Bridging the best of both worlds has made Dave & Buster's Entertainment (NASDAQ:PLAY) one of the steadiest plays in an otherwise rocky restaurant industry. The chain of "eatertainment" restaurants that combine casual dining with high-tech arcade gaming has been a big winner since its return as a public company. The stock has more than quadrupled since going public three years ago.

Dave & Buster's stock hit yet another all-time high on Friday, and that kind of momentum is going to heighten expectations as we head into next week's fresh financials. The 95-unit chain will report its first-quarter results on Tuesday after the market close.

Happy adults playing in a Dave & Buster's arcade.

Image source: Dave & Buster's.

Start playing with your food

Wall Street's holding out for another period of double-digit growth at Dave & Buster's. They see revenue of $299.85 million, 14.5% ahead of where it was a year earlier. The growth will come mostly from expansion, but also from an impressive streak of positive comps. Dave & Buster's has beaten the casual-dining benchmark when it comes to comparable-restaurant sales for 19 consecutive quarters. 

The chain's success comes from its model. Many table-service concepts are struggling to draw traffic since they're located in malls and shopping centers with waning retail interest. Dave & Buster's brings the party. It's a one-stop shop for food, drinks, and game-fueled revelry. It works, as the concept has avoided the "restaurant recession" that is tripping up so many established operators. Dave & Buster's has posted year-over-year revenue growth between 12.4% and 20.8% in each of its first 10 quarters since its late 2014 IPO, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Another big streak that Dave & Buster's is working on -- and probably a good reason why it's a four-bagger since pricing at the low end of its initial IPO pricing range due to a lack of investor interest -- is that it consistently smokes analysts on the bottom line.

Quarter EPS EPS
Estimate
Surprise
Q3 2014 ($0.06) ($0.09) N/A
Q4 2014 $0.33 $0.28 18%
Q1 2015 $0.46 $0.37 24%
Q2 2015 $0.40 $0.23 74%
Q3 2015 $0.12 $0.03 300%
Q4 2015 $0.53 $0.43 23%
Q1 2016 $0.72 $0.59 22%
Q2 2016 $0.50 $0.44 14%
Q3 2016 $0.25 $0.14 79%
Q4 2016 $0.63 $0.59 7%

EPS = earnings per share. Data source: Yahoo! Finance.

Dave & Buster's has managed to beat Wall Street profit targets by more than just a token penny or two in each of its first 10 quarters as a public company. Analysts see earnings per share climbing 13% to $0.81 a share for the quarter on Tuesday. History tells you to bet on the over. 

Wall Street's been playing a game of trying to keep up with Dave & Buster's reality. Wells Fargo had to boost its price target from $65.50 to $75 on Tuesday. It sees healthy comps and slightly higher-than-expected earnings, but the hot stock's track record suggests that Wells Fargo isn't going out on much of a limb with that prognostication. 

Healthy momentum and analysts boosting price targets don't mean that Dave & Buster's shareholders will be sitting pretty when the stock opens for trading on Wednesday. The stock actually took a hit last time out, posting its weakest bottom-line beat to date and initiating a ho-hum growth outlook for 2017. Dave & Buster's is winning the long game, but it still needs to live up to the hype with every passing quarter.

Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Dave & Buster's Entertainment. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.