You can thank new menu items and Luigi (of Super Mario Bros. fame) for pushing Dave & Busters (NASDAQ: PLAY) to a huge quarter.

The restaurant and entertainment company reported total revenues increased 17.7% to $262 million from $222.7 million while comparable store sales increased by 3.6%. Net income also grew 59.5% to $31.2 million, or $0.72 per diluted share, compared to net income of $19.5 million, or $0.46 per diluted share.

"During the first quarter, our 18 non-comparable stores contributed an incremental $31.1 million to our top-line, and together with a 3.6% increase in comparable store sales, resulted in an acceleration of total revenue growth by 17.7% to $262 million," said CEO Steve King in the earnings release. "...Our comparable store sales have now exceeded the competitive casual dining benchmark for 16 straight quarters and reached 13.5% on a two-year stacked basis."

King cited a shift in revenue to amusement, which offers higher margins, and during the earnings call, President Dolf Berle laid out the other reasons behind the impressive numbers.

Why is Dave & Busters doing well?

Dave & Busters marketed to its target audience of 21- to 39-year-olds through "new news of interest to them," said Berle during the call, Nation's Restaurant News reported. To reach that audience, the company advertised on ESPN, as well as Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network, but it tweaked its message.

"We switched to a broader theme of 'New Is What We Do,'" he said, which included adding arcade versions of Luigi's Mansion, and new menu items that were "visually impactful, innovative and shareable."

About 35% of total food sales in the past 12 months came from menu items added within the last four years, according to Berle.

Good things are still to come

While these numbers are very encouraging, King also explained how a negative trend in retail could actually help Dave & Busters.

"Given what's going on with some of the department store brands and big-box retailers, there is a lot of real estate becoming available in markets to meet our criteria," King said. "And while others are having challenges at their mall locations, our mall stores are performing quite well. So as landlords and developers pivot toward more entertainment options versus traditional fashion retail and mall, we are in a good position to capitalize on these opportunities."

The company also has new games on tap for the summer, including one based on the Ghostbusters remake.

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Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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