May 22, 2007 > Tim Weiderhoft, maestro in the eye of the storm
Tim Weiderhoft, maestro in the eye of the storm
Dave & Buster's brings unparalleled nightlife to the greater Tri-Cities
It is hard to describe the Dave & Buster's (D&B) experience. Combine the excitement of a colossal high-tech midway, billiard rooms, a lively restaurant and several bars. Add a well-trained and focused staff that has customer service indelibly fused to their psyche and the result is fun, fun and more fun. Within this entertainment colossus, customers of all ages are transported to a place swirling with a delightful mixture of sights and sounds, infused with the extraordinary.
In the middle of the typical D&B whirlwind, General Manager Tim Weiderhoft guides his staff while closely watching the many facets of this enormous enterprise. His calm demeanor and managerial skills assure customer enjoyment and a well run organization. Watching Weiderhoft in action, it would be hard to guess how he began his career with Dave & Buster's.
On a relatively calm Friday afternoon, TCV was able to discuss D&B as well as Tim's role at this unique entertainment venue prior to the evening tidal wave of customers looking for fun and relaxation after a busy workweek.
TCV: How did you start with Dave & Buster's?
Weiderhoft: I wanted to get a restaurant job; I was in school to follow my career as an optician and lab technician and needed money to support my schooling. I didn't know anything about Dave & Buster's at the time, but interviewed for a job and was hired as a waiter. It all stemmed from there; I had a really good time and met a lot of great people. I took that famous 'semester off' in the year 2000 to save money...and then another semester, which led to this career.
TCV: Dave & Buster's is really much more than a restaurant. How do you manage it?
Weiderhoft: I don't call this a restaurant; we are an entertainment venue. Dave & Buster's (D&B) has everything from a billiard hall, bar, casino, club, restaurant, all rolled into one. There are specific areas managed by great people who report to me. Since I started here, I was brought up in the D&B way and manage with that in mind.
TCV: This facility is so large that it can overwhelm a first-time customer. How do you soften the impact?
Weiderhoft: We focus on three things: being fast, friendly and accommodating. Through those three fundamentals, our size will shrink to whatever our customer is looking for. Every day we train our staff on the guest connection. Of course, we are in a business to make money, but if we do our jobs efficiently and in a friendly manner, the business will do well.
Some customers come here to patronize the bar and watch the television screens while others love the midway. Our employees are trained to help Dave & Buster's visitors enjoy their experience. A majority of our guests come to Dave & Buster's because there is so much under one roof. Even though we are not a children's establishment, D&B can provide many amenities for families and still be true to our adult focus. The midway provides a full restaurant and bar menu so many first time guests start with that part of the experience.
In our 60,000 square feet, we provide four private party rooms as well as five different billiard areas that can be rented for corporate events, birthday parties or anniversaries. We also sponsor school district incentive programs that help showcase our facility and reward local teachers.
TCV: Does Dave & Busters cater to a specific age group?
Weiderhoft: Our demographic is traditionally age 24 to 32 but the great thing about D&B is that while that may be our target group, we have something for everyone. Even though we do not market specifically for birthday parties, they will fit here too. We market at the college and young professional level, but any age is welcome. Those under the age of 21 must be accompanied by someone over the age of 30 and remain with them at all times. We want to provide a safe environment so we are strict about our rules.
TCV: How often do you make changes at Dave & Busters?
Weiderhoft: We work to provide the ideal player condition. On the Midway which we call the Million Dollar Midway but is actually $3.5 million of video game technology, we provide the newest and largest versions. We don't go more than two or three months without having brand new games brought to D&B. This makes a big difference when playing these games, providing a better experience.
TCV: How would you describe this facility?
Weiderhoft: Take your favorite bar, your favorite restaurant and your favorite place to have fun. Put them all under one roof. That would be the best way to describe us. There is no other place like it.
I commonly hear three things about D&B: 'I didn't realize you had such a big and good menu; I didn't know you had so many bars;' and, 'I didn't know you had this many games.' Some have heard that we have an arcade, but have never seen anything this large with the types of games available.
TCV: Why do you enjoy this job?
Weiderhoft: I love to come here. It's exciting. When I interview prospective employees, I ask 'Why Dave & Buster's?' Many tell me that it looks like a fun place to be. And it is! I have the final say on all who work here, making sure they are the right people to create the D&B environment. When you have 240 employees and 17 managers there is never a dull moment. I love to help our guests...anywhere from 6,000 to 10,000 people come through our doors on a Saturday. If the staff is having a good time, then the guests will have a good time too. I thoroughly enjoy working with all the people at D&B.
TCV: What is the D&B management philosophy?
Weiderhoft: We have multiple tiers of management. The area operations managers have a very simple philosophy; take care of the people coming through the back door and take care of the people coming through the front door. Create the environment of friendly, fun and accommodating service. They monitor whether tables are being serviced quickly with perfect quality in a fun atmosphere. Our customers are visiting D&B for a fun experience and that is what we deliver.
Senior managers are monitoring the atmosphere, making sure the environment is fun for everyone and assuring profitability of the operation. We spend money to make money and provide a good product. As long as we maintain a pleasant and fun environment, the financials at the top will be taken care of.
The D&B philosophy is that we are ladies and gentlemen taking care of ladies and gentlemen. We strongly believe in providing professional, great atmosphere for our guests and doing it right the first time. We are all about people and rate our success on performance above all else. Throughout my career as a manager moving through the ranks, it has been constantly been preached and backed up that performance counts. Someone with many degrees and experience can be passed by the 23 year old waiter that performs better. What matters is what is being done now.
TCV: Does D&B have expansion plans?
Weiderhoft: We started opening our Grand Sports Cafes a couple of years ago which is a smaller model. To open something as large as this D&B in every market would not work. There are four different D&B models, the Milpitas facility being the largest model. Some have 40,000 square feet and others are smaller. This will allow us to go into different markets.
TCV: How does D&B compare with other Bay Area nightlife?
Weiderhoft: For those who want to hang out in a fun atmosphere with others who are also enjoying themselves, D&B provides the perfect place. Compare our facilities with others within a short commute and we stand out as unique with something for everyone. This location of D&B ranks number one in many categories of the many D&B locations throughout the nation and worldwide franchises. I invite all of our neighbors to come by and see what makes us perform so well. D&B is world class entertainment in your own backyard.
Dave & Busters
The Great Mall of the Bay, Milpitas
Sun - Wed:
11:30 am - 12:00 am
11:30 am - 1:00 am
Fri - Sat:
11:30 am - 2:00 am