Almost one month after Dave & Buster's opened in the former Circuit City building at the South Shore Plaza, town officials have yet to learn of any serious safety issues and several have said they are satisified so far with the restaurant and arcade's preferential hiring treatment of Braintree residents.
Dave & Buster's has hired 57 local workers out of 285 open positions, accounting for 20 percent of the total hires, according to a letter sent from the company's corporate office to councilor Tom Bowes. Braintree residents were allowed to apply and be considered for jobs prior to all other applicants, resulting in a significantly higher percentage of Braintree applicants hired out of their pool (61%) compared to the total number of applicants (39%).
"Dave & Buster's has stayed true to their word," Bowes said in an interview. "It's a very well-run organization. They've been good neighbors."
During the facility's months-long permitting process, Dave & Buster's agreed to the preferential hiring and also combated fear among some residents that the establishment would attract crime, particularly underage drinking.
Those concerns, while dampened by last month's uneventful opening and the first few weeks of relatively quiet operation, have not disappeared completely. In a recent letter to the Braintree Forum, Allan Flowers, a vocal opponent of development in the Granite Street corridor, wrote that other Dave & Buster's locations have had serious problems and called an amusement games law adopted by the Town Council "fatally flawed."
District 1 Councilor and newly-appointed council president Charles Kokoros said he is taking a wait-and-see approach, and while he has not heard of any real public safety issues yet, there does seem to be a lot of late-night activity at the restaurant. Kokoros also expressed concern that Dave & Buster's did not extend the same priority treatment to local union construction workers as it did to the permanent employee base.
Last Friday, during the break between Christmas and New Year's, Mayor Joseph Sullivan said he went to Dave & Buster's for lunch with his family and "had a good experience." His son Patrick enjoyed Guitar Hero and the family played basketball.
"We had a lot of fun," Sullivan said.
As for security, the mayor says "so far so good," and also said he appreciated the attention paid by Dave & Buster's managers to the local hiring process.
"As part of our agreement, we let them know we were looking for Braintree preference, and they responded," Sullivan said.
Nearly 1,800 people applied for positions with Dave & Buster's. Of that total, 210 were Braintree residents and of those, 93 were interviewed and 57 hired. Overall, 285 of 738 interviewees were selected, according to the company letter. Approximately 152 Braintree residents applied and were not hired.
District 2 Councilor John Mullaney, who reported during the 2011 local election that Dave & Buster's and in particular its hiring efforts were a significant issue for his constituents, said he was pleased with how the numbers turned out.
"We never asked them to hire incompetent people," Mullaney said.