Dave & Buster’s CEO Brian Jenkins to retire

Jenkins, who helmed the eatertainment brand through the depths of the pandemic to a record-setting quarter, will stay on as an advisor with the chain until the end of November.
Dave & Buster's
Photograph: Shutterstock

Dave & Buster’s CEO Brian Jenkins, who has steered the food-and-games chain through the ups and downs of the pandemic, is retiring at the end of the month, the operator announced Tuesday.

Jenkins will stay on as a senior advisor to Dave & Buster’s Board Chairman Kevin Sheehan, who has been appointed interim CEO, until Nov. 30.

Jenkins has been with the 143-unit, Dallas-based eatertainment chain for nearly 15 years. He was named chief executive officer in August 2018. He was hired in 2006 as CFO.

“It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of this industry-leading brand for the past 15 years and I am proud of what our extraordinary team has accomplished together,” he said in a statement. “I am excited to watch D&B’s continued success in the future, and I’m also looking forward to spending time with my wife and family, who have supported me throughout my career.”

Earlier this month, Jenkins proclaimed, “Our brand is back and we are stronger than ever” after Dave & Buster’s posted record-setting revenues and other financials after the pandemic forced it to close its stores for many months.

The chain is in the midst of a reimagining of its entire business, from menu to operations to marketing. It has recently introduced a streamlined and revamped menu; rolled out a web-enabled platform to save on labor; added new games; and debuted a revamped messaging and media strategy.

“Dave & Buster’s is beginning a new phase of innovation, growth and value creation,” Sheehan said in a statement. “Our focus remains on realizing the company’s significant upside potential, as consumers’ demand for immersive entertainment recovers and expands beyond pre-pandemic levels.”

The chain, known for its large stores packed with dining and bar areas as well as dozens of arcade games, is also experimenting with smaller footprint models. It said it has seen strong results from an 18,000-square-foot location recently opened in Gainesville, Fla.

Sheehan has served on Dave & Buster’s board for a decade and became chairman in April. The board has hired a search firm to find a successor for Jenkins.

“Brian has been a driving presence for Dave & Buster’s, playing an integral role in the impressive growth that led to our IPO and that which followed,” Sheehan said in a statement. “His leadership has been instrumental to our company’s success, and he has created a strong foundation for us to build upon.”




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