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This Recovering Restaurant Chain Just Saw Another Dip In Sales

The vaccine mandates have impacted the on-premise entertainment brand.

Beloved arcade chain Dave & Buster's has demonstrated major resilience this year with its post-pandemic recovery. In the spring, it benefited from America's reawakening to on-premise dining and entertainment and posted fantastic gains in the second quarter of the year: their same-store sales were up by 3.6% and revenues by 9% on a two-year basis. The results were especially encouraging considering the chain was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2020.

But its success in the following few months was affected by the vaccine mandates in some parts of the country, and its latest earnings report shows a dip in the recovery trajectory the chain was on. According to Nation's Restaurant News, the systemwide same-store sales were down by 0.4% in the third quarter compared to the same time period in 2019. However, if the company excluded the locations affected by the vaccine mandates from the equation, sales would be up by 1.1%. Revenues also saw a growth of 6.2%.

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Another setback the chain is experiencing is with its dine-in offer. Despite the recently revamped menu, which kicked off 23 new chef-created items like Chimichurri Bowls, Garlic Parmesan Truffle Fries, and Strawberry Shortcake, as well as several new drinks, the chain's sales of food were down by 17%. However, the games, which also saw several new additions this year, like the lifesize version of Hungry Hungry Hippos and Vader Immortal—Lightsaber Dojo VR, are growing sales for the brand.

So where will Dave & Buster's go from here? For one, the chain is eyeing an international expansion, one that will take the brand beyond the United States and Canada where it currently operates its entire 143-store footprint.

Additionally, the company plans to optimize the domestic stores they already have, with a fresh new look and new entertainment offerings that are true to its core brand. This will include more immersive sports-viewing experiences and could even bring live music events to Dave & Buster's locations.

And that's not all—before the end of the year, the chain will be launching a loyalty program that they hope will turn game and sports fanatics into loyal customers. The program will provide incentives for games played "similar to airline programs" and will enable customers to "complete unique combination and activities to earn both digital and physical rewards."

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Mura Dominko
Mura is ETNT's Executive Editor, leading the coverage of America's favorite restaurant chains, grocery stores, and viral food moments. Read more about Mura