Dave & Buster’s grows N.J. presence, opening in Wayne

Imagine what it must look and feel like when a restaurant, sports bar and interactive video arcade hosts an all-day team-building event for a company with more than 2,000 employees.

That is the goal for Dave & Buster’s new location at the Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, according to Bruce Crane, the regional operations manager.

“The dense population and the demographics of people here in New Jersey are who we want to see: young adults between the ages of 18 and 35 going out and having a good time together,” Crane said.

The 48,000-square-foot location in Wayne opened to the public Wednesday, following Dave & Buster’s entry into the state at its 34,000-square-foot location at the Woodbridge Mall in November.

Dave & Buster’s second New Jersey location also brings with it the creation of more than 200 jobs, with more than 40 percent of the current management base being promoted from within the company.

“We have a great internal management training program, which especially helps us to grow and develop in markets where we expect to see a lot of new stores and movement, such as this one,” Crane said.

The store marks the 109th location for the billion-dollar brand, which was founded in 1982 and is headquartered in Dallas.

“We had wanted to be in New Jersey for a really long time, but the pre-existing laws prevented us from doing so,” Crane said.

The chain was only able to open in New Jersey last year, after former Gov. Chris Christie lifted a 58-year-old law prohibiting the serving of alcohol where games of chance and skill that reward players with tickets or prizes are present.

Dave & Buster’s first New Jersey location already has been a resounding success, Crane said.

“We are about four months in, and you can still see the high volume of traffic coming in every single day of the week and on weekends,” he said. “The community there has really embraced us.”

Dave & Buster’s location in Wayne will feature nearly 550 restaurant and bar seats, a dedicated billiards area, and more than 165 of the latest arcade games, especially those with advanced technologies and projection capabilities.

“We own, operate and maintain all of our games ourselves, so that our success rate of game play is second to none,” Crane said.

The space also includes private and semi-private meeting rooms, as well as board rooms and conference areas with access to Wi-Fi, projectors, screens, microphones and a dedicated event planner.

“Dave & Buster’s has had major corporations, such as Samsung, host full-day conferences with us in which we provide great food and team-building activities,” Crane said.

Dave & Buster’s in Wayne, Crane said, can accommodate groups as small as 15 up to the venue capacity of 2,200.

The brand also isn’t stopping there.

“We certainly are planning more Dave & Buster’s in the state and expect to see at least five locations in New Jersey alone,” Crane said.