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Dave & Buster’s continues brand transformation as same-store sales sink 7.8%

The eatertainment company is continuing to roll out store remodels, revamp food and beverage menus, and ramp up digital marketing in efforts to boost numbers

Dave & Buster’s is maintaining a positive outlook for the future as the Dallas-based eatertainment company continues to roll out a brand transformation strategy — from store remodels and tech investment to menu overhauls — amid faltering sales numbers. Dave & Buster’s reported Q3 revenue declines of 3%, alongside same-store sales decreases of 7.8% compared with the same quarter in 2022 (though still an 8.1% improvement over 2019 levels). But Dave & Buster’s is continuing to move ahead with aggressive growth goals and a focus on private events.

“When we see our overall sales up double digits over prior year and up 30% over 2019, that's encouraging,” Dave & Buster’s CEO Chris Morris said during Tuesdays earnings call for the third quarter ended Oct. 29. “When you look at it and say we specifically designed the entertainment platform to bring news to the market and provide more variety to the guest, and we're driving more entertainment revenue through that entertainment product. When we specifically designed it to give our sales team more opportunity to drive special events because now we have items that appeal to group activities and our special events are up 45%, that gives us confidence that we're approaching it the right way.”

Dave & Buster’s has been announcing several growth and rebranding initiatives for a few quarters now, and those changes are being ramped up, with a plan to roll out 40-45 store remodels in 2024, as well as 15 entirely new store locations in the pipeline. Morris summed up the changes the company has already made to the brand, as well as planned improvements coming in the next fiscal year:

  • Digital marketing investments to improve personalized guest communications and “engage with guests more effectively” particularly through the app and lo
  • Improved food & beverage: Dave & Buster’s is working on the “D&B menu of the future” and has rolled out phase two of the plan in September, which has led to a 5% average increase in f&b revenue per check.
  • Store remodels are priority: “We have designed a remodel program that not only improves the physical appearance of our stores, but also represents the culmination of an interrelated strategic reset in how we will run our business more efficiently and better meet the need states of our guests,” Morris said, adding that the redesign is designed to grow food and beverage sales, improve guest engagement, and create a fresher more modern feel to the stores.
  • A focus on special events particularly in the latter quarter of the year, when there are naturally more private event bookings.
  • New employee-facing technology like store IT infrastructure and improved data analytics.

This is all to say that Dave & Buster’s wavering sales performance is a work in progress, and — according to the company — will improve over time as the brand continues to modernize, with a focus on technology and changing consumer needs.

During the third quarter ended Oct. 29, Dave & Buster’s revenues of $466.9 million decreased 3% compared with the third quarter of 2022. The company swung to a loss of $5.2 million, or $0.12 per share, compared with net income of $1.9 million, or $0.04 per share in the third quarter of 2022.

As of Oct. 29, Dave & Buster’s has 216 stores in its portfolio, with three net new stores opening during the quarter.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

TAGS: Finance
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