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How Chuck E. Cheese, Dave & Busters, Main Event, and Round1 compare

4 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Facts, Features

As the mercury drops, Americans spend more time looking for indoor entertainment. One of the more popular family activities includes heading to the local Chuck E. Cheese ($CHUCKECHEESE) or Dave & Buster's ($NASDAQ:PLAY) for a night of comfort food and gaming. It's big business, too: Chuck E. Cheese made $896 million in 2018 and went public again with renewed market interest. In June, Dave & Busters reported 9.5% revenue growth to $363.6 million and 8.8% EPS growth in its first quarter of the year, and while its stock has been hit as of late, data in this report shows some clear staying power.

In fact, foot traffic for Chuck E. Cheese continues to rise, as shows by Facebook "Were Here" data which measures the number of selfies, status updates, and check-ins at various brands with Facebook pages. As of this month, more than 17 million shares or updates have been posted to Facebook from Chuck E. Cheese locations alone.

In short, Americans like to spend their money on affordable, indoor, nearby entertainment, and in a restaurant environment that's being undermined by delivery services and rising rents, family entertainment restaurants continue to expand their outlays. No data on how much robotic bands factor into this.

We looked at four of the largest family entertainment brands in the US, including the aforementioned Chuck E. Cheese and Dave & Buster's, along with Main Event Entertainment ($MAINEVENT) and Round1 ($TYO:4680).

Our comparison here includes 838 locations, of which Chuck E. Cheese dominates with 545 to Dave & Busters' 219. We also looked at 42 Main Events and 32 Round1 USAs.

Location outlay for family entertainment restaurants tends to reflect population density, with clusters in America's largest cities and suburban areas like New York and Los Angeles. 

State

Game Centers

CA

108

TX

96

FL

42

NY

34

IL

32

PA

29

OH

29

GA

24

MI

20

On a state level, Calironia leads with 108 locations, followed by Texas with 96.

State

City

Game Centers

TX

San Antonio

8

TX

Houston

8

TX

Austin

5

NV

Las Vegas

5

FL

Orlando

5

OK

Oklahoma City

5

IN

Indianapolis

5

CA

Los Angeles

5

TX

Fort Worth

5

NM

Albuquerque

5

When it comes to city-by-city density, however, Texas has everyone beat, with San Antonio alone having 8 various iterations of family entertainment restaurants to itself. Two other Texas cities, Houston and Austin, take second- and third-places in terms of options.

The Northeast shows some of the widest diversity of options, from Washington D.C. through Philadephia and up into New York, where Chuck E. Cheese restaurants follow I95 and Dave & Busters tend to branch into suburban areas.

In Southern California, Dave & Busters' locations appear strategically located near or in-between its rivals, as Japan-based Round1 makes a clear showing in the southwest's more suburban areas like Temecula and Riverside.

Meanwhile, Dallas and Houston, Texas represent tight clusters of virtually all options, with only Chuck E. Cheese making its way into less populous areas like Lafayette and Shreveport.

When it comes to income levels for the various fun centers' customers, modern American arcades appear to be equal opportunity affairs. While Chuck E. Cheese tends to venture out into lower-income areas, it doesn't shy away from high-income distsricts like the Bay Area and New York City.

As malls transform from weekend pastime and into collections of destinations, family entertainment centers appear poised for continued success. While the 80s arcade may have missed the mark with a lack of food and family-friendly accommodations and the pizza parlor may have failed to create a destination experience, family fun centers have created a mix of food, fun, and time-killing that is likely to stick around for some time.

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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