This Restaurant and Arcade Chain Is Reopening and Attempting a Comeback

It looks like we haven't heard the last of Dave & Buster's. After a tumultuous pandemic year where the chain narrowly escaped a bankruptcy filing, the arcade-and-restaurant concept is announcing a comeback. Its locations continue to reopen and when guests return, they'll find that several novelties are on the menu, both in terms of food and entertainment.

RELATED: This Iconic, Nearly Extinct Fast-Food Chain Is Planning a Comeback

Dave & Buster's was close to bankruptcy

dave and busters

Last September, the chain announced that bankruptcy may be inevitable if the company doesn't reach a deal with its lenders. The pandemic closures had severely impacted its bottom line, which makes sense since its revenue mostly depends on on-premise traffic. Second quarter sales plummeted by 85% year over year and the chain had to lay off as many as 1,300 employees across seven states. The prognosis was dire.

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The beloved chain is now almost fully reopened

dave busters exterior

Fast forward to 2021, and Dave & Buster's started regaining its footing. Restaurant Business reports that the Dallas-based company started the year with 107 reopened locations, which amounted to 76% of its total footprint. By May, 138 locations were reopened, including its vital New York and California stores. The chain even managed to open one new location during the first quarter of the year.

Their sales still have a ways to go

dave busters interior

While gaining the comeback momentum, the chain still isn't completely out of the woods. Their same-store sales were down by 35% in the first quarter of the year compared to the same period in 2019. However, those figures include reopened locations that still operated under some capacity restrictions. At their fully reopened locations, sales were slightly better—a 17% decrease from 2019.

"We have a solid financial foundation, and we are ready to move full speed ahead into summer," CEO Biran Jenkins said in a statement. "We are encouraged by our momentum and are thankful for the hard work and commitment of all of our team members."

Guests will find an abundance of new menu items and games

dave busters food

So what's new at Dave & Buster's? According to the chain's latest press release, there's a lot of reasons to return to their locations this summer. The chain is adding seven brand new games that can't be played anywhere else, including a lifesize version of Hungry Hungry Hippos, Minecraft Dungeons Arcade, and Vader Immortal—Lightsaber Dojo VR.

The food menu is also getting a revamp with 23 new chef-created items like Chimichurri Bowls, Garlic Parmesan Truffle Fries, and Strawberry Shortcake. Additionally, guests will get to sample four new summer-inspired drinks.

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