Another trigger for optimism, Jenkins said, is that Dallas’ success came without any serious marketing force. The awareness was a slow build. But, moving forward in Q3, Dave & Buster’s is going to invest in digital media to bright light to the wow walls. “I think it does build over time,” Jenkins said of awareness, especially at a generally low-frequency brand like Dave & Buster’s. “But we feel very confident in what this is going to do and add to the brand experience.”
Essentially, picture the change as a fire starter for generating more traffic to Dave & Buster’s dining rooms around sporting events and other big-screen activations.
“Our view is that our dining rooms, based on the square foot that we've allocated to the spaces and the utilization rate that we get today, it speaks to a need to revitalize the area. So, the Wow Wall is our answer to that,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins even addressed the notion of sports betting on the heels of Buffalo Wild Wings’ partnership with MGM. “We’re open-minded to that,” he said. “We’re open-minded at the partnerships. We’re aware of the [Buffalo Wild Wings] announcements here, and we think that could represent an attractive opportunity down the road.”
While this physical revitalization unfolds, Dave & Buster’s will continue to refine its menu and simplify in favor of better execution, Jenkins added. Guest satisfaction scores have improved, both from a food quality perspective as well as speed of service, since the cutbacks. After a Hawaiian-themed summer LTO, Dave & Buster’s has a grilled chicken avacado sandwich and New York strip planned for October, which will arrive along with the removal of some slow-moving items.
Yet the biggest near-term chance remains in igniting F&B penetration through an immersive experience—an experiential element that attracts customers and keeps them engaged, and ordering.
Dave & Buster’s brought back its $19.99 Unlimited Wings promotion on game days in Q3. It now includes a $10 Power Card instead of unlimited gameplay, which should help per capita spend in amusement. That’s a return to how Dave & Buster’s originally launched the promotion. Last year, Dave & Buster’s didn’t feature the unlimited wings deal and lagged transactions in response, leading to a quick course correction. “So, this year, we'll be starting with that in combination with this wow wall investment in a large nucleus of stores, and we think that's going to make for a powerful combination,” Jenkins said.