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Each year, Black Box Intelligence (formerly TDn2K) (Transforming Data into Knowledge) hosts the Global Best Practices Conference, an event designed to bring together the best and brightest restaurant leaders to share insights as well as honor those in the industry who have truly gone above and beyond in creating superior workplaces. These workplaces are honored with the annual Best Practices awards for outstanding performance in categories such as workforce diversity, community involvement and sustainable practices. Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and place in the top 10% of their segment in these categories.

This year’s list of finalists in the Upscale dining category includes The Cheesecake Factory, BJ’s Restaurants and Dave and Buster’s. Dave and Buster’s is a restaurant built on the very concept of “fun for all ages.” Here’s what we learned about their positive attitude and community involvement:

Q: Does your company have any initiatives or practices that are intended to benefit a “cause” such as education, childhood hunger, cancer, etc.? If so, why does your company choose to support it and how do employees contribute?

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A: For years we allowed each store to individually choose the philanthropic cause they’d like to support. This enables each store to pick a meaningful organization for their store and community. We still support each store’s local charity outreach. However, in 2012 we decided to select a national charity partner to unify the D&B’s philanthropic outreach. We partnered with our stores to select Make-A-Wish as our national charity. It is a fantastic organization that is committed to supporting children facing life threatening illness. Our program allows every employee and guest to participate. In the year that we launched the program, we raised over $250,000. This is the highest fundraising amount that the MAW organization has ever received from a first year national partner. By the end of 2015, Dave and Buster’s will have donated over $4,200,000 to MAW. What is one of the best aspects of this program? We get to grant wishes at our stores so our employees actually see the impact it has on these children and their families. It brings the importance of caring about others to the forefront with strong alignment to one of our four culture pillars “Everybody is Somebody.”

Q: Do you have any examples of work by your employees in community involvement, corporate responsibility or sustainable business practices that you would like to share?

A: Our Power Up, Power Down program has been around since 1996. It was designed and established by our Houston management team in an effort to conserve energy. Our Midway is filled with games and simulators and this program implements a phased approach to providing energy in the Midway as efficiently as possible. Our Bright ideas program encourages our employees to submit ideas that drive sales, improve operation or enhance the guest experience. Through this program our innovative team members help us improve our business every day!

Q: Your four culture pillars are: Everybody is Somebody, Founders’ Spirit, You Got It, and Fun to the Core. Can you explain what each of these mean and how they are implemented on a daily basis?

A: Our goal was to have the culture to be easy to grasp, easy to remember for our hourly team, management team, guests and WHQ members. And visually, we wanted the pillars to embody the brand spirit of fun. Each culture icon tells how that pillar is a link in our success by showing the connection to our business, our history and our people. The icons also have stated behaviors to guide actions and decisions. Not only do they boost performance by shaping and coordinating behavior, but they also allow for an accountability touch-point when they are not used.

Everybody is Somebody: Believing everybody is somebody creates a winning environment where each team member reaches their full potential in whatever role they are in. In short, they become a STAR. Everybody is somebody at D&B, and everybody gets to be a STAR.

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Founders’ Spirit: Each team member at D&B has as much pride and passion for doing what’s right as our founders, Dave and Buster. Our team is seamless and we don’t recognize boundaries of whether something is in our “job description.” If something needs to be done, we do it- no questions asked.

You Got It: Guests can sense when team members are having fun and love their jobs. There’s an air of energy and excitement that you can feel as soon as you walk through our doors. “You Got It!” is an attitude that is contagious and makes our guests love spending time in our stores.

Fun to the Core: What do our guests like best about us? Some say it’s our food. Others claim it’s our games. And for a group of folks, it’s all about enjoying a refreshing drink. You can bet we are quite proud of the fact that we do all of these things really well. But we believe it is the combination of these THREE great things that add up to ONE great experience.

Best Practice Award Nominees must be members of Workforce Intelligence (formerly People Report) and place in the top 10% of their segment in management retention, hourly employee retention, composite workforce diversity, year over year improvement in people metrics overall and community involvement. For more information on these awards, please contact sarah.atkinson-higgins@tdn2k.com.