Dave & Busters set to lay off more than 300 Michigan workers in November

More than 300 employees at three Dave & Buster’s sports bar and restaurants in Michigan will see temporary furloughs turn into layoffs next month. 



an orange ball in front of a building: Dave & Busters in Livonia on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.


© Kirthmon F. Dozier, Detroit Free Press
Dave & Busters in Livonia on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020.

Dave & Buster’s plans to lay off 119 employees at its Utica location, 111 employees at its Livonia location and 81 employees at its Kentwood location, according to paperwork submitted to the state of Michigan. 

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The permanent layoffs are scheduled for Nov. 8.

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The food-and-games chain plans to lay off more than 1,300 workers in seven states, according to Restaurant Business. The largest number of layoffs are set to take place at the three Michigan locations, three Massachusetts stores and two Denver locations.

Dave & Buster’s had built up a celebrity buzz several years ago, including Instagram photos with actress Katie Holmes celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday with her family in Toledo at Dave & Buster’s in 2016 and news of Beyoncé holding a private album release party at Dave & Buster’s in Times Square in New York in 2013. 

In 2020, Dave & Buster’s has been seeking concessions from its lenders and finds itself surrounded by bankruptcy rumors. Dave & Buster’s stock had closed as high as $47.05 a share on Feb. 14. But it had tumbled by 65% over several months, closing at $16.10 on Oct. 9. 

More: Furloughs, layoffs hit business side of Detroit Red Wings, Tigers, other Ilitch Holdings venues

Dallas-based Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc. had closed all of its restaurants temporarily due to COVID-19 as of March 20 but reopened 66 locations by the end of June and 89 stores in 27 states as of Sept. 9, according to its earnings release.

All locations are operating under reduced hours and capacity limitations as dictated by each community, as well as new seating and game configurations to promote social distancing, according to a company news release issued in September.

The company did not issue a news release relating to the layoffs but instead reported layoffs via the required notices in individual states. 

Dave & Buster’s corporate executives did not return phone calls or emails. 

“We are taking this action because of COVID-19-related business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable,” according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notices, or WARN, supplied to the state. 

“We did not foresee how significantly and for how long of a time the pandemic and related governmental lockdown orders, initially issued for short durations in only a few cities, would spread throughout the country and be repeatedly extended,” the notice, dated Sept. 14, stated.

The company spoke of great difficulties in projecting staffing needs at a time of unprecedented circumstances. 

Dave & Buster’s stated in the notices that the Livonia, Utica and Kentwood locations were not being permanently closed and the company planned to rehire when economic and COVID-19 conditions permitted it to do so. 

 Contact Susan Tompor: stompor@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @tompor. To subscribe, please go to freep.com/specialoffer. Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter. 

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Dave & Busters set to lay off more than 300 Michigan workers in November

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