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Dave & Buster's

8 Tasty Facts About Dave & Buster's

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Dave & Buster's

If you’re old enough to feel self-conscious about going to Chuck E. Cheese without a juvenile, Dave & Buster’s might be a reasonable alternative. The arcade-slash-theme restaurant has been going strong since 1982, offering a mix of amusement fun and finger food. Take a look at some D&B trivia you can use the next time you’re waiting for a table.

1. THERE IS BOTH A REAL DAVE AND A REAL BUSTER.

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Not all brand namesakes are rooted in reality—we’re looking at you, Betty Crocker—but Dave & Buster’s did actually start out with two guys named Dave and Buster. In 1977, Dave Corriveau opened an entertainment complex, Slick Willy's World of Entertainment, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Not long after, former T.G.I. Fridays employee James "Buster" Corley opened his restaurant, Buster's, a few doors down. Both Dave and Buster noticed customers floating in and out of both establishments, giving them the idea to combine their resources and put their offerings under one roof. Dave & Buster’s was born. (Dave’s name came first because he won a coin toss.)

2. THEY HAD VERY EXPENSIVE POOL TABLES.

Supervising two of the first Dave & Buster’s locations in Dallas, Corley and Corriveau wanted to make sure customers felt like they were in a higher-end gaming establishment. In addition to blackjack tables, the two ordered $15,000 pool tables that were handmade from mahogany and rosewood.

3. THEY USED TO OFFER A RIDE IN AN ELECTRIC CHAIR.

Always eager to try out the latest in arcade amusements, in 2000 a Dave & Buster’s in Maryland installed the Original Shocker—a replica electric chair that allowed patrons to simulate capital punishment. Players were strapped into an oak chair and grabbed on to handles to allow for a mild vibration in place of the 13,200 volts typical of the real thing. The attraction even offered a puff of smoke to mimic the singed flesh of the criminal element. In the understatement of the century, one spectator told The Washington Post the ride “borders” on bad taste.

4. THEY TRIED SYNCHRONIZED MOVIE SEATS.

Dipping into theme park realms, in 1996 Dave & Buster’s offered to screen movies with something they referred to as “synchronized seating.” The mechanical seats were programmed to react to the action onscreen. Short films inspired by Aliens and Days of Thunder were among the offerings.

5. EACH RESTAURANT HAS OVER $1 MILLION IN GAMES.

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You’re probably not going to find any dusty Pac-Man cabinets here. Owing to their reputation for offering electronic diversions, a typical Dave & Buster’s will have over $1 million worth of arcade and interactive games on hand.

6. THEY MIGHT BE WORTH MORE THAN AN ACTUAL CASINO.

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As a public stock, Dave & Buster’s has a market cap of $1.47 billion—that’s more than Caesars Palace, the Las Vegas-based casino empire with a cap of $947 million.

7. THEY WANT TO HELP DRESS YOU.

Earlier this year, the company began rolling out a possible substitution for its Power Card, the scannable card that keeps track of points accrued while playing games. For $10, customers can buy a Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) accessory that performs the same functions without having to be inserted into machines. You can wear it as a bracelet, lanyard, or as a Harry Potter-style wand.

8. IT TOOK THEM 34 YEARS TO COME BACK TO ARKANSAS.

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A Dave & Buster’s finally opened in Little Rock in 2016, 34 years after both owners had gotten their starts in the city. What took so long? Arkansas had legislation in place banning anyone from winning more than $5 in amusement games. A bill was approved that raised the cap to $500, so the franchise could continue to award big-ticket prizes like video game systems.

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Pop Culture
How Jimmy Buffett Turned 'Margaritaville' Into a Way of Life
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Few songs have proven as lucrative as “Margaritaville,” a modest 1977 hit by singer and songwriter Jimmy Buffett that became an anthem for an entire life philosophy. The track was the springboard for Buffett’s business empire—restaurants, apparel, kitchen appliances, and more—marketing the taking-it-easy message of its tropical print lyrics.

After just a few years of expanding that notion into other ventures, the “Parrot Heads” of Buffett’s fandom began to account for $40 million in annual revenue—and that was before the vacation resorts began popping up.

Jimmy Buffett performs for a crowd
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“Margaritaville,” which turned 40 this year, was never intended to inspire this kind of devotion. It was written after Buffett, as an aspiring musician toiling in Nashville, found himself in Key West, Florida, following a cancelled booking in Miami and marveling at the sea of tourists clogging the beaches.

Like the other songs on his album, Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes, it didn’t receive a lot of radio play. Instead, Buffett began to develop his following by opening up for The Eagles. Even at 30, Buffett was something less than hip—a flip-flopped performer with a genial stage presence that seemed to invite an easygoing vibe among crowds. “Margaritaville,” an anthem to that kind of breezy attitude, peaked at number eight on the Billboard charts in 1977. While that’s impressive for any single, its legacy would quickly evolve beyond the music industry's method for gauging success.

What Buffett realized as he continued to perform and tour throughout the early 1980s is that “Margaritaville” had the ability to sedate audiences. Like a hypnotist, the singer could immediately conjure a specific time and place that listeners wanted to revisit. The lyrics painted a scene of serenity that became a kind of existential vacation for Buffett's fans:

Nibblin' on sponge cake,
Watchin' the sun bake;
All of those tourists covered with oil.
Strummin' my six string on my front porch swing.
Smell those shrimp —
They're beginnin' to boil.

By 1985, Buffett was ready to capitalize on that goodwill. In Key West, he opened a Margaritaville store, which sold hats, shirts, and other ephemera to residents and tourists looking to broadcast their allegiance to his sand-in-toes fantasy. (A portion of the proceeds went to Save the Manatees, a nonprofit organization devoted to animal conservation.) The store also sold the Coconut Telegraph, a kind of propaganda newsletter about all things Buffett and his chill perspective.

When Buffett realized patrons were coming in expecting a bar or food—the song was named after a mixed drink, after all—he opened a cafe adjacent to the store in late 1987. The configuration was ideal, and through the 1990s, Buffett and business partner John Cohlan began erecting Margaritaville locations in Florida, New Orleans, and eventually Las Vegas and New York. All told, more than 21 million people visit a Buffett-inspired hospitality destination every year.

A parrot at Margaritaville welcomes guests
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Margaritaville-branded tequila followed. So, too, did a line of retail foods like hummus, a book of short stories, massive resorts, a Sirius radio channel, and drink blenders. Buffett even wrote a 242-page script for a Margaritaville movie that he had hoped to film in the 1980s. It’s one of the very few Margaritaville projects that has yet to have come to fruition, but it might be hard for Buffett to complain much. In 2015, his entire empire took in $1.5 billion in sales.

As of late, Buffett has signed off on an Orlando resort due to open in 2018, offering “casual luxury” near the boundaries of Walt Disney World. (One in Hollywood, Florida, is already a hit, boasting a 93 percent occupancy rate.) Even for guests that aren’t particularly familiar with his music, “Jimmy Buffett” has become synonymous with comfort and relaxation just as surely as Walt Disney has with family entertainment. The association bodes well for a business that will eventually have to move beyond Buffett’s concert-going loyalists.

Not that he's looking to leave them behind. The 70-year-old Buffett is planning on a series of Margaritaville-themed retirement communities, with the first due to open in Daytona Beach in 2018. More than 10,000 Parrot Heads have already registered, eager to watch the sun set while idling in a frame of mind that Buffett has slowly but surely turned into a reality.

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Design
The Secret to the World's Most Comfortable Bed Might Be Yak Hair
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Savoir Beds laughs at your unspooling mail-order mattresses and their promises of ultimate comfort. The UK-based company has teamed with London's Savoy Hotel to offer what they’ve declared is one of the most luxurious nights of sleep you’ll ever experience. 

What do they have that everyone else lacks? About eight pounds of Mongolian yak hair.

The elegantly-named Savoir No. 1 Khangai Limited Edition is part of the hotel’s elite Royal Suite accommodations. For $1845 a night, guests can sink into the mattress with a topper stuffed full of yak hair from Khangai, Mongolia. Hand-combed and with heat-dispensing properties, it takes 40 yaks to make one topper. In a press release, collaborator and yarn specialist Tengri claims it “transcends all levels of comfort currently available.”

Visitors opting for such deluxe amenities also have access to a hair stylist, butler, chef, and a Rolls-Royce with a driver.

Savoir Beds has entered into a fair-share partnership with the farmers, who receive an equitable wage in exchange for the fibers, which are said to be softer than cashmere. If you’d prefer to luxuriate like that every night, the purchase price for the bed is $93,000. Purchased separately, the topper is $17,400. Act soon, as only 50 of the beds will be made available each year. 

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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