Is the current surge a temporary phenomenon? – In an article last week in our company’s Leisure eNewsletter, we discussed how the current surge in attendance and revenues many location-based entertainment centers are experiencing shouldn’t be mistaken as a long-term trend. We now have some evidence from Dave & Buster’s that the surge is likely a temporary phenomenon.
In the last five weeks at the end of D&B’s fiscal year that ended May 5, 2021, the top quartile of their stores achieved 120% of revenues compared to the same period in 2019. Also, the mix of revenues for all their stores in the last quarter of the fiscal year changed from 41% F&B and 59% amusements in 2019 to 32% F&B (a decrease) and 68% amusements (an increase) in 2021.
D&B’s explanation for both the revenue increases in many of their stores and the change in the revenue mix is that people are spending more time in their game rooms. As a result, they saw increases in per capita game spending compared to 2019. They also discontinued discounting, which contributed to the increased per capita game revenues.
This explains the change in their revenue mix between F&B and amusements. When people visited a D&B, they were eating the same amount as back in 2019 but spending more in the game room.
Are regulars more likely to return? – The surveys I’ve cited in previous blogs on the percentage of adults comfortable visiting different leisure venues was for a cross-section of all U.S. adults, whether they had previously attended or not. Now we have a survey that breaks down the percentage of adults planning to venture out who previously did the activity at least monthly before the pandemic. And as I have suggested previously, the regulars who were doing things back in 2019 are more likely to return to doing them than people who were not previously regulars. For example, 56% of people who previously went to the movies, a concert, or the theater monthly pre-pandemic say they will be doing so in the next two weeks compared to only 35% of the general population. So it appears that past loyalty will survive the pandemic for most people.