Diners Have an Appetite for Entertainment

October 2018

alleyToday’s diners continue to value experiences more and more. For some, going out to a restaurant to eat a meal is simply not enough. They hunger for great-tasting food as well as fun and excitement. Enter the world of eatertainment.

Almost 60% of consumers say they’re intrigued by eatertainment concepts: venues that simultaneously serve meals and offer a chance to participate in interactive activities. Millennials are especially interested in these types of restaurants, as research shows that they would rather pay for experiences than products. In addition, Bankrate reports that millennials are already dining away from home five times per week.

Many popular eatertainment destinations feature bowling, laser tag and indoor golf, while others focus on specific genres or subjects. SafeHouse, a restaurant with locations in Milwaukee and Chicago, gives customers the opportunity to enjoy spy-themed meals and drinks while carrying out super-secret missions, during which they attempt to solve a series of mysteries.

Perhaps one of the most well-known eatertainment destinations is Dave & Buster’s, a kid- and adult-friendly arcade that serves meals as well as alcohol. First launched in 1982, the business is now growing at a rate of 14 locations per year.

All eatertainment-based restaurants have a unique opportunity for incremental sales. They often feature gift shops and other ways to entice customers to make purchases. For example, SafeHouse lets diners exit through a secret door for an additional $1 per person.

While the ability to enjoy and document experiences at eatertainment establishments is very important, the food should never be put on the back burner. Research shows that 75–80% of revenue can still be attributed to food and beverage sales.

No matter the type of foodservice operation you’re working in, it’s important to ensure you’re offering diners the dishes and experiences they’re seeking. Learn about restaurant, menu and consumer trends in our Resource Center, and be sure to check out our Facebook and LinkedIn pages for the latest foodservice updates.


Avant, Mary. Inside the Rise of Eatertainment Dining, QSR, December 2017.

Fromm, Jeff. ‘Eatertainment’ Venues Serve Up The Right Recipe To Attract Millennials, Forbes, February 2018.

Stern, Gary M. Eatertainment: The Next Frontier for Casual Dining, FSR, December 2017.

Lalley, Heather. 7 ways ‘eatertainment’ is being reinvented, Restaurant Business, March 2017.

Whitten, Sarah. Dave & Buster’s is one way malls are filling all those empty Sears stores, CNBC, February 2018.

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