Financial Overview — March 2015

 
  • Chuy's Holdings, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2014 Financial Results

    Chuy's Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHUY) yesterday announced financial results for the 13-week and 52-week periods ended December 28, 2014.

    Highlights for the fourth quarter ended December 28, 2014 were as follows:

    • Revenue increased 21.7% to $61.8 million from $50.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.
    • Comparable restaurant sales increased 3.8% as compared to the same period in 2013, the 18th consecutive quarter of comparable restaurant sales growth.
    • Net income was $2.3 million, or $0.14 per diluted share, compared to $2.5 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2013.
    • Restaurant-level EBITDA(1) increased 8.2% to $9.6 million from $8.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.
    • One new restaurant opened during the fourth quarter of 2014.

    Highlights for the fiscal year ended December 28, 2014 were as follows:

    • Revenue increased 19.9% to $245.1 million from $204.4 million in the 2013 fiscal year.
    • Comparable restaurant sales increased 3.3% as compared to the same period in 2013.
    • Net income increased to $11.5 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, from $11.1 million, or $0.66 per diluted share during the 2013 fiscal year. Pro forma net income(1) for fiscal 2013 was $11.5 million, or $0.69 per diluted share.
    • Restaurant-level EBITDA(1) increased 8.8% to $42.5 million from $39.1 million in the 2013 fiscal year.
    • A total of eleven new restaurants opened during 2014.

    Steve Hislop, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chuy's Holdings, Inc., stated, "We're pleased with the continued momentum of our core business, including a 3.8% increase in comparable sales during the fourth quarter which marked our 18th straight quarter of comparable sales growth. We continue to focus on initiatives to drive sales and improve margins in our non-comparable restaurants and we are pleased with the early results. Our development pipeline for 2015, which now calls for ten to eleven new Chuy's restaurants is in good shape, and we have already opened two restaurants this year. We believe the evolution of our real estate strategy to increase focus on new unit growth in larger densely populated markets will allow us to more productively grow our geographical footprint and take advantage of the development opportunity that lies ahead."

    Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Results

    Revenue increased 21.7% to $61.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $50.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The increase was primarily driven by $10.5 million in incremental revenue from an additional 148 operating weeks provided by 13 new restaurants opened during and subsequent to the fourth quarter of 2013.

    Comparable restaurant sales increased 3.8% during the fourth quarter of 2014 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. The increase in comparable sales was driven by a 2.8% increase in average check and a 1.0% increase in average weekly customers. The comparable restaurant base consisted of 41 restaurants during the fourth quarter of 2014.

    Total restaurant operating costs as a percentage of revenue increased to 84.4% in the fourth quarter of 2014 from 82.4% in the fourth quarter of 2013, driven primarily by the impact of higher labor costs related to increased training and staffing levels and lower restaurant volumes at certain of our newer restaurants; higher food costs, particularly beef, chicken and dairy costs; and higher occupancy costs related to lower restaurant volumes at certain of our newer restaurants. These increased costs were partially offset by lower liquor taxes as a result of a new liquor tax law in Texas, which went into effect on January 1, 2014.

    As a result of the foregoing, net income decreased $0.2 million to $2.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, or $0.14 per diluted share, from $2.5 million, or $0.15 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2013.

    Development Update

    During the fourth quarter, one new Chuy's restaurant was opened in Springfield, Virginia. Subsequent to the end of the fourth quarter, two additional Chuy's restaurants were opened in Southlake, Texas and Orlando, Florida.



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  • Sonic Announces 11.5% Same-Store Sales Growth for the Second Quarter of Fiscal 2015

    Sonic Corp. (NASDAQ:SONC) today announced that system-wide same-store sales for its second fiscal quarter, which ended February 28, 2015, increased approximately 11.5%. Same-store sales reflected an increase of approximately 11.3% at company drive-ins and approximately 11.5% at franchise drive-ins.

    "Product innovation, continued growth in our core menu items and our national media strategy all contributed to an exceptionally strong sales quarter," said Cliff Hudson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We are particularly pleased that the majority of our sales growth was driven by traffic, reflecting the positive impact of our multiple initiatives and economic tailwinds. We maintained our sales momentum through our seasonally slower time of year and invested in incremental labor to ensure we sustain this momentum going into our seasonally strongest quarters of the fiscal year."

    Second Fiscal Quarter 2015 Earnings Call

    The company will release results for the quarter ended February 28, 2015 after the market close on Tuesday, March 24, 2015. The company will host a conference call to review financial results on March 24, 2015, at 5:00 PM ET. The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing (877) 340-7912 or (719) 325-4765 for international callers. 

    SONIC®, America's Drive-In®, is the nation's largest chain of drive-in restaurants with more than 3,500 drive-ins serving approximately 3 million customers every day. Over the past 60 years, SONIC has delighted guests with signature menu items, more than 1 million drink combinations, friendly service by iconic Carhops and ongoing support of education through its award-winning Limeades for Learning® program. SONIC received top honors as America's "#1 burger quick service restaurant," ranking in the top 5 of all brands in the 2014 Temkin Experience Ratings report.


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  • DineEquity, Inc. Reports Successful Fourth Quarter and Fiscal 2014 Results

    Full-year domestic system wide same-restaurant sales increased 3.9% at IHOP and 1.1% at Applebee's

    DineEquity, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, yesterday announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year of fiscal 2014. 

    "DineEquity delivered successful results for fiscal 2014.  We achieved several significant goals this year, aimed at driving additional shareholder value.  We saw meaningful progress in accelerating same-restaurant sales at both Applebee's and IHOP, as each brand finished the year with great momentum," said Julia A. Stewart, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DineEquity, Inc.  Ms. Stewart continued, "We further positioned the Company for long-term success by completing a securitization refinancing to obtain a significantly lower fixed interest rate for the long-term.  The increased financial flexibility paved the way for our new capital allocation strategy, highlighting our commitment to return substantial cash to shareholders.  As we begin 2015, we are executing on our key strategic priorities to sustain strong financial performance and build even stronger brands."

    Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Highlights

    • Adjusted net income available to common stockholders was $21.9 million, representing adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.16, for the fourth quarter of 2014.  This compares to $18.6 million, or adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.98, for the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 18%.  The increase in adjusted net income was mainly due to a decline in cash interest expense and higher segment profit.  These items were partially offset by an increase in general and administrative expenses in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the same period of 2013 and higher income taxes.  The fourth quarter financial results reflect the financial impact of the securitization refinancing transaction.  (See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below.)
    • GAAP net loss was $22.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2014, or net loss per share of $1.18.  This compares to net income available to common stockholders of $17.9 million, or earnings per diluted share of $0.94, for the fourth quarter of 2013.  The net loss was driven by a loss on the extinguishment of debt and higher general and administrative expenses.  These items were partially offset by lower income tax expense, a decline in interest expense, and higher segment profit.

      Income tax expense was lower in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the fourth quarter of 2013 due to the write-off of costs associated with our refinancing transaction and the adoption of certain production activity deductions and research credits.

    • General and administrative expenses were $43.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $38.6 million for the same period of 2013. The increase was mainly due to the timing of franchise conference expenses and personnel costs year-over-year.  For fiscal 2014, the increase in general and administrative expenses was $2.3 million, or 1.6%.           

    Fiscal 2014 Highlights

    • Adjusted net income available to common stockholders was $89.6 million in fiscal 2014, representing adjusted earnings per diluted share of $4.73.  This compares to $81.2 million, or adjusted earnings per diluted share of $4.24, for fiscal 2013, an increase of 12%.  The increase was primarily due to lower cash interest expense and higher segment profit.  These items were partially offset by higher income taxes.  (See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below.)
    • GAAP net income available to common stockholders was $35.9 million in fiscal 2014, or earnings per diluted share of $1.90, compared to $70.8 million, or earnings per diluted share of $3.70 for fiscal 2013.  The decrease was primarily due to a loss on the extinguishment of debt in fiscal 2014 compared to fiscal 2013.  This item was partially offset by lower income tax expense, higher segment profit, and a decline in interest expense.
    • For fiscal 2014, cash flows from operating activities were $118.5 million and free cash flow was $112.5 million.  (See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below.)

    Same-Restaurant Sales Performance

    Fourth Quarter 2014

    • IHOP's domestic system-wide same restaurant sales increased 6.1% for the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the same quarter of 2013.  This is the highest quarterly sales increase since the first quarter of 2004.   
    • Applebee's domestic system-wide same-restaurant sales increased 2.8% for the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, representing the strongest quarterly sales increase since the second quarter of 2011.   

    Fiscal 2014 Highlights

    • IHOP's domestic system-wide same restaurant sales increased 3.9% for fiscal 2014 compared to fiscal 2013, representing the strongest full-year sales increase since fiscal 2004.
    • Applebee's domestic system-wide same-restaurant sales increased 1.1% for fiscal 2014 compared to fiscal 2013. 

    Financial Performance Guidance for Fiscal 2015

    The Company's financial performance guidance reflects the impact of a 53rd operating week in fiscal 2015, in which the last month of the fiscal fourth quarter contains six weeks.

    • Applebee's domestic system-wide same-restaurant sales performance is expected to range between positive 1.0% and positive 4.0%. 
    • IHOP's domestic system-wide same-restaurant sales performance is expected to range between positive 2.0% and positive 5.0%. 
    • Applebee's franchisees are projected to develop between 30 and 40 new restaurants, the majority of which are expected to be opened in the U.S. 
    • IHOP franchisees and its area licensee are projected to develop between 50 and 60 new restaurants, the majority of which are expected to be domestic openings.
    • Franchise segment profit is expected to be between $345 million and $358 million.   
    • Rental and Financing segments are expected to generate roughly $39 million in combined profit.   
    • General and administrative expenses are expected to range between $149 million and $153 million, including non-cash stock-based compensation expense and depreciation of approximately $18 million.
    • Interest expense is expected to be roughly $63 million.  Approximately $3 million is projected to be non-cash interest expense. 
    • The income tax rate is expected to be approximately 38%.
    • Capital expenditures are projected to be about $9 million.  
    • Free cash flow (See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below.) is expected to range between $114 million and $124 million.  For fiscal 2015, "Free cash flow" for a given period is defined as cash provided by operating activities, plus receipts from notes and equipment contracts receivable, less capital expenditures. 
    • Weighted average diluted shares outstanding are expected to be approximately 19 million. 

    About DineEquity, Inc.

    Based in Glendale, California, DineEquity, Inc., through its subsidiaries, franchises and operates restaurants under the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP brands. With more than 3,600 restaurants combined in 18 countries, over 400 franchisees and approximately 200,000 team members (including franchisee- and company-operated restaurant employees), DineEquity is one of the largest full-service restaurant companies in the world. 

    Non-GAAP Financial Measures

    This news release includes references to the Company's non-GAAP financial measures "adjusted net income available to common stockholders (adjusted EPS)," "EBITDA," "free cash flow," and "segment EBITDA."  "Adjusted EPS" is computed for a given period by deducting from net income or loss available to common stockholders for such period the effect of any closure and impairment charges, any gain or loss related to debt extinguishment, any intangible asset amortization, any non-cash interest expense, any incremental Senior Note interest, any debt modification costs and refinancing expenses not capitalized, any income tax adjustment considered unrelated to the respective current period and any gain or loss related to the disposition of assets.  This is presented on an aggregate basis and a per share (diluted) basis.  The Company defines "EBITDA" for a given period as income before income taxes less interest expense, loss on extinguishment of debt, depreciation and amortization, closure and impairment charges, non-cash stock-based compensation, gain or loss on disposition of assets and other charge backs as defined by its credit agreement.  For fiscal 2014, "Free cash flow" for a given period was defined as cash provided by operating activities, plus receipts from notes and equipment contracts receivable ("long-term notes receivable"), less principal payments on capital lease and financing obligations, the mandatory 1% of Term Loan principal balance repayment, and capital expenditures.  For fiscal 2015, "Free cash flow" for a given period is defined as cash provided by operating activities, plus receipts from notes and equipment contracts receivable ("long-term notes receivable"), less capital expenditures.  "Segment EBITDA" for a given period is defined as gross segment profit plus depreciation and amortization as well as interest charges related to the segment. Management utilizes EBITDA for debt covenant purposes and free cash flow to determine the amount of cash remaining for general corporate and strategic purposes and for the return of cash to stockholders pursuant to our capital allocation strategy, after the receipts from long-term receivables, and the funding of operating activities, capital expenditures and debt service. Management believes this information is helpful to investors to determine the Company's adherence to debt covenants and the Company's cash available for these purposes. Adjusted EPS, EBITDA, free cash flow and segment EBITDA are supplemental non-GAAP financial measures and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles.


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  • Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year of 2014

    Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (Nasdaq:TAST) today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 28, 2014. The Company also provided guidance for 2015.

    Highlights for the fourth quarter of 2014 versus the fourth quarter of 2013 include:

    • Restaurant sales increased 16.5% to $192.9 million, including $25.4 million in sales from 123 BURGER KING® restaurants that were acquired in 2014, from $165.5 million in the prior year period;
    • Comparable restaurant sales increased 3.6% compared to a 1.7% increase in the prior year period;
    • Restaurant-Level EBITDA (a non-GAAP financial measure) was $19.6 million compared to $20.2 million in the prior year period and Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin decreased 204 basis points to 10.2%;
    • Adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP financial measure) was $10.1 million compared to $10.4 million in the prior year period. (Please refer to the reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net loss and Restaurant-Level EBITDA to income (loss) from operations in the tables at the end of this release.); and
    • Loss from operations was $3.0 million compared to income from operations of $1.0 million in the prior year period. Loss from operations included $1.2 million of acquisition and integration costs and $1.7 million of impairment and other lease charges in the fourth quarter of 2014. Impairment and other lease charges were $0.6 million in the prior year period.

    Highlights for the full year 2014 versus the full year 2013 include:

    • Restaurant sales increased 4.4% to $692.8 million, including $34.0 million in sales from 123 BURGER KING® restaurants that were acquired in 2014, from $663.5 million in 2013;
    • Comparable restaurant sales increased 0.6% compared to a 1.0% increase in the prior year;
    • Restaurant-Level EBITDA (a non-GAAP financial measure) increased $2.7 million to $73.0 million from $70.2 million in the prior year and Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin was essentially flat at 10.5%;
    • Adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP financial measure) increased $1.7 million to $36.0 million from $34.3 million in the prior year. (Please refer to the reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net loss and Restaurant-Level EBITDA to income (loss) from operations in the tables at the end of this release.); and
    • Loss from operations was $7.6 million compared to $5.1 million in the prior year period. Loss from operations included $1.9 million of acquisition and integration costs as well as $3.5 million of impairment and other lease charges in 2014. Impairment and other lease charges were $4.5 million in the prior year.

    As of December 28, 2014, Carrols owned and operated 674 BURGER KING® restaurants.

    Daniel T. Accordino, the Company's Chief Executive Officer said, "Sales trends were solid throughout the second half of 2014 and improved in the fourth quarter with a 3.6% comparable restaurant sales increase. The '2 for $5' mix-and-match and '$1.49 10-piece chicken nugget' promotions were effective in driving increased customer traffic. These were complemented by several premium promotions including the Four Cheese WHOPPER®, Mushroom and Swiss Bacon WHOPPER®, and A-1 Bacon Cheeseburger. In early 2015, our sales momentum has accelerated as we have benefited from relatively favorable weather comparisons across many of our markets. Comparable restaurant sales for the first eight weeks of 2015 have increased by more than 9% compared to the same prior year period. And, while we don't expect this pace to continue through March, we are also hopeful that improving macro-economic conditions, including lower gasoline prices, will favorably impact our customers and our sales trends going forward."

    Accordino continued, "As expected, Restaurant-Level EBITDA and Restaurant–Level EBITDA margin were negatively impacted during the fourth quarter of 2014 by significantly higher ground beef costs and, to a lesser extent, the impact from the restaurants acquired late in the year. The effect of these factors was largely offset by improved financial performance at the restaurants we acquired in 2012, enabling us to hold Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin essentially unchanged for the full year."

    Accordino concluded, "We believe we made measurable progress in 2014 in executing on our strategic objectives. We raised approximately $67 million in equity capital that we used to expand our ownership of BURGER KING® restaurants through five acquisitions and to reimage 101 restaurants to the 20/20 design. In 2015, our near-term focus will be on improving the operating and financial performance of the 123 restaurants acquired in 2014 while continuing to move forward with our remodeling initiatives. We also are considering a possible refinancing of our existing debt which could facilitate additional remodeling and possible acquisitions later in the year."

    Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Results

    Restaurant sales increased 16.5% to $192.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $165.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The growth in restaurant sales included $25.4 million in sales from the 123 BURGER KING® restaurants acquired in 2014 along with a comparable restaurant sales increase of 3.6%. The comparable restaurant sales increase included a 3.2% increase at legacy restaurants and a 4.1% increase at the restaurants acquired in 2012. Average check was 1.5% higher and customer traffic increased 2.1%.

    Restaurant-Level EBITDA was $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, including a $1.4 million contribution from restaurants acquired in 2014, compared to Restaurant-Level EBITDA of $20.2 million in the prior year period. Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin decreased 204 basis points to 10.2% of restaurant sales primarily due to a 32% increase in beef costs on a year over year basis which caused a 215 basis point increase in cost of sales over the prior year period.

    General and administrative expenses were $11.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $9.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. Such expenses included $1.2 million in acquisition and integration costs in the fourth quarter of 2014. As a percentage of restaurant sales, general and administrative expenses improved 23 basis points to 5.7% compared to the prior year period.

    Adjusted EBITDA was $10.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $10.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, and Adjusted EBITDA margin was 5.2% of restaurant sales in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to 6.3% in the prior year period.

    Loss from operations was $3.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to income from operations of $1.0 million in the prior year period. Loss from operations included $1.2 million of acquisition and integration costs and $1.7 million of impairment and other lease charges in the fourth quarter of 2014. Impairment and other lease charges were $0.6 million in the prior year period.

    Interest expense was flat at $4.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the prior year period.

    Income tax expense was $19.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 reflecting a $24.3 million non-cash charge to establish a valuation allowance against net deferred tax assets. Such assets include Federal net operating loss carryforwards (NOLs) which do not begin to expire until 2033. The Company believes that it is likely that it will utilize these NOLs in the future, although no assurance of this can be provided. However, this valuation allowance was required based on the relevant accounting literature which does not permit the Company to consider its projection of future taxable income as more persuasive evidence than its recent operating losses when assessing recoverability. Such charge resulted in a net loss in the fourth quarter of 2014 of $27.0 million, or $0.78 per diluted share.


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  • Texas Roadhouse, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter 2014 Results

    Full year diluted earnings per share increased 9.4% to $1.23 from $1.13 in the prior year. Diluted earnings per share in the prior year was positively impacted by an estimated $0.03 to $0.04 as a result of the 53rd week

    Texas Roadhouse, Inc. (NasdaqGS: TXRH), today announced financial results for the 13 and 52 week periods ended December 30, 2014.

                     
    Fourth Quarter Year to Date
    ($000's)

    2014

    2013

    % Change

    2014

    2013

    % Change

     
    Total revenue $ 404,425 $ 376,020 8 $ 1,582,148 $ 1,422,585 11
    Income from operations 27,043 26,054 4 130,449 119,715 9
    Net income 18,595 17,119 9 87,022 80,423 8
    Diluted EPS $0.26 $0.24 11 $1.23 $1.13 9

    NOTE: Fourth quarter and full year 2014 results include 13 and 52 weeks, respectively, compared to 14 and 53 weeks in the fourth quarter and full year of 2013.

    Results for the fourth quarter included the following highlights:

    • Diluted earnings per share increased 10.9% to $0.26 from $0.24 in the prior year. Diluted earnings per share in the prior year period was positively impacted by an estimated $0.03 to $0.04 as a result of the 14th week;
    • Comparable restaurant sales increased 7.0% at company restaurants and 5.7% at franchise restaurants on a comparable 13-week basis;
    • Seven Texas Roadhouse and two Bubba's 33 company-owned restaurants were opened, along with five Texas Roadhouse franchise-owned restaurants;
    • Restaurant margin, as a percentage of restaurant sales, decreased 47 basis points to 16.5%, primarily due to food cost inflation of approximately 4.5%;
    • Income tax rate decreased 156 basis points to 27.7%, primarily due to the retroactive reinstatement of certain federal tax credits during the current year quarter; and
    • The Company repurchased 100,000 shares of its common stock for $2.8 million.

    Results for the full year included the following highlights:

    • Diluted earnings per share increased 9.4% to $1.23 from $1.13 in the prior year. Diluted earnings per share in the prior year was positively impacted by an estimated $0.03 to $0.04 as a result of the 53rd week;
    • Comparable restaurant sales increased 4.7% at company restaurants and 4.9% at franchise restaurants on a comparable 52-week basis;
    • 22 Texas Roadhouse and two Bubba's 33 company-owned restaurants were opened along with six franchise-owned restaurants;
    • Restaurant margin, as a percentage of restaurant sales, decreased 26 basis points to 17.6%;
    • Income tax rate increased 112 basis points to 30.0%, primarily due to the retroactive reinstatement of certain federal tax credits in 2013; and
    • The Company repurchased 1,675,000 shares of its common stock for $42.7 million.

    Kent Taylor, Chief Executive Officer of Texas Roadhouse, Inc., commented, "We are very pleased with our 2014 results and the fact that we achieved our fifth consecutive year of positive comparable restaurant sales growth. We reported double digit revenue growth and strong diluted earnings per share growth for the year, despite continued commodity cost pressures and the impact of lapping an extra week last year. At the same time, our healthy balance sheet and cash flow enabled us to return $74.1 million of capital to shareholders through share repurchases and quarterly dividend payments."

    Taylor continued, "Looking ahead to 2015, our development pipeline is in great shape and we expect to open 25 to 30 company restaurants, as well as four to six franchise restaurants. Although we expect to face continued cost pressures in the near term, we remain excited by the ongoing momentum in our top-line and will continue to focus on our long-term brand positioning and growth potential."

    2015 Outlook

    The Company reported that comparable restaurant sales at company restaurants for the first seven weeks of fiscal 2015 increased approximately 12% compared to the prior year period.

    Management reiterated the following expectations for 2015:

    • Positive comparable restaurant sales growth; and
    • 25 to 30 company restaurant openings, including as many as five Bubba's 33 restaurants.

    Management updated the following expectations for 2015:

    • Food cost inflation of 3% to 4%;
    • An income tax rate of approximately 30.0% to 31.0% depending on the reinstatement of certain federal tax credits; and
    • Total capital expenditures of $135 million to $145 million.

    Cash Dividend Payment

    On February 18, 2015, the Company's Board of Directors authorized the payment of a quarterly cash dividend of $0.17 per share of common stock. This payment, which will be distributed on April 3, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 18, 2015, represents a 13% increase from the cash dividend of $0.15 per share of common stock declared during each quarter of 2014.

    About the Company

    Texas Roadhouse is a casual dining concept that first opened in 1993 and today operates over 450 restaurants system-wide in 49 states and four foreign countries.


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    • Cracker Barrel Reports Second Quarter Fiscal 2015 Comparable Store Restaurant Sales Increased 7.9% on 4.7% Traffic Growth

      Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq:CBRL) yesterday reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2015 ended January 30, 2015.

      Second-Quarter Fiscal 2015 Highlights

      • Compared to the prior-year second quarter, comparable store traffic increased 4.7%, comparable store restaurant sales increased 7.9% and comparable store retail sales increased 3.2%.
      • Thirteenth consecutive quarter of outperformance of the Knapp-TrackTM casual dining index.
      • On a GAAP basis, operating income margin was 9.4% of total revenue, compared with 8.4% in the prior year quarter. Adjusted to exclude the impact of an accrual related to the previously disclosed Fair Labor Standards Act (" FLSA") litigation, adjusted operating income margin was 9.7% of total revenue, compared to prior year adjusted operating income margin of 8.5%. (See non-GAAP reconciliation below.)
      • On a GAAP basis, earnings per diluted share were $1.96, or $1.93 when adjusted to exclude the impact of the FLSA litigation accrual and the retroactive reinstatement of the Work Opportunity Tax Credit ("WOTC"), a 24% increase over adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.56 in the prior year quarter.

      Commenting on the second-quarter results, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "We believe that our strong performance in the quarter results from several key factors, including mild winter weather compared to the prior year quarter, the positive impact of lower gasoline prices on consumer spending and travel, the success of our national advertising, and consistent execution of the Cracker Barrel experience by our operations teams. We are pleased with the strength of these results and our ability to once again outperform the industry as measured by the Knapp-Track Casual Dining Index."

      Second-Quarter Fiscal 2015 Results

      Revenue

      The Company reported total revenue of $756.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2015, representing an increase of 8.2% over the second quarter of the prior year. Comparable store restaurant sales increased 7.9%, including a 3.2% increase in average check. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 2.5%. Comparable store retail sales increased 3.2% for the quarter. The Company opened one store during the second quarter, for a total of three new store openings year-to-date.


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    • Papa John's Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Results

      Papa John's International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA)today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 28, 2014.

      Highlights

      • Fourth quarter earnings per diluted share of $0.52 in 2014 compared to $0.41 in 2013, an increase of 26.8%; Earnings per diluted common share of $1.75 for the full year increased 12.9% over earnings per diluted common share of $1.55 for 2013
      • System-wide comparable sales increases of 4.1% for North America and 8.9% for International for the fourth quarter; System-wide comparable sales increases of 6.7% for North America and 7.4% for International for the full year
      • 126 net global restaurant openings in the fourth quarter and 235 for the full year, of which 181 were International and 54 were in North America

      "I'd like to congratulate our corporate and franchise operators, who drove outstanding comparable sales to overcome a historically difficult commodity environment and deliver another record year for Papa John's," said Papa John's founder, chairman, president and CEO, John Schnatter. "In 2015, we will continue to steadily grow the Papa John's brand by leveraging our digital advantage, expanding our global footprint, and most important, consistently delivering a demonstrably better pizza."

      Fourth quarter 2014 revenues were $425.5 million, a 9.7% increase from fourth quarter 2013 revenues of $387.9 million. Fourth quarter 2014 net income increased 12.8% to $21.2 million, compared to fourth quarter 2013 net income of $18.8 million. Fourth quarter 2014 diluted earnings per share increased 26.8% to $0.52, compared to fourth quarter 2013 diluted earnings per share of $0.41.

      Full year 2014 revenues were $1.60 billion, an increase of 11.1% from 2013 revenues of $1.44 billion. Full year 2014 net income was $73.3 million, compared to 2013 net income of $69.5 million. Full year diluted earnings per share were $1.75 compared to 2013 diluted earnings per share of $1.55, an increase of 12.9%.


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    • Domino's Pizza Announces 2014 Financial Results

      Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) today announced results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2014, comprised of strong growth in same store sales, global store counts and earnings. Domestic same store sales grew 11.1% during the quarter versus the year-ago period, and 7.5% for the full year, continuing the positive sales momentum in the Company's domestic business. The international division also posted strong results with same store sales growth of 6.1% during the quarter and 6.9% for the full year. The fourth quarter marked the 84th consecutive quarter – or 21st full year – of international same store sales growth. The Company also had global net store growth of 743 stores in 2014, comprised of 81 net new domestic stores and a record 662 net new stores internationally.

      On an as-reported basis, fourth quarter diluted EPS was 85 cents, up 9.0% over the prior-year quarter;  full year diluted EPS was $2.86, up 15.3% over the prior year. On an as-adjusted basis, fourth quarter diluted EPS was 91 cents, up 16.7% over the prior-year quarter; full year as-adjusted diluted EPS was $2.90, up 18.4% over the prior year. 

      Management commented that it had deployed free cash flow totaling approximately $147 million in fiscal 2014, including $82.4 million in share repurchases, $52.8 million in quarterly dividend payments and $11.8 million in required principal payments on long-term debt. Additionally, on February 11, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a 31 cent per share quarterly dividend for shareholders of record as of March 13, 2015 to be paid on March 30, 2015. This represents a 24% increase over the previous quarterly dividend amount.

      J. Patrick Doyle, Domino's President and Chief Executive Officer, said:  "Fundamental strength, with a growing global store base, robust sales and technological innovation, continues to truly drive the business. Franchisees are both energized and financially sound, which is fueling our store reimage program, sales and store growth." 


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    • Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Results

      Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRGI), parent company of the Pollo Tropical®, Taco Cabana®, and Cabana Grill® fast-casual restaurant brands, today reported results for the fourth quarter and full year 2014, which ended on December 28, 2014.

      Highlights of fourth quarter 2014 results include:

      • Total revenues increased 14.7% to $156.2 million;
      • Comparable restaurant sales increased 7.7% and comparable guest traffic increased 3.8% at Pollo Tropical;
      • Comparable restaurant sales increased 6.1% and comparable guest traffic increased 1.6% at Taco Cabana;
      • Six Company-owned and operated restaurants were opened, including five Pollo Tropical restaurants and one Cabana Grill restaurant;
      • Net income increased to $9.0 million, or $0.34 per diluted share (on a base of 26.4 million diluted shares), compared to a net loss of $(5.6) million, or $(0.22) per diluted share (on a base of 24.3 million diluted shares) in 2013 which included the negative impact of a pre-tax loss on the early extinguishment of debt of $16.4 million; and
      • Adjusted net income increased 84.0% to $9.1 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 70.0% to $0.34 per diluted share (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below).

      Highlights of full year 2014 results include:

      • Revenues increased 10.8% to $611.1 million;
      • Comparable restaurant sales increased 6.6% and comparable guest traffic increased 4.6% at Pollo Tropical;
      • Comparable restaurant sales increased 3.3% and comparable guest traffic increased 0.1% at Taco Cabana;
      • 26 Company-owned and operated restaurants were opened, including 22 Pollo Tropical restaurants and four Taco Cabana restaurants, which includes two Cabana Grill restaurants;
      • Net income increased to $36.2 million, or $1.35 per diluted share (on a base of 26.3 million diluted shares), compared to $9.3 million, or $0.39 per diluted share (on a base of 23.3 million diluted shares) in 2013 which included the loss on extinguishment of debt referred to above; and
      • Adjusted net income increased 80.4% to $36.4 million and adjusted diluted earnings per share increased 61.9% to $1.36 per diluted share (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below).

      Fiesta President and Chief Executive Officer Tim Taft commented, "We completed another outstanding year at Fiesta and are very proud of our operating and support teams for their accomplishments. Looking ahead to 2015, we are focused on the following: 1) successful new Company-owned restaurant development; 2) effective human capital staffing and training; 3) completing the reimaging of our Taco Cabana system and beginning the reimaging of our Pollo Tropical system; and 4) building our off-premise business. We believe the successful execution of these strategic priorities is critical to achieving our growth objectives over time and we look forward to providing updates on our progress in the coming quarters."

      Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Review

      Consolidated Results

      Total revenues increased 14.7% to $156.2 million from $136.2 million compared to the prior year period due primarily to 24 net Company-owned restaurant openings and comparable restaurant sales growth of 7.7% at Pollo Tropical and 6.1% at Taco Cabana. Pollo Tropical has now generated comparable restaurant sales growth for 21 consecutive quarters while Taco Cabana generated its highest comparable restaurant sales quarter since the fourth quarter of 2012.

      Cost of sales as a percentage of restaurant sales improved 50 basis points compared to the prior year period. Price increases, favorable sales mix, and supply chain management initiatives more than offset commodity cost increases.

      Restaurant wages and related expenses as a percentage of restaurant sales improved 70 basis points compared to the prior year period due to the favorable impact of higher sales and lower medical costs, partially offset by the impact of labor costs at new Company-owned restaurants.

      Other restaurant operating expenses as a percentage of restaurant sales increased 70 basis points compared to the prior year period primarily due to higher insurance costs, repair and maintenance expenses and real estate taxes, partially offset by lower utility costs.

      General and administrative expenses increased $0.7 million to $13.3 million compared to the prior year period due to human capital investments and training related to the ongoing Pollo Tropical expansion effort in new markets. However, as a percentage of revenues, general and administrative expenses improved by 80 basis points compared to the prior year period due to the favorable impact of higher sales.

      Impairment and other lease charges of $0.2 million in the fourth quarter 2014 were primarily related to a previously closed restaurant property.

      Interest expense decreased $3.0 million to $0.5 million compared to the prior year period due to the reduction in Fiesta's outstanding debt and a lower interest rate on borrowings under the senior credit facility.

      The effective tax rate for 2014 of 36.7% increased as compared to an effective tax rate for 2013 of 29.1%, primarily due to the effect of renewing the Work Opportunity Tax Credit in 2013 retroactive to 2012. The fourth quarter of 2014 results included a positive impact related to the reinstatement of the 2014 Work Opportunity Tax Credit in December 2014.

      Net income increased to $9.0 million, or $0.34 per diluted share (on a base of 26.4 million diluted shares), compared to a net loss of $(5.6) million, or $(0.22) per diluted share (on a base of 24.3 million diluted shares) in 2013. The fourth quarter of 2013 results included the negative impact of a pre-tax charge of $16.4 million, or $0.42 per diluted share after-tax, related to the early extinguishment of debt.

      Brand Results

      Pollo Tropical restaurant sales increased 23.6% to $80.9 million compared to the prior year period due to 22 net Company-owned restaurant openings and a comparable restaurant sales increase of 7.7%. The growth in comparable restaurant sales resulted from a 3.8% increase in comparable guest traffic along with a 3.9% increase in average check. Average check was driven by menu price increases that positively impacted restaurant sales by 4.3%. This is the 21st consecutive quarter the brand has delivered comparable restaurant sales growth and, on a two-year basis, fourth quarter comparable restaurant sales grew 14.7%. Adjusted EBITDA for Pollo Tropical, a non-GAAP financial measure, increased 20.2% to $13.5 million compared to the prior year period (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below).

      Taco Cabana restaurant sales increased 6.5% to $74.6 million compared to the prior year period due to a 6.1% increase in comparable restaurant sales and two net Company-owned restaurant openings. The increase in comparable restaurant sales resulted from an increase of 1.6% in comparable guest traffic and a 4.5% increase in average check. Average check was driven by menu price increases that positively impacted restaurant sales by 1.9% and a positive change in sales mix due to the implementation of new menu boards during the first quarter of 2014. On a two-year basis, fourth quarter comparable restaurant sales grew 3.2%. Fourth quarter of 2013 was negatively affected by unfavorable weather and a slowed remodeling schedule. Adjusted EBITDA for Taco Cabana, a non-GAAP financial measure, increased 29.5% to $7.2 million compared to the prior year period (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below).

      Full Year 2014 Financial Summary

      Total revenues increased 10.8% to $611.1 million compared to $551.3 million in the prior year period due to 24 net Company-owned restaurant openings and comparable restaurant sales growth of 6.6% at Pollo Tropical and 3.3% at Taco Cabana. The growth in comparable restaurant sales at Pollo Tropical resulted from an increase in comparable guest traffic of 4.6% and an increase in average check of 2.0%. The growth in comparable restaurants sales at Taco Cabana resulted from an increase in average check of 3.2% and an increase in comparable guest traffic of 0.1%.

      Net income increased to $36.2 million, or $1.35 per diluted share (on a base of 26.3 million diluted shares), compared to $9.3 million, or $0.39 per diluted share (on a base of 23.3 million diluted shares) in 2013. Full year 2013 results included the negative impact of a pre-tax charge of $16.4 million related to the early extinguishment of debt.

      Restaurant Development

      During the fourth quarter 2014, Fiesta opened five Company-owned Pollo Tropical restaurants in Texas and one Cabana Grill restaurant in Florida.

      As of December 28, 2014, the Company owned and operated 124 Pollo Tropical restaurants and 167 Taco Cabana restaurants (including two Cabana Grill restaurants) and franchised 37 Pollo Tropical restaurants in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, and seven Taco Cabana restaurants in the U.S.

      About Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc.

      Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. is the parent company of the Pollo Tropical®, Taco Cabana®, and Cabana Grill® restaurant brands. The brands specialize in the operation of fast-casual, ethnic restaurants that offer distinct and unique Caribbean and Mexican inspired flavors with broad appeal at a compelling value. The brands feature made-from-scratch cooking, fresh salsa bars, and drive-thru service and catering.


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    • Restaurant Brands International Reports Full Year and Fourth Quarter 2014 Results

      Tim Hortons (TH) comparable sales increased 3.1% and Burger King (BK) comparable sales increased 2.1%

      Restaurant Brands International Inc. (TSX/NYSE: QSR, TSX: QSP) today reported financial results for the full year and fourth quarter ended December 31, 2014.

      Restaurant Brands International (RBI) Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Schwartz commented, "Positive business momentum in the fourth quarter capped a transformational year for our company. Both the TIM HORTONS® and BURGER KING® brands continue to deliver positive comparable sales growth and best in class net restaurant growth. With the creation of Restaurant Brands International, a new global powerhouse in the quick-service restaurant industry, we believe both brands are well positioned for long-term sustainable growth and we are excited to introduce the iconic TIM HORTONS® brand to the rest of the world."

      Full Year 2014 Highlights:

      • Tim Hortons (TH) comparable sales increased 3.1% and Burger King (BK) comparable sales increased 2.1%  
      • Delivered 186 net restaurant growth (NRG) at TH and 705 NRG at BK
      • System-wide sales grew 6.6% at TH and 6.8% at BK in constant currency
      • TH Adjusted EBITDA grew 10.5% on an organic basis to $816 million
      • BK Adjusted EBITDA grew 11.5% on an organic basis to $726 million
      • Paid Burger King Worldwide Inc. dividends of $0.30 per share or approximately $106 million

      Fourth Quarter 2014 Highlights:

      • TH comparable sales increased 4.1% and BK comparable sales increased 3.0% 
      • Delivered 81 NRG at TH and 412 NRG at BK
      • System-wide sales grew 7.4% at TH and 7.7% at BK in constant currency
      • TH Adjusted EBITDA grew 10.2% on an organic basis to $209 million
      • BK Adjusted EBITDA grew 8.8% on an organic basis to $189 million



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    • Jack in the Box Inc. Reports First Quarter FY 2015 Earnings; Updates Guidance for FY 2015

      Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) today reported earnings from continuing operations of $37.1 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended January 18, 2015, compared with earnings from continuing operations of $33.0 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2014.

      Operating earnings per share, a non-GAAP measure which the company defines as diluted earnings per share from continuing operations on a GAAP basis excluding restructuring charges and gains or losses from refranchising, were $0.93 in the first quarter of fiscal 2015 compared with $0.75 in the prior year quarter.



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    • Granite City Food & Brewery Announces Preliminary Unaudited 2014 Financial Results and Engagement of Financial Advisor to Explore Possible Strategic Transaction

      Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. (OTCPink: GCFB), a casual dining restaurant group, announced today the following preliminary unaudited financial results for the fiscal year ended December 30, 2014:


      • Net revenue increased to $136 million compared to $134 million for FY 2013
      • Adjusted EBITDA increased to approximately $10 million compared to $8 million for FY 2013
      • Consolidated same-store sales, excluding the downtown Indianapolis non-restaurant location, increased 0.7% in FY 2014
      In addition, the Company announced that its Board of Directors has engaged Houlihan Lokey Capital, Inc., a leading investment bank, to assist it in exploring a possible strategic transaction.

      Under the engagement agreement, Houlihan's services may include soliciting, coordinating, and evaluating indications of interest and proposals regarding a possible strategic transaction, and assisting the Board in negotiating financial aspects of a possible strategic transaction.

      Such a transaction may take the form of a sale, disposition, merger or other transaction involving all or a substantial portion of the business, assets or equity interests of the Company.  There can be no assurance that a transaction will be pursued or, if one is pursued, that it will be consummated.  The Company does not expect to make further comment unless the Company enters into a material definitive agreement, or disclosure is otherwise deemed appropriate.

      Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. develops and operates two casual dining concepts: Granite City Food & Brewery and Cadillac Ranch All American Bar & Grill.  Granite City Food & Brewery is a polished casual American restaurant that features a great dining experience with affordable, high-quality menu items prepared from made-from-scratch recipes.  There is a brewery onsite, serving hand-crafted and micro brews.  Granite City opened its first restaurant in 1999 and is expanding nationwide; there are currently 31 Granite City restaurants in 13 states.  The Company expects to open 4 additional Granite City locations (Schaumburg, IL; Northville, MI; National Harbor, MD; and Detroit, MI) during 2015.  Cadillac Ranch restaurants feature freshly prepared, authentic, All-American cuisine in a fun, dynamic environment.  Its patrons enjoy a warm, Rock N' Roll inspired atmosphere, with plenty of room for friends, music and dancing.  The Cadillac Ranch menu is diverse with offerings ranging from homemade meatloaf to pasta dishes, all freshly prepared using quality ingredients.  The Company currently operates 5 Cadillac Ranch restaurants in 5 states.  


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    • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Reports Results for the Fiscal Fourth Quarter and Full Year Ended December 28, 2014

      Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., (NASDAQ:RRGB) last week reported financial results for the quarter and year ended December 28, 2014 compared to the quarter and year ended December 29, 2013.

      Financial Highlights

      • 2014 revenues were $1.1 billion, an increase of 12.7% over the same period a year ago
      • 2014 comparable restaurant revenue increased 3.1%
      • Fourth quarter 2014 revenues were $282.1 million, an increase of 16.6% over the same period a year ago
      • Fourth quarter 2014 comparable restaurant revenue increased 3.6%
      • Fourth quarter 2014 restaurant-level operating profit margin increased 50 basis points to 22.2% (excluding 36 restaurants acquired in 2014) compared to 21.7% in the fourth quarter of 2013. Total reported restaurant-level operating profit was 21.3% (See Schedule II)
      • Fourth quarter GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.28, compared to $0.48 a year ago
      • Fourth quarter 2014 adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.66, an increase of 6.5% compared to $0.62 for the same period a year ago (See Schedule I)

      Net income for the 12 weeks ended December 28, 2014 was $3.9 million compared to $7.0 million for the same period a year ago. For the 52 weeks ended December 28, 2014, net income was $32.6 million compared to $32.2 million for the year ended December 29, 2013.

      Fourth quarter GAAP diluted earnings per share were $0.28 compared to $0.48 during the same period in prior year. Adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.66 compared to $0.62 during the same period in prior year. In the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2014, the Company recorded an $8.8 million pre-tax impairment charge while the 2013 fourth quarter was impacted by an impairment charge and a non-recurring special bonus totaling $3.1 million.

      GAAP earnings per diluted share for fiscal year 2014 were $2.25 compared to $2.22 in fiscal year 2013. On an adjusted basis, fiscal 2014 diluted earnings per share were $2.66 compared to $2.37 in the prior year. See Schedule I for a reconciliation of adjusted net income and earnings per share.


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    • Fazoli's Reports 13.6% Same-store Sales Increase in January

      Fazoli's franchisees and company units posted a combined 13.6% same-store sales increase in January – more than double that of their quick-service competitors. Franchisees reported a 15.1% increase, with company units up 12.7%. According to MillerPulse research, the QSR segment as a whole grew January sales 6.1%.

      Fazoli's combined January same-store traffic also outpaced the industry nearly four-fold, up 10.3% compared to 2.7%, as reported by MillerPulse. "This was the best January comp-store sales in company history, and the best comp-store sales month in more than 16 years," said Carl Howard, president and CEO of the premium QSR chain.

      The robust January performance followed a record-setting fourth quarter in which 27 new weekly franchise sales records were set, with 25% of franchisees reporting new records.

      Fazoli's 2015 franchise development efforts also are off to a strong start. It has commitments for nine new franchise restaurants, including several in travel centers, and is finalizing a development agreement with a large, multi-unit operator for six additional restaurants.

      "Fazoli's future is very bright and it's a great time for new franchisees to join the system," Howard added. "We are leading the premium QSR segment and are benefiting as consumers increasingly move to concepts that better meet their tastes and needs."

      American family favorite for more than 25 years, Fazoli's features a premium menu of freshly prepared Italian entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches and salads, a new service style featuring table service and a contemporary new restaurant design. Already America's largest Italian quick-service chain with approximately 220 company and franchised restaurants, Fazoli's is expanding throughout the country. Founded in Lexington, Ky., in 1988, Fazoli's was acquired by Sun Capital Partners in 2006.


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    • The Cheesecake Factory Reports Results for Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2014

      The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ: CAKE) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, which ended on December 30, 2014.

      Total revenues were $499.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014 as compared to $475.1 million in the prior year fourth quarter. Net income and diluted net income per share were $24.5 million and $0.48, respectively, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.

      Operating Results

      Comparable restaurant sales at The Cheesecake Factory restaurants increased 1.4% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014.

      "We continued to achieve a consistent level of sales at our existing Cheesecake Factory restaurants, with the fourth quarter completing our fifth consecutive year of delivering positive quarterly comparable sales. In addition, our newer restaurants continue to outperform our Company average in sales per square foot, which speaks to the strength of our brand and multi-generational appeal," said David Overton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

      "Looking back on 2014, there were many high points during the year, including our first restaurant opening in Mexico, continued expansion in the Middle East and execution of a licensing agreement for growth in Asia, in addition to a strong slate of domestic openings. However, the operating environment was challenging and the fourth quarter was another in which we were impacted by cost pressures. As we look forward to this year and beyond, we believe our future is bright with multiple opportunities for us to continue our leadership in casual dining and continue to grow our Company with the best talent in the industry to successfully execute our strategy," concluded Overton.

      Development

      The Company opened five new restaurants in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, delivering on its objective to open 10 Company-owned restaurants during fiscal 2014.

      Internationally, one new Cheesecake Factory restaurant opened in the Middle East in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014, for a total of four new international locations opened during the year under licensing agreements.

      In fiscal 2015, the Company continues to expect to open as many as 11 Company-owned restaurants domestically. In addition, the Company also continues to expect as many as four restaurants to open in the Middle East and Mexico under licensing agreements.

      Capital Allocation

      In fiscal 2014, the Company repurchased 3.1 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $140.5 million, including 3,232 shares repurchased in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. The Company returned $170.8 million in cash to shareholders in fiscal 2014 in the form of share repurchases and dividends.

      The Company's Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.165 per share on the Company's common stock. The dividend is payable on March 10, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 25, 2015.

      For fiscal 2015, the Company continues to expect that it will return its free cash flow to shareholders in the form of share repurchases and dividends.


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