Several months ago, Dave & Buster's announced a major comeback to the full-service industry scene. It was a shift in the chain's trajectory—it had faced a near-bankruptcy last year and laid off as many as 1,300 workers during the nationwide pandemic-related restaurant closures.
But the beloved arcade began benefitting from the nation's budding desire to get out and have some fun. As early as the spring of 2021, things were looking up for the chain which largely makes money from on-premise sales, and the company was optimistic about its new outlook. And now there's definitive proof of their momentum: on a recent call with analysts, the company reported record-breaking revenues that surpass the pre-pandemic levels. Dave & Buster's is now more popular than ever.
"Our brand is back and we are stronger than ever," said CEO Brian Jenkins, adding the company is more profitable now than ever before in its 40-year history.
In the most recent quarter ended August 1, the chain posted a 3.6% increase in same-store sales over its 2019 results, as well as a 9% increase in revenue.
So how did Dave & Buster's win back customers and then some? When it reopened the vast majority of its 142 locations by May, the chain also managed to largely reinvent the consumer experience, providing customers with new games and a revamped menu.
The chain added seven brand new games that can't be played anywhere else, including a lifesize version of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Minecraft Dungeons Arcade, and Vader Immortal—Lightsaber Dojo VR. The new menu features 23 chef-created items like Chimichurri Bowls, Garlic Parmesan Truffle Fries, and Strawberry Shortcake.
But the D&B isn't done with innovation quite yet. According to the leadership team, the company plans on further developing its entertainment program. Customers can expect live music events, as well as a stronger emphasis on one of the brand's foundational entertainment elements—sports.
"This fall, we'll introduce additional entertainment formats incorporating music, film content, and live interaction, and as core, it would not be fall without talking about fall football," said senior vice president and COO Margo Manning. "This year we'll be amplifying the D&B football experience. From an entertainment standpoint, we'll lean heavily into our custom, video content with new proprietary video elements to help our guests pre-game before kick off with an added integration D&B's live radio format."
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."
For more, check out:
- 5 Once-Struggling Chains That Have Made a Major Comeback
- This Recently Bankrupt Chain Closed More Than 600 Locations in a Decade
- This Is America's #1 Favorite Fast-Food Chain for Road Trips
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