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dave-busters-exterior.jpg Dave & Buster's
Dave & Buster's attributes the sales improvement to new strategies and finally reopening the rest of their portfolio of stores.

Dave & Buster’s begins to climb out of COVID-sized hole

The eatertainment chain’s Q2 same-store sales were up 3.6% from the same quarter in 2019

Are arcades officially back? After a long dry spell during the worst months of COVID-19, eatertainment chain Dave & Buster’s posted record-breaking second quarter results, including their highest-ever revenues of $378 million. The company’s same-store sales were also up 3.6%, higher than 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers.

Increased sales (particularly entertainment/games sales as opposed to food) were driven by the now-fully opened roster of stores (plus one new store), which drew more traffic than previous quarters during lockdown and times of dining room restrictions.

“With all of our stores open, we are seeing strong demand for our brand, including rapid sales growth in our California stores as it ramped up during the quarter,” Scott Bowman, chief financial officer of Dave & Buster’s said during Thursday’s earnings call. “With record sales and strong execution of our margin-enhancing initiatives, we were able to produce record profitability for the quarter.”

During the second quarter, the company rolled out their new trimmed-down menu which offers higher quality ingredients and items that are easier on back of house labor. They also introduced new games, live entertainment (like live music and trivia nights), and have leaned more into digital adaptation. For example, last quarter, Dave & Buster’s rolled out their new mobile app, from which customers can pay, earn points, and activate games with their phone.

“Mobile web adoption has been extremely strong, significantly exceeding our expectations,” Dave & Buster’s CEO Brian Jenkins said Thursday. “The majority of our guests now use the technology, and our success on this front has been crucial in facilitating a more efficient operation while also allowing us to deliver a great D&B experience.”

Dave & Buster’s plans to open four new stores by the end of 2021, including one opening imminently in Brooklyn, N.Y., with 6-8 more new stores coming in 2022.

During the second quarter ended Aug. 1, 2021, revenues were up $33 million compared with the same quarter in 2019, and up more than seven times the total revenue of $50.8 million the same quarter in 2020. Dave & Buster’s net income totaled $52.8 million, or $1.07 per share, compared with net income of $32.4 million, or $0.90 per diluted share in the second quarter of 2019.

As of Aug. 1, Dave & Buster’s has 142 stores in its portfolio, with one net new store opening during the quarter.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]ma.com

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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