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Meet Akos Gabossy of PanIQ Escape Room

Today we’d like to introduce you to Akos Gabossy.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Akos. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
The original escape rooms were launched in Budapest in early 2011. With more than a hundred locations now, live escape games have become the number one tourist attraction of the Hungarian capital. The first PanIQ Room opened its doors in March 2012 in Hungary, and it belongs to some of the first escape rooms in the world.

PANIQ Room was also one of the first escape rooms in the United States. We opened our first location in Hollywood (CA) in 2014, and right now we have ten operating locations in America, and three under construction, including the one in Atlanta. We became an official franchise in 2017; we are currently one of the fastest growing amusement brands of the nation.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It was a huge challenge to bring a business concept from Eastern-Europe to the United States. Normally it works backwards, America is a much-developed consumer market than Hungary. Competition is a normal thing over here; you have to be better in something than your competitors in order to succeed.

As being pioneers on the market, it was also a huge endeavor for us to sell something completely new to customers with a minimal marketing budget. Nowadays it’s easier since escape rooms are becoming a mainstream form of entertainment. 4 years ago it sounded very creepy, that we want to lock people in an Asylum or a Prison for 60 minutes, and they have to get out by solving creative puzzles.

Since we are located in multiple states, it’s also very interesting how bureaucracy and customer behavior can be completely different in different cities. Our biggest competitors are multi-million dollar amusement parks and recreational activities, who had 20-30 years to become leaders in their industry. We have to be very flexible and fast in order to find our spot in the market!

Please tell us about PanIQ Escape Room.
We are building and operating escape rooms. We are a very innovative company that currently offers generation 2, generation 3 and virtual reality escape room experience to their players. We are trying to build nice thematic environments, so players can actually feel they jumped into a movie set. We’re targeting the mainstream customers, so our game plots are not too difficult, most of the teams can escape in time.

I’m very proud of our interactive Kiosk system; players can easily receive hints from the game masters. Our website is also very user-friendly, players can make a reservation in 1-2 minutes. We’re currently working on our unique merchandise line and also opened our flagship unit in Budapest with a bar and restaurant.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I would have turned PANIQ ROOM into a franchise system earlier. And I would have also built our third and fourth unit in New York, Manhattan and in Orlando.


  • $20-$30 / player depends on the day and time slot

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