Dave & Buster’s entertainment business mixes 66 percent, and that comes from a customer base that’s 60 percent adult and split evenly between male and female. The brand has 148 locations and is based in 41 states, with an average store size of 40,000 square feet. For Main Event, amusement accounts for 71 percent of sales, including a significant amount of birthday business from the large number of families with younger children. There are 52 centers in 17 states, with an average square footage of 55,000 square feet.
Dave & Buster’s is known for its 150-plus redemption and simulation games and live sports, while Main Event offers a range of activities—bowling, laser tag, mini golf, gravity ropes, virtual reality, karaoke, and other games.
“We’ve co-existed in markets for decades, and so we’re very comfortable growing both brands and know that both brands can cohabitate,” Morris says. “We have countless data points to show that. I think what’s important to know is, yes there’s overlap in terms of the amusement and games side of the business, but the experiences at the core are different. … That’s something that we’re going to continue to reinforce as we move forward.”
Dave & Buster’s estimates 10–12 openings in the next 12–18 months and is looking to expand with new, smaller prototypes that range from 15,000–25,000 square feet. The company recently opened a roughly 20,500-square-foot location in Augusta, Georgia, which earned more than $900,000 in its first two weeks. Main Event has a roughly 50,000-square-foot model, and is targeting six to eight openings in the following year to year and a half.
Sheehan noted existing Dave & Buster’s locations that are too big could potentially be converted to Main Event. This would allow Dave & Buster’s to build more medium- and smaller-sized outlets in the same market. The combined company will also leverage Dave & Buster’s scale to open whitespace opportunities for Main Event in key regions, like Southern California and the Northeast.
Morris said there will be no changes in marketing for either brand. He added entertainment centers cast a wide net, but brands have to stand for something and can’t be all things to all people. Meaning, Main Event won’t disregard its adult consumers, but at the same time, it’s going to keep leaning into its strength, which is families with children ages 7–15. The same holds true for Dave & Buster’s.
“The experience at Dave & Buster’s is today and will continue to be different than the experience at Main Event,” Morris said. “It’ simply a focus and it’s the type of entertainment offerings that we’ll roll out in the years come, but we will never go too far that we alienate a core group of customers.”