STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 33
The formula has also been a hit with
Wall Street. Dave & Buster's mix of
food and entertainment has spurred
20 consecutive quarters of positive
sales growth. Its games area has been
a boost, comprising 57 percent of the
The company invests regularly in new
technology, from the latest in video games
to RFID bracelets that allow guests to
play games without coins or tokens. While
other restaurant/bars might promote their
happy hour, Dave & Buster's promotes a
"Power Hour," which gives 60 minutes of
game play on weekday evenings for $10.
Guests can add to their game account
through a Dave & Buster's phone app; the
chain's loyalty program includes a
10 percent discount on purchases.
The other big draw for the stores is sports.
Dave & Buster's promotes itself as a football
fantasy draft headquarters, advertising draft
party packages that include food, drink, a
private room and Wi-Fi for league players,
in addition to special accommodations for
game watch parties.
Dave & Buster's locations in Los Angeles
and New York have been a place for
celebrity sightings, with the paparazzi
catching pictures of Kim Kardashian
playing air hockey and Justin Bieber
shooting hoops. The company also has a
sense of humor about itself, as it promoted
a recent story in the satirical publication
The Onion that announced it was opening
a high-end restaurant/entertainment
location called "David & Benedict's."
With 84 locations around the United
States, Dave & Buster's was created in
the early 1980s by Dallas restaurateurs
David Corriveau and James "Buster"
Corley, who saw a benefit to combining
the concepts of food and entertainment, a
kind of grown-up Chuck E. Cheese's. Each
location features an array of the latest
arcade games and, in some places, billiards
and bowling. There's also a bar menu and
video screens tuned to sports channels
that can be seen from every viewing angle,
making Dave & Buster's a hit with fans.
Because of Dave & Buster's focus on
entertainment, Weiss thought it might be
worth exploring video screens, specifically
a video wall that instantly draws attention.
"These have been used over the years
in many types of retail and entertainment
venues and they're extremely popular,"
he says. "You see one and you can't avoid
what's on the display."
He reached out to some of
the company's IT vendors for
recommendations and was pointed to
NEC. "We were looking for a company
that had been doing this for a while
and they were already a partner for us
providing our regular monitors."
NEC had been in the video wall
business for several years and had been
working on perfecting the technology. For
most retail applications, it concentrated
on creating walls made with nine
monitors in a 10-foot by 12-foot rectangle
formation. They have expanded in
size and scope, with video billboards
marking many spots along highways
and in some cases becoming landmarks.
The 100-screen wall at Las Vegas'
McCarran International Airport greets
arriving guests and shows off images
of the city. The world's largest wall is
at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort
Worth, measuring 218 feet long and
125 feet high.
Indoor walls were originally designed
to be used for corporate branding at
trade shows; NEC found a ready market
in retail as bricks-and-mortar stores
looked for attractions to bring customers
through the doors.
"Initially they were eye-catchers and
you could run some simple branding
videos but now customers are becoming
more sophisticated, and they expect more
from the video wall programming," says
Ben Hardy, NEC product manager for
Creating video walls is tricky because
of the limitations of the technology.
With expanding sizes of monitors, it's
easy to think that one day a giant wall
could be constructed out of a single
monitor, but that might not be the case.
A company that wants an impressive
giant panel in its 50th-floor boardroom
might need to settle for a smaller size if
the monitor can't fit into the building's
"A panel is made of one sheet of glass
and while it's strong, you're limited as to
how much you can move a big sheet like
that safely," Hardy says. "The biggest
panels on the market today are 98 inches
long. Any bigger and you risk creating a
sheet that's too big and brittle to move to
Massive single-panel monitors are
also extremely expensive, which is
why many companies opt to go with
the larger screen space afforded by a
STORES September 2017 33