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Update on the current surge and comfort going out

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.

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About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 31-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri, has worked for over 600 clients in 37 countries throughout the world. Projects the company has designed and produced have won seventeen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of leisure experience destinations including entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, agritainment/agritourism, play and leisure facilities.

Randy was featured on the Food Network's Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company's projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment.

Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy has held the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

He has authored over 150 articles that have been published in over 40 leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker and keynoter at over 40 different conventions and trade groups.

Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and posts on Twitter and Linkedin.

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