Are You Not Entertained? A Look at Foot Traffic to Revenue Interactions in Amusement & Recreation

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Amusement and recreation franchises like Dave & Buster's and Drive Shack are undoubtedly essential sources of fun and stress relief for families, friends, and businesses, but foot traffic and revenue suffered for obvious reasons at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccines offering increased protection and a glimmer of rising foot traffic and dollars spent at retail locations, Unacast completed a temperature check across major enterprise amusement and recreation brands.

Which amusement and recreation franchises are showing signs of recovery in 2021, and do venues with outdoor components show stronger numbers? 
Based on dollars spent, which brands are positioned to make a comeback in 2022 ahead of their competitors? 

It's our expectation we'll see signs of recovery in the industry, but foot traffic will remain lower compared to pre-pandemic numbers due to continued restrictions and variant concerns.

Our findings indicate foot traffic is up across the board in amusement and recreation, but foot traffic counts haven't returned to pre-pandemic levels yet. Dave & Buster's won the top spot in terms of total visitation between 2020 and through 2021, with Topgolf taking second place. Clearly Dave & Buster's indoor facilities aren't a factor in consumer visitation, and we can pinpoint their enterprise arcade offering as a popular attraction for consumers beyond the driving ranges and dining options offered by venues like Topgolf.

Compared to Dave & Buster's, enterprise arcade provider Main Event Entertainment has fewer overall locations. Do certain arcade games at Dave & Buster's prove more attractive to consumers, or does Dave & Buster's greater reach prove advantageous? Their presence in remote states like Alaska and Hawaii may be essential to driving up their total traffic counts. It's also interesting to note a much higher average revenue per visitor for Main Event Entertainment compared to Dave & Buster's (see dashboard below), suggesting a more expensive product. Main Event may want to assess whether their pricing is a factor in reducing overall visitation.

Meanwhile, Topgolf is a foot traffic winner in the middle of the country, attaining the number one traffic counts for Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska. This exposes a competitive opportunity for Drive Shack in this region. Are there a lot of golf fans in this area, or is driving range access limited in these states? Examining these factors on a deeper level may provide Drive Shack an avenue for attaining a valuable market share.

Despite slightly reduced fourth quarter earnings in 2021, Dave & Buster's has shown a high level of recovery along with Topgolf, though Topgolf had higher fourth quarter revenue in 2021. Both of these brands are undoubtedly poised for a strong 2022, assuming no major pandemic disruptions.

Unacast will continue to monitor industry recovery across the board and offer the most up-to-date foot traffic insights for the United States and globally.


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