New Work for Dave & Buster's to Break in Fall

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Restaurant chain Dave & Buster's tapped Fallon, New York, to handle its $6 million advertising account, following a review, the company said today.

The Publicis Groupe advertising agency competed for the account against the chain's nine-month incumbent, Square One, Dallas, as well as finalists Crispin Porter Bogusky, Miami; and Interpublic Group of Cos.' Austin Kelley, Atlanta. Consultant Pile & Co., Boston, conducted the review.

The Dallas-headquartered chain's 32 units across the country are a combination restaurant and entertainment complex that features carnival-style games as well as billiards and virtual reality systems.

Dave & Buster's officially parts ways with Square One on Sept. 1 and Fallon will begin work defining the brand. Some efforts will start to appear in the fall, but a full-fledged campaign won't begin until early 2004, said Maria Miller, senior vice president of marketing for Dave & Buster's, who joined the company in May.

"We're trying to build the business and generate sales," Ms. Miller said about the new marketing appointment. Same-store sales at the chain fell 3.2% in 2002 and were down 7.5% in the second quarter ended May 4. Because of the economic woes, the chain tabled expansion plans and cut hourly and management staff.

The company said it is adding more games and amusements to each unit and that it will continue to push event programs and is planning a guest loyalty program.

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