Dave and Buster's
Case Study – Dave & Buster’s Friendswood Grand Opening
As Dallas-based food and entertainment chain Dave & Buster’s began the process of expanding its Houston footprint to include a new franchise in the southeastern suburb of Friendswood, the company’s corporate office looked to Integrate for help. Not only in charge of garnering media attention for the new store, Integrate was also tasked with securing the attendance of more than 500 local VIPs and members of targeted interest groups at the store’s sneak preview VIP event.
Knowing that Dave and Buster’s is a franchise whose mission is to be their guests’ first choice for fun through the latest and greatest games, ultimate sports viewing, extraordinary food and remarkable drinks, Integrate began engaging with media outlets that covered both food and drink, as well as the gaming community in Houston and its surrounding areas. By leveraging Dave & Buster’s unique combination of food, drinks and games, Integrate’s media strategy enabled the team to reach traditional print and television journalists as well as a host of Houston’s top online media – a group with a direct access and influence over the millennial crowd that Dave & Buster’s was trying to reach.
In addition to media outreach efforts, Integrate was tasked with capturing a goal of 900 RSVPs for Dave & Buster’s sneak preview VIP event. Not only would the group that Integrate invited to the preview event give Dave & Buster’s employees an opportunity to perfect their service in advance of the Grand Opening, but in picking the right groups to attend event, the event would also help the new store open its doors with an already established base of fans and consumers.
Integrate began the invitation process by researching social, community, employee and public interest groups in the Friendswood area and beyond, focusing on groups that fit Dave & Buster’s target demographic. Examples of groups included are Texas Exes Bay Area, NASA Sports Clubs, Big Brothers Big Sisters leadership, local Chambers of Commerce and more.
Prior to releasing the invitations, Integrate took special care and time to make personal relationships with group leaders and “gate-keepers” to ensure that the invitation was not only taken seriously, but also understood completely. Due in part to the extra time and care given to this aspect of the process, as well as to the media excitement that Integrate helped generate surrounding the opening, the sneak preview VIP event “sold out” in less than 48 hours, nearly a week before the second round of invitations was scheduled to be sent.
Through efforts that included traditional press releases and pitches, media drops that took elements from Dave & Buster’s “Winner’s Circle” and famous pretzel dogs from its kitchen straight to the doors of Houston media and a fully catered media sneak peek and tour event, Integrate was able to secure more than 31 million media and social media impressions in just over two months on the project.
On the television front, Ruben Dominquez of Houston’s FOX 26 affiliate visited Dave & Buster’s and learned what it was like to be a “Game Technician” at the store during his popular “Job for a Day” segment and ABC 13 interviewed Dave & Buster’s Friendswood’s General Manager and highlighted the store during their larger story on the opening of the Baybrook Mall expansion. In print and online media, the Houston Chronicle featured the opening and bloggers from around the area covered the opening on both their blogs and through their social media accounts.
Thanks to a sold-out VIP event and with an entire second invitation list ready to be sent, but no room at the event for additional guests, Integrate developed a special deal in conjunction with Dave & Buster’s Friendswood’s special events department to offer these groups free appetizers and discounted game play if they booked a party at the store in its first few months of opening. Again reaching out through the relationships and connections that Integrate made through the building of the initial list, Integrate was able to secure three additional holiday events for the store and countless additional contacts that Dave & Buster’s Friendswood’s special events team is able to keep on hand for future specials and promotions. One such additional contact resulted in a partnership that sees a local Friendswood business host their weekly community meeting at the store.
During Integrate’s time working with Dave & Buster’s, Integrate was able to build relationships with not only the corporate store opening and Friendswood management team, but also the management team for the other two well-established Houston stores. Not only did the relationships help all Grand Opening events and activities run smoothly, but allowed Integrate to continue its relationship past the Friendswood Grand Opening event into a new relationship managing the social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) accounts of all three Houston-area Dave & Buster’s stores.