide. Additionally, in the very near future, we will be announcing several new business deals and arrangements—some within the gaming industry and some outside of the gaming industry. This all makes it a very exciting time at Gary Platt.
Skip Davis is president of Gary Platt Manufacturing, a Reno-based company that creates and distributes casino seating products to the worldwide gaming industry. He can be reached at www.garyplatt.com.