Dave & Buster's Entertainment Inc., a full-service foodservice format since its founding in 1982, this past week pulled the wraps off its first fast-casual offering, a stand-alone T&T Tacos concept.
“We recently initiated a quick-casual test in our Dallas store,” said Brian Jenkins, CEO of the Dallas-based big-box food and entertainment brand, in a third-quarter earnings call Tuesday. T&T Tacos opened Friday.
“We have converted one of our special-event party rooms adjacent to the arcade into a highly visible area where guests can order street tacos and drink,” Jenkins said. “The interior includes a three-dimensional food truck façade.”
Taco prices range from $4 to $5.50 each and include three traditional versions like carne asada and chicken fajita as well as “twisted” takes that include an Oktoberfest with beer cheese. A plant-based seventh taco uses Impossible-branded protein with onion, cilantro, aji crema and fresh lime. The T&T Tacos outlet also offers adult beverages, such as beers for $5, fruit cocktails for $5 and frozen margaritas for $8.
“This area is designed to add fun to the guest experience, while serving their need for convenience and speed,” Jenkins said.
T&T Tacos faces the Dave & Buster’s game arcade and can be closed off with a large garage-style glass door during times of lighter traffic.
Dave & Buster’s executives said the taco concept fits into today’s guest demand for quicker options.
“It makes a lot of sense to when you think about the proximity to the arcade to be able to dash-in and dash-out,” Jenkins said. “We continue to view quick casual as complementary to our casual-dining offering inside our facility.”
Dave & Buster’s plans to trim more of its sit-down casual-dining menu after cutting about 20 percent of its items earlier this year. Jenkins said the new menu will be introduced in February and the reductions will be “slightly more in the 10 percent range.”
Dave & Buster’s also plans to improve service and reduce guest friction, he added.
“We continue to test and implement service model changes and improve technology,” Jenkins noted. “At select stores, we have deployed front desk guest ambassadors that guide our guest experience, kiosk attendants that facilitate interaction with the technology and hosted seating in the sports lounge to improve flow during busy times.”
For the third quarter ended Nov. 4, Dave & Buster’s net income was $11.9 million, or 30 cents a share, down 2.5 percent from $12.2 million, or 29 cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenues were up 12.9 percent, to $282.2 million, from $250 million in the prior-year quarter.
Earnings fell short of analysts’ expectations and Dave & Buster’s stock was down 8.3 percent at midday Wednesday, trading at about $46.80 a share from Tuesday’s close of $51.03 a share.
Third-quarter food and beverage sales represented 42.1 percent of total revenues compared to 43.1 percent of revenues in the same period a year ago.
Dave & Buster's owns and operates 120 venues in 39 states, Puerto Rico and Canada.
Contact Ron Ruggless at [email protected]
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless