Dave and Busters

The atmosphere at Dave & Buster’s more than thirty restaurants has always been innovative and lively. Combining good food and beverage with a whole range of modern game machines, how could it not be? Games players are always looking for the next hot thing, and the chain’s use of technology to make the concept work has been similarly forward-looking.

“We installed a WAN linking all of our locations five years ago, one of the first chains to do so,” says Pam Kanthor, Director of IT/POS Support. “We pull operational statistics from each site’s Remanco POS system into our own data warehouse, then run very complex menu engineering analysis on it down to the PLU level using Cognos PowerPlay.” The fine-tuned results – which items to offer, at what price and at which times, including any regional variations – are incorporated back into the individual Remanco systems from the Corporate office over the WAN, not entered locally.

What else has made a difference? “Gift cards have taken off in the last eighteen months,” says Kanthor. “The value assigned to any card when it’s sold through a Remanco terminal is sent automatically over the WAN to a central ValueLink database. That way, a recipient can redeem the card in any of our restaurants.”

How about the game machines? “We’ve sold the game-players mag-stripe stored-value cards for more than five years, but to date this has been on a separate system (Sacoa) to the POS. With Geac, we’re currently testing how the Remanco terminals could produce these cards; this would give us more flexibility as well as a more complete picture of the guests’ activities, schedules and so on.”

“We’re selective about what we use,” says Kanthor. “Reservations systems aren’t appropriate in our environment, but we do leverage the WAN as much as we can. For example, we’re replacing our store-based ReMACS purchasing systems with a centralized one from Compeat. The store managers will access this over the WAN to place their orders, and it will make it much easier to analyze overall purchasing patterns. We’re also looking at how we might use hand-held units in the future, especially in the game area.”

“But what would make the biggest difference would be the ability to integrate our timekeeping and POS systems. Labor costs are such an important factor that integrating the detailed data from these two systems would pay great dividends through more efficient staff scheduling.”

As for any good game player, staying focused on the right strategy is the key to winning – but there’s always the next level.

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