Dave & Buster's eyes international expansion

The eatertainment concept signed another international development deal as it pushes to bring its restaurant and games venues to more global markets.
Dave & Buster's
Dave & Buster's wants to take its games to more countries. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Dave & Buster’s on Monday said that it has a deal with Grupo Pais to open two of its locations in the Dominican Republic.

While the deal is small, the eatertainment’s international ambitions are not. The company, which operates almost entirely in the U.S., is working to change that. It has agreements to open 33 locations in international markets. Company executives said in December that they expect four openings outside the U.S. this year.  

It’s a strategy Dave & Buster’s hopes can generate ancillary profits. The company last year announced deals in the Middle East, India and Australia and believes it could open 200 locations in about 25 international markets.

“That presents us an opportunity of $60 million to $80 million in incremental EBITDA over the long run,” CEO Chris Morris told investors and analysts last year, according to a transcript on the financial services site AlphaSense. He referred to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

International development has become vital for U.S. restaurant chains looking for sources of growth.

While many restaurant chains believe that they have plenty of room to grow domestically, that growth can be difficult, given competition for sites. Dave & Buster’s is no exception. It believes it can operate more than 500 locations in the U.S. and Canada, between the company’s flagship Dave & Buster’s and its Main Event concept. The brands currently operate 222 locations in North America.

Yet there are many more people who live outside the U.S., and the market is more ripe for potential development. As such, international growth has become a much bigger deal. And a wider variety of concepts are pushing into other countries.

Dave & Buster’s does have two locations in Canada. But the company has been focused on deals to take it into other countries where its blend of food and games may work.

The company has implemented several initiatives to ensure that its expansion would work. Its footprint is customizable so operators can tailor development to specific market needs. The menu is also localized based on regional tastes.

The company also has flexible pricing options and launched global marketing programs and has unique amusement packages designed to differentiate the brand in their respective markets.

“The brand’s commitment to providing an umatched combination of entertainment and dining fits perfectly with our market’s demand for innovative experiences,” Juan Carlos Pais, CEO of Grupo Pais, said in a statement.

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