Dave & Buster’s sees traffic and sales declines as eatertainment restaurant category struggles

September 7, 2023

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment, Inc. is struggling to boost customer visits following a post-pandemic spike in traffic, as same-store sales for the second quarter ended July 30, 2023 were down 6.3%. The dwindling traffic and sales were driven in no small part by challenging macroeconomic circumstances, Dave & Buster’s leadership said during Wednesday’s Q2 earnings call.

“What has us at this point is we can’t control the macroeconomic factors that are driving traffic numbers,” Mike Quartieri, CFO of Dave & Buster’s said during Wednesday’s earnings call. “What we do control is what happens in the four walls of our business….as you look at the back end of Q2 and what we’re seeing today…unfortunately, it’s a decline, but those levels are pretty consistent across the board…. At this point we’re not seeing any one particular group that’s underperforming vs. the rest.”

Dave & Buster’s CEO Chris Morris said that even though the leadership team analyzed its business to figure out where the same-store sales decline was coming from, they came to no meaningful conclusion, other than a shift in consumer behavior.

And Dave & Buster’s is hardly the only eatertainment company struggling with traffic. Data from Gravy Analytics revealed that Dave & Buster’s was down 39% this quarter, but similar brands in the eatertainment space, Topgolf and Bowlero, declined 30% and 56% the same quarter, respectively. The Gravy Analytics team seems to be attributing this to a shift in consumer behavior toward at-home entertainment.

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