I did this myself, minus quitting my job.
My scope of project is entirely different in that I have no intention of turning a net profit, though strangely enough, I probably will anyways(which as per charter, will go into maintenance/new machines). In my area of NY we simply have a large club of people who play fighting games competitively. My idea for the "YMCA" of Electronic Gaming was born from the simple fact that other major regions near us (Toronto and NYC) that we frequently play, often get 6mo-2year leads on us in games cause they have functional arcades that get brand new games. And speaking competitively, that's a HUGE advantage, by the time console ports hit, they're already pros, and we're just starting. So we needed machines, and we needed a place to play. And thus the Arcade Culture Preservation Society(ACPS) was born.
I'm opening our first location in the next couple months, and in the future hope to expand to new locations under the same premise, bringing low-cost arcades to areas where they were considered commercially unviable, but a demand still exists.
Get ready for it to take awhile, I was under the false impression I could have cash in-hand and buy ****. Sea freight takes FOREVER. To both arrange and then finally ship.
You must, I repeat, MUST, learn to do all the repairs, maintenance, etc yourself. It's not hard, I taught myself most of it in a few months. Unless you just have some friends very generous with their time, you simply cannot afford to hire repairs. It will literally eat 50%+ of your profits. This in my experience talking to former owners, was the major major business mistake they would make.
Either A. Spend too much on repairs they could of done themselves, or B. Simply not do the repairs and lose customers as machines and buttons broke down, this was imho the *real* reason for the decline of arcades in the US, since they were run primarily by vending companies, their philosophy was "sit it, and forget it", so you'd always walk into arcades, or play a machine at a resturant, and it'd be busted...but you wouldnt know until you already spent your quarter. Not surprisingly, the arcades that survived until modern days, took good care of their machines.
You have to make a LOT of tough choices about floor-space. I don't have this issue due to the nature of my business, but I'm sure others do cause I thought about it. But you need to heavily consider floorspace in terms of profits. You may think Espgaluda II(random and arbitrary example), is the best game ever, and is worth playing. But the reality is another Tekken6 machine would probably make more money in that same spot. Unless you just have a HUGE facility, you gotta accept that lots of games that are GREAT, have no room in your Arcade.
Food/drinks, have it for sure. Even if just pre-packaged. The launch location for the ACPS is in the un-used Ballroom of an "old style" country inn I own (bar/resturant, mostly bar). 35% of your profits will statistically come from this.
Presentation counts, image is everything. It's important to look nice, both the business and you personally. I know it's considered Blasphemy, but repaint those beat-up cabs.
Other stuff I forgot well writing the first stuff.