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NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Think about establishments such as Chuck E. Cheese's (owned by CEC Entertainment(CEC)), Dave & Busters and Hooters. You have likely been to at least one of the three.
It's probably safe to assume the proprietors of these establishments did not conceive them as fine eateries. In fact, in all three cases, food likely took a backseat in the business plan.
In it's most recent annual report
(via the SEC), CEC states "the dining and entertainment components of [its] business are interdependent." Give me a break. The food stinks. And there's no way any adult would consume it given an alternative. It just happens to be there to scarf down in between video games, diaper changes and scoldings.
The same goes for Dave & Busters as well as Hooters. You do not go there for the food. These companies know this. You go there to provide your children a wholly artificial experience, drink beer or flirt with women who have large breasts.
It might sound like I'm knocking this approach. I'm not. I can participate in these in-store adventures with the best of them and eat loads of terrible food while I'm at it. In fact, I think run-of-the-mill retailers ought to mimic the approach.
Best Buy(BBY - Get Report), even
WalMart(WMT - Get Report) and
Target(TGT - Get Report) -- soulless brick and mortar retailers need to stop dipping into the same dead and tired retail toolkits and do something different. Maybe even crazy.
Don't let Walmart and Target's relative outperformance fool you. They're as vulnerable as anybody else in the broad space. Here's why.