Dave & Buster’s Acquires Main Events to Further Post-Pandemic Growth

The "eatertainment" brand Dave & Busters has officially announced the completion of its $835 million deal to acquire Main Event, which it anticipates will trigger increased growth for both companies.

Dave & Buster's, based in Coppel, Texas, has been in business for 40 years and has 147 locations. Main Event, headquartered in Dallas, has amassed 50 locations since its founding in 1998. The $835 million price tag represents a valuation of approximately nine times Main Event's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

The two Texas-based brands hope to expand their client base by joining forces. Both brands offer consumers food, drinks, and games, also called "eatertainment." However, while Dave & Buster's caters to teens and adults, Main Event's clientele is predominantly families with young children.

"This is truly a transformational time for our company," said Main Event Chief Executive Officer Chris Morris, who is transitioning to CEO of the new combined entity. "We have created a combination of brands and people that will enhance our relationships with our guests."

This acquisition will mark a new era for Dave & Busters, who recently returned to their full operating hours post-pandemic. They had a record-breaking first quarter, with same-store sales up 10.9% over 2019. Michael Quartieri, Dave & Buster's Chief Financial Officer, told Nation's Restaurant News that walk-in sales are currently even higher, at 14.7% over 2019. However, Morris hopes to refocus on late-night consumers and events business, which both took a nosedive during the pandemic—Quartieri says their special events business is still down 34.6% compared to 2019.

This shift into growth will also be marked by new leadership. The aforementioned Morris will be replacing Dave & Buster's interim CEO, Kevin Sheehan, who had been leading since the retirement of Brian Jenkins in September 2021. Sheehan noted in a statement that the combination of these two brands generates "enormous opportunity" by creating separate spaces for varying consumer demographics that improve customer experience.