Jeremy Julian

Dave & Busters: Branding Innovation

September 6, 2016

Today we are going to shine our company spotlight on the Dallas-based entertainment company, Dave & Busters. They have experienced a substantial increase in revenue and overall profit due to their re-branding, targeting and marketing efforts.

The company has successfully targeted its primary audience of Millennials 21 to 39 years old by adding “new news of interest.” By consistently refreshing their food, games and technology, every time a customer comes back to Dave & Busters, it is a new and improved experience. The company also cultivates secondary demographic groups of walk-in families and corporate parties.

By switching to a broader theme of ‘New Is What We Do,’ products like the arcade versions of Luigi’s Mansion, Nintendo’s best-selling game, and new menu items that were visually impactful, innovative and shareable.

About 35 percent of menu items sold last year have been added in the past four years. New items in the first quarter included bacon cheese crispy tater cakes, three-cheese grilled cheese sticks, bacon-wrapped shrimp and chicken with creamy lobster sauce, and the Caveman Combo, which features both ribs and mini cheeseburgers.

A couple months ago, the company launched sales of wearable radio-frequency identification (RFID) merchandise that customers can use in place of power cards to swipe and activate games. The device will also provide revenue.

With this added technology, this could potentially be a replacement for cards. Not to mention the company is selling them for $10 with $5 of power card value on them. “We think it will just be a more convenient way for people to access the games and activate the games then a power card itself,” said Stephen King, Dave & Buster’s CEO. He also noted that the wearable devices resemble a Fitbit-style wristband, a lanyard to wear around the neck, or a wand for younger customers.

For the first quarter ended May 1, Dave & Buster’s reported a 59.5% increase in profit, to $31.2 million, or 72 cents a share, from $19.5 million, or 46 cents a share, in the prior-year period. Revenue increased 17.7 percent, to $262 million, from $222.7 million in the same quarter last year.

Same-store sales increased 3.6 percent in the quarter, compared with a 9.9-percent increase in the same period last year.

Dave & Buster’s owns and operates 84 venues in 30 states and Canada. The company has a development agreement for the Middle East, with the first unit opening in fiscal 2017.

Re-evaluating and evolving your branding strategy is a smart and competitive way to bring in new customers and stay relevant. Customers and their interests do not stay the same over time. And with new competition every day, you need to stay on top of your brand to be successful.

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