Financial Overview - June 2017


    The Wendy's Company Reports First Quarter 2017 Results

  • May, 10 2017

    North America same-restaurant sales increase 1.6% (+5.2% on a two-year basis); 17th consecutive quarter of positive same-restaurant sales

    The Wendy's Company (NASDAQ:  WEN) today reported unaudited results for the first quarter ended April 2, 2017.
    "We are pleased with our solid first quarter results as we were able to deliver high quality of earnings despite tough prior year comparisons," President and Chief Executive Officer Todd Penegor said. "Driven by our continued focus on profitably growing customer counts with a balanced marketing plan, we have now recorded 17 consecutive quarters of positive same-restaurant sales in North America. In addition to consistently delivering solid same-restaurant sales, we continue to build momentum towards our global expansion goals with 33 total new restaurant openings during the first quarter. Along with our exceptional and dedicated franchisees, we remain committed to our brand purpose of creating joy and opportunity through our food, family and community, and delighting every customer."
    First Quarter 2017 Summary

    Operational Highlights

    Three Months Ended

    April 2, 2017

    April 3, 2016


    North America Same-Restaurant Sales Growth(1)



    Global Restaurant Openings

    North America - Total / Net

    18 / 6

    25 / 4

    International - Total / Net

    15 / 8

    5 / -1

    Global Restaurant Openings - Total / Net

    33 / 14

    30 / 3

    Global Systemwide Sales (In US$ Millions)(2)

    North America






    Global Systemwide Sales



    Operational Highlights (Continued)

    Three Months Ended

    April 2, 2017

    April 3, 2016


    Global Systemwide Sales Growth(1)

    North America






    Global Systemwide Sales Growth



    (1)  Same-restaurant sales growth and systemwide sales growth are calculated on a constant currency basis and include sales by both Company-operated and franchise restaurants.

    (2)  Systemwide sales include sales at both Company-operated and franchise restaurants. Sales by franchise restaurants are not recorded as Company revenues. However, the Company's royalty revenues are computed as percentages of sales made by franchisees and, as a result, sales by franchisees have a direct effect on the Company's royalty revenues and therefore on the Company's profitability.

    (3)  Excludes Venezuela.

    Financial Highlights

    • Total revenues were $285.8 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $378.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 24.6 percent decrease resulted primarily from the ownership of 301 fewer Company-operated restaurants at the end of the first quarter 2017 compared to the beginning of the first quarter 2016, which resulted in fewer sales at Company-operated restaurants, partly offset by higher franchise royalty revenue and fees and franchise rental income. 
    • Company-operated restaurant margin was 16.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 17.2 percent in the first quarter of 2016. The 50 basis-point decrease was primarily the result of increased labor rates, partly offset by lower commodity costs. 
    • General and administrative expense was $52.4 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $64.7 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 19.0 percent decrease resulted primarily from lower professional fees and legal reserves, a year-over-year decrease in incentive compensation accruals and cost savings related to the Company's system optimization initiative. 
    • Operating profit was $60.7 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $63.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 4.9 percent decrease resulted primarily from a year-over-year increase in other operating expense that was related to a lease buyout gain recognized in the first quarter of 2016, partly offset by lower depreciation and amortization expense and reorganization and realignment costs, in addition to the items discussed above. 
    • Net income was $22.3 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $25.4 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 12.2 percent decrease resulted primarily from the items discussed above. 
    • Adjusted EBITDA was $89.2 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $98.1 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 9.1 percent decrease resulted primarily from a year-over-year increase in other operating expense that was related to a lease buyout gain recognized in the first quarter of 2016 and the ownership of 301 fewer Company-operated restaurants at the end of the first quarter of 2017 compared to the beginning of the first quarter of 2016. 
    • Adjusted EBITDA margin (adjusted EBITDA divided by total revenues) was 31.2 percent in the first quarter of 2017, compared to 25.9 percent in the first quarter of 2016. The 530 basis-point improvement reflects the positive impact of the Company's system optimization initiative. 
    • Reported diluted earnings per share were $0.09 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $0.09 in the first quarter of 2016. 
    • Adjusted earnings per share were $0.09 in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $0.11 in the first quarter of 2016. The 18.2 percent decrease resulted primarily from the items discussed above and reflects a 7 percent year-over-year reduction in the weighted average diluted shares outstanding. 
    • Cash flows from operations were $38.6 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $50.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 24.0 percent decrease was primarily the result of an increase in working capital and year-over-year decreases in net receipt of deferred vendor incentives and net income. 
    • Capital expenditures were $14.8 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $38.8 million in the first quarter of 2016. 
    • Free cash flow (cash flows from operations minus capital expenditures) was $23.8 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $12.0 million in the first quarter of 2016. The 98.3 percent increase resulted primarily from a year-over-year decrease in capital expenditures, in addition to the items discussed above.

    Company provides additional details regarding G&A expense savings initiative
    As previously announced at the Company's Investor Day on February 16, 2017, the Company expects to reduce G&A expense to approximately 1.5 percent of global systemwide sales by 2020 on its path to an adjusted EBITDA margin of 38 to 40%. Approximately three-quarters of the total G&A expense reduction of approximately $35 million is expected to be realized by the end of 2018, with the remainder of the savings being realized in 2019. The Company expects to incur total costs aggregating approximately $28 million to $33 million, of which $23 million to $27 million will be cash expenditures, related to these savings. The cash expenditures are expected to begin in the second half of 2017 and continue into 2019, with approximately half of the total cash expenditures occurring in 2018.

    Image Activation
    Image Activation, which includes reimaging existing restaurants and building new restaurants, remains an integral part of our global growth strategy. With 33 percent of the global system featuring the new image, the Company and its franchisees continue to expect to have approximately 42 percent of the global system image activated by the end of 2017. The Company is reiterating its 2017 net new unit growth expectations of approximately 1 percent in North America and approximately 12.5 percent in International.
    The Company continues to facilitate franchisee-to-franchisee restaurant transfers ("Buy and Flips") in order to ensure restaurants are operated by well-capitalized franchisees that are committed to long-term growth. During the first quarter the Company facilitated 116 Buy and Flips and now expects to complete approximately 475 in 2017, which exceeds the original target by 75.

    Company declares quarterly dividend
    The Company announced today the declaration of its regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.07 per share, payable on June 15, 2017, to shareholders of record as of June 1, 2017. The number of common shares outstanding as of May 4, 2017 was 245.5 million.

    Company repurchases 1.3 million shares for $17.8 million in first quarter
    The Company repurchased 1.3 million shares for $17.8 million in the first quarter at an average price of $13.50 per share. The Company has approximately $132 million remaining on its existing $150 million share repurchase authorization, which expires March 4, 2018.

    2017 outlook
    During 2017, the Company now expects:

    • Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $400 to $406 million, an increase of approximately 2 to 4 percent compared to 2016. 
    • Company-operated restaurant margin of approximately 18.5 percent. 
    • Commodity cost inflation of approximately 1.5 to 2.0 percent compared to 2016. 
    • General and administrative expense at the low end of its previously issued range of approximately $210 to $220 million.

    In addition, the Company continues to expect:

    • Adjusted earnings per share of approximately $0.45 to $0.47, an increase of approximately 13 percent to 18 percent compared to 2016. 
    • Same-restaurant sales growth of approximately 2 to 3 percent for the North America system. 
    • Labor inflation of approximately 4 percent. 
    • Interest expense of approximately $115 million. 
    • Depreciation and amortization expense of approximately $120 million, including accelerated depreciation of approximately $2 million. 
    • Cash flows from operations of approximately $240 to $275 million. 
    • Capital expenditures of approximately $80 to $90 million. 
    • Free cash flow of approximately $160 to $185 million. 
    • An adjusted tax rate of approximately 32 to 34 percent.

    Company on track to achieve 2020 goals
    The Company continues to expect to achieve the following goals by the end of 2020:

    • Global systemwide sales (in constant currency and excluding Venezuela) of ~$12 billion. 
    • Global restaurant count of ~7,500. 
    • Global Image Activation of at least 70 percent. 
    • Adjusted EBITDA margin of 38 to 40 percent. 
    • Free cash flow of ~$275 million (capital expenditures of ~$65 million).

    About The Wendy's Company
    The Wendy's Company is the world's third-largest quick-service hamburger company. The Wendy's system includes approximately 6,500 franchise and Company-operated restaurants in the United States and 30 countries and U.S. territories worldwide. 

Jack in the Box Inc. Reports Second Quarter FY 2017 Earnings; Updates Guidance for FY 2017; Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend

  • May 16, 2017 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

    SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) today reported earnings from continuing operations of $33.8 million, or $1.09 per diluted share, for the second quarter ended April 16, 2017, compared with $29.0 million, or $0.85 per diluted share, for the second quarter of fiscal 2016.

    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 $0.98 in the second quarter of fiscal 2017 compared with $0.85 in the prior year quarter.

    A reconciliation of non-GAAP measurements to GAAP results is provided below, with additional information included in the attachment to this release. Figures may not add due to rounding.




    12 Weeks Ended



    28 Weeks Ended

    April 16,



    April 10,

    April 16,



    April 10,

    Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations – GAAP









    Restructuring charges



    Gains from refranchising











    Operating earnings per share – Non-GAAP












    During fiscal 2016, the company announced plans to reduce general and administrative costs. A comprehensive review of its organizational structure identified cost savings from workforce reductions, relocation and consolidation of the Qdoba corporate support center, refranchising initiatives, and information technology synergies across both brands. As a result, restructuring charges of $2.2 million, or approximately $0.04 per diluted share, were recorded during the second quarter of fiscal 2017. Charges consist primarily of facility closing and employee relocation costs. These charges are included in “Impairment and other charges, net” in the accompanying condensed consolidated statements of earnings.

    Lenny Comma, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “While operating earnings per share increased 15 percent versus last year, driven primarily by lower G&A, our second quarter performance was below our expectations. After a sluggish start to the quarter, which we believe was attributable to delayed tax refunds and record rainfall in California, Jack in the Box® system same-store sales improved to positive territory as these transitory issues passed and we pivoted our advertising towards value messages. However, same-store sales at Qdoba® company restaurants worsened in the latter two months of the quarter, as we lapped more aggressive discounting in last year's second quarter. While margins at Qdoba were still disappointing, they improved to over 16 percent in the final month of the quarter as we were able to manage labor and food costs more effectively than in the first quarter, despite the larger decline in same-store sales. We are also encouraged that Qdoba company same-store sales have improved thus far in the third quarter.

    “At our investor meeting last May, we said one of the factors that would cause us to reconsider our strategy with respect to Qdoba was valuation. It has become more apparent since then that the overall valuation of the company is being impacted by having two different business models. As a result, we've retained Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC to assist the Board in its evaluation of potential alternatives with respect to Qdoba, as well as other ways to enhance shareholder value.

    “Lastly, we continue to make good progress on our Jack in the Box refranchising initiative, with the sale of 60 restaurants in the second quarter. In addition, as of today, we have signed non-binding letters of intent with franchisees to sell approximately 70 additional restaurants.”

    Increase/(decrease) in same-store sales*:





    12 Weeks Ended



    28 Weeks Ended

    April 16,
    2017 *



    April 10,

    April 16,
    2017 *



    April 10,

    Jack in the Box:
































    *Note: Due to the transition from a 53-week to a 52-week fiscal year, year-over-year fiscal period comparisons are offset by one week. The change in same-store sales presented in the 2017 column uses comparable calendar periods to balance the one-week shift and to provide a clearer year-over-year comparison.

    Jack in the Box system same-store sales decreased 0.8 percent for the quarter and lagged the QSR sandwich segment by 1.5 percentage points for the comparable period, according to The NPD Group’s SalesTrack® Weekly for the 12-week time period ended April 16, 2017.

    Included in this segment are 16 of the top QSR sandwich and burger chains in the country. Company same-store sales decreased 2.4 percent in the second quarter driven by a 7.1 percent decrease in transactions, partially offset by average check growth of 4.7 percent.

    Qdoba same-store sales decreased 3.2 percent system-wide and 5.9 percent for company restaurants in the second quarter. Company same-store sales reflected an 8.2 percent decrease in transactions, partially offset by growth in average check and catering sales.

    Consolidated restaurant operating margin, a non-GAAP measure1, decreased by 240 basis points to 17.5 percent of sales in the second quarter of 2017, compared with 19.9 percent of sales in the year-ago quarter. Restaurant operating margin for Jack in the Box company restaurants, a non-GAAP measure1, decreased 100 basis points to 19.7 percent of sales. The decrease was due primarily to higher labor costs related to wage inflation, higher repairs and maintenance costs, and sales deleverage, which were partially offset by a decrease in food and packaging costs.

    The decrease in food and packaging costs as a percentage of sales resulted from the benefit of menu price increases, favorable product mix and commodity deflation of approximately 0.3 percent in the quarter. Restaurant operating margin for Qdoba company restaurants, a non-GAAP measure1, decreased 480 basis points to 13.5 percent of sales. The decrease was due primarily to sales deleverage, the impact of new restaurant openings over the last 12 months, an increase in food and packaging costs and the impact of wage inflation. The increase in food and packaging costs as a percentage of sales was impacted by unfavorable product mix, which was partially offset by a decrease in discounting. Commodity costs at Qdoba were flat in the quarter compared to the prior year.

    Franchise margin, a non-GAAP measure1, as a percentage of total franchise revenues improved to 54.4 percent in the second quarter from 53.8 percent in the prior year quarter. The improvement was due primarily to higher franchise fees related to the sale of 60 company-operated Jack in the Box restaurants to franchisees in the second quarter, lower depreciation and a decrease in franchise support and other costs. These increases were partially offset by decreases in rental revenues and royalties resulting from the acquisition of 19 franchise-operated Jack in the Box restaurants at the beginning of the quarter which the company intends to refranchise, and an increase in occupancy expenses due primarily to a decrease in favorable lease commitment adjustments related to previously refranchised markets.


    (1) Restaurant operating margin and franchise margin are non-GAAP measures. These non-GAAP measures are reconciled to consolidated earnings from operations, the most comparable GAAP measure, in the attachment to this release. See "Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measurements to GAAP Results."

    SG&A expense for the second quarter decreased by $11.1 million and was 9.7 percent of revenues as compared to 13.0 percent in the prior year quarter. Key items contributing to the decrease were the impact of the company's restructuring activities, a $3.3 million decrease in incentive compensation, a $2.6 million decrease in advertising, a $2.1 million decrease in pension and postretirement benefits, as well as a $2.0 million decrease in insurance costs. These decreases were partially offset by mark-to-market adjustments on investments supporting the company's non-qualified retirement plans, which resulted in a $1.5 million year-over-year increase in SG&A.

    Interest expense, net, increased by $4.0 million in the second quarter due to increased leverage and a higher effective interest rate for 2017.
    The tax rate for the second quarter of 2017 was 38.2 percent versus 36.7 percent for the second quarter of 2016. The higher tax rate was due primarily to a decrease in work opportunity tax credits in the second quarter of 2017, and favorable mark-to-market adjustments on investments supporting the company's non-qualified retirement plans in the second quarter of 2016.

    Capital Allocation
    The company repurchased approximately 2,229,000 shares of its common stock in the second quarter of 2017 at an average price of $98.27 per share for an aggregate cost of $219.0 million.

    On May 11, 2017, the Board of Directors authorized an additional $100.0 million stock buyback program. This leaves approximately $181.0 million remaining under stock buyback programs authorized by the company's Board of Directors that expire in November 2018.

    The company also announced today that on May 11, 2017, its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.40 per share on the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on June 12, 2017, to shareholders of record at the close of business on May 30, 2017.

    The following guidance and underlying assumptions reflect the company’s current expectations for the third quarter ending July 9, 2017, and fiscal year ending October 1, 2017. Fiscal 2017 is a 52-week year, with 16 weeks in the first quarter, and 12 weeks in each of the second, third and fourth quarters. Fiscal 2016 was a 53-week year, with the additional week occurring in the fourth quarter.

    Third quarter fiscal year 2017 guidance

    • Same-store sales of up 1.0 to down 1.0 percent at Jack in the Box system restaurants versus a 1.1 percent increase in same-store sales in the year-ago quarter.
    • Same-store sales of up 1.0 to down 1.0 percent at Qdoba company restaurants versus a 1.0 percent increase in the year-ago quarter.

    Fiscal year 2017 guidance

    • Same-store sales increase of approximately 1.0 percent at Jack in the Box system restaurants.
    • Same-store sales decrease of approximately 1.0 to 2.0 percent at Qdoba company restaurants.
    • Commodity costs of approximately flat for both Jack in the Box and Qdoba.
    • Consolidated restaurant operating margin of approximately 19.0 percent, depending on the timing of refranchising transactions and the margins associated with the restaurants sold.
    • SG&A as a percentage of revenues of approximately 11.0 percent as compared to 12.7 percent in fiscal 2016.
    • Impairment and other charges as a percentage of revenues of approximately 70 basis points, excluding restructuring charges.
    • Approximately 20 to 25 new Jack in the Box restaurants opening system-wide, the majority of which will be franchise locations.
    • Approximately 50 to 60 new Qdoba restaurants, of which approximately 30 are expected to be company locations.
    • Capital expenditures of approximately $100 million.
    • Tax rate of approximately 38.0 to 39.0 percent.
    • Operating earnings per share, 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, ranging from $4.10 to $4.30.

    Conference call
    The company will host a conference call for financial analysts and investors on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, beginning at 8:30 a.m. PT (11:30 a.m. ET). The conference call will be broadcast live over the Internet via the Jack in the Box Inc. corporate website. To access the live call through the Internet, log onto the Investors section of the Jack in the Box Inc. website at at least 15 minutes prior to the event in order to download and install any necessary audio software. A replay of the call will be available through the Jack in the Box Inc. corporate website for 21 days, beginning at approximately 11:30 a.m. PT on May 17, 2017.

    About Jack in the Box Inc.
    Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK), based in San Diego, is a restaurant company that operates and franchises Jack in the Box®restaurants, one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. Additionally, through a wholly owned subsidiary, the company operates and franchises Qdoba Mexican Eats®, a leader in fast-casual dining, with more than 700 restaurants in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. For more information on Jack in the Box and Qdoba, including franchising opportunities, visit or


    Jack in the Box Inc.
    Investor Contact:
    Carol DiRaimo, (858) 571-2407
    Media Contact:
    Brian Luscomb, (858) 571-2291

  • Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Reports Results for the Fiscal First Quarter Ended April 16, 2017

    May 16, 2017 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time
  • GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc., (NASDAQ:RRGB), a full-service restaurant chain serving an innovative selection of high-quality gourmet burgers in a family-friendly atmosphere, today reported financial results for the quarter ended April 16, 2017.
    First Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights Compared to First Quarter 2016

    • Total revenues were $418.6 million, an increase of 4.1%;
    • Net income was $11.6 million compared to $14.2 million;
    • Comparable restaurant revenue decreased 1.2% (using constant currency rates);
    • Adjusted EBITDA was $45.8 million compared to $48.9 million (see Schedule III);
    • GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.89 compared to $1.03; and
    • Adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.89 compared to $1.27 (see Schedule I).

    “The steps we’ve taken so far are strengthening our business, enabling us to gain market share, and separating Red Robin from our casual dining competitors,” said Denny Marie Post, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. chief executive officer. “During the first quarter, our everyday value Tavern Double burger menu continued to drive traffic, our teams delivered on improved speed of service, and our recent investments in the growing off-premise use began to gain traction. The early success of these and other initiatives gives us confidence that we are laying the groundwork for improved performance for the balance of the year and beyond.”

    Operating Results
    Total revenues, which primarily include Company-owned restaurant revenue and franchise royalties, increased 4.1% to $418.6 million in the first quarter of 2017 from $402.1 million in the first quarter of 2016. Restaurant revenue increased $24.8 million primarily due to new restaurant openings and acquired restaurants, partially offset by decreases of $4.6 million, or 1.2%, in comparable restaurant revenue and $3.8 million from closed restaurants. Franchise and other revenue decreased $0.3 million, primarily driven by the loss of royalties from 13 franchised restaurants acquired during the first quarter of 2016.

    System-wide restaurant revenue (which includes franchised units) for the first quarter of 2017 totaled $498.8 million, compared to $493.0 million for the first quarter of 2016.

    Comparable restaurant revenue(1) decreased 1.2% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period a year ago, driven by a 1.7% decrease in guest counts, partially offset by a 0.5% increase in average guest check. The increase in average guest check comprised a 1.6% increase in pricing and a 1.1% decrease in menu mix.

    Restaurant-level operating profit margin (a non-GAAP financial measure) was 20.7% in the first quarter of 2017 compared to 22.5% in the same period a year ago. The 180 basis point margin decrease in the first quarter of 2017 resulted from a 170 basis point increase in labor costs and a 70 basis point increase in other restaurant operating expenses, partially offset by a 40 basis point decrease in cost of sales and a 20 basis point decrease in occupancy costs. Schedule II of this earnings release defines restaurant-level operating profit, discusses why it is a useful metric for investors, and reconciles this metric to income from operations and net income.
    (1) Comparable restaurants are those Company-owned restaurants that have operated five full quarters during the period presented, and such restaurants are only included in the comparable metrics if they are comparable for the entirety of both periods presented.





    Restaurant Revenue Performance


    Q1 2017

    Q1 2016

    Average weekly sales per unit(1):

    Company-owned – Total





    Company-owned – Comparable





    Franchised units – Comparable





    Total operating weeks:

    Company-owned units



    Franchised units




    (1) Calculated using constant currency rates. Using historical currency rates, the average weekly sales per unit in the first quarter of 2016 for Company-owned – Total and Company-owned – Comparable was $55,978 and $56,980. The Company calculates non-GAAP constant currency average weekly sales per unit by translating prior year local currency average weekly sales per unit to U.S. dollars based on current quarter average exchange rates. The Company considers non-GAAP constant currency average weekly sales per unit to be a useful metric to investors and management as they facilitate a more useful comparison of current performance to historical performance.

    Other Results
    Depreciation and amortization costs increased to $28.0 million in the first quarter of 2017 from $24.0 million in the first quarter of 2016. The increased depreciation was primarily related to new restaurants opened and acquired since the first quarter of 2016 and restaurants remodeled under the Brand Transformation Initiative.

    General and administrative costs were $30.9 million, or 7.4% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $32.0 million, or 8.0% of total revenues in the same period a year ago. The decrease of $1.1 million resulted primarily from timing and will reverse in future quarters.
    Selling expenses were $12.4 million, or 3.0% of total revenues, in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $11.4 million, or 2.8%, of total revenues during the same period in the prior year.

    Pre-opening and acquisition costs were $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2017, compared to $2.4 million in the same period a year ago. The decrease was primarily due to $0.7 million in acquisition costs incurred in the first quarter 2016, partially offset by an increase due to timing of restaurant openings.

    The Company’s effective tax rate for first quarter 2017 was 20.1%, compared to 23.3% for first quarter 2016. The change in the effective tax rate was primarily due to a decrease in income in the first quarter of 2017 compared to the same period a year ago.

    Net income for the first quarter ended April 16, 2017 was $11.6 million compared to $14.2 million for the same period a year ago. Earnings per diluted share for the first quarter 2016 was $0.89 compared to $1.03 in first quarter 2016.

    Excluding charges of $0.20 per diluted share for litigation contingencies and $0.04 per diluted share for asset impairment, adjusted earnings per diluted share for the first quarter ended April 17, 2016 were $1.27. See Schedule I for a reconciliation of adjusted net income and adjusted earnings per share (each, a non-GAAP financial measure) to net income and earnings per share.

    Restaurant Development
    During the first quarter of 2017, the Company opened six Red Robin restaurants, including one restaurant that was temporarily closed during 2016, and relocated one Red Robin restaurant. Our franchisees opened one restaurant during the first quarter of 2017.
    The following table details restaurant unit data for our Company-owned and franchised locations for the periods indicated:




    Sixteen Weeks Ended

    April 16, 2017



    April 17, 2016


    Beginning of period



    Opened during the period



    Acquired from franchisees


    Closed during the period





    End of period






    Beginning of period



    Opened during the period


    Sold or closed during the period




    End of period





    Total number of restaurants






    Balance Sheet and Liquidity
    As of April 16, 2017, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $22.2 million and total debt of $300.9 million, excluding $11.3 million of capital lease liabilities. The Company funded construction of new restaurants and other capital expenditures with cash flow from operations and made net repayments of $35.5 million on its credit facility during the first quarter of 2017. As of April 16, 2017, the Company had outstanding borrowings under its credit facility of $300.0 million, in addition to amounts issued under letters of credit of $7.4 million, which reduce the amount available under its credit facility but are not recorded as debt.

    The Company’s lease adjusted leverage ratio decreased to 4.23x as of April 16, 2017. The lease adjusted leverage ratio is defined in Section 1.1 of our credit facility, which is filed as Exhibit 10.32 of our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed on February 21, 2017. On April 13, 2017, the Company entered into a first amendment to its credit facility to increase the lease adjusted leverage ratio to 5.25x (see Exhibit 10.1 of our Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q to be filed on May 17, 2017).

    Outlook for 2017

    • Earnings per diluted share is projected to range from $2.80 to $3.10 with approximately 45% expected in the first half of 2017 and 55% in the second half of 2017.
    • Interest expense for 2017 is expected to be approximately $10 million.

    The sensitivity of the Company’s earnings per diluted share to a 1% change in guest counts for fiscal year 2017 is estimated to be approximately $0.40 on an annualized basis. Additionally, a 10 basis point change in restaurant-level operating profit margin is expected to impact earnings per diluted share by approximately $0.10, and a change of approximately $160,000 in pre-tax income or expense is equivalent to approximately $0.01 per diluted share.

    Guidance Policy
    The Company intends to provide only annual guidance as it relates to revenues, comparable restaurant revenue growth, operating weeks associated with locations opened, cost of sales and restaurant labor costs as a percentage of restaurant revenue, other operating expenses (other than interest expense), depreciation and amortization, general and administrative expense, selling expense, pre-opening expense, income tax rate, EBITDA, earnings per diluted share, overall capital expenditures and restaurant openings and closings. The Company intends to only provide updates if there is a material change versus the previously communicated guidance.

    Investor Conference Call and Webcast
    Red Robin will host an investor conference call to discuss its first quarter 2017 results today at 5:00 p.m. ET. The conference call number is (888) 724-9493, or for international callers (913) 312-0654. The financial information that the Company intends to discuss during the conference call is included in this press release and will be available in the “Company” section of the Company’s website at by selecting the “Investor Relations” link, then the “News Releases” link. Prior to the conference call, the Company will post supplemental financial information that will be discussed during the call and live webcast.

    To access the supplemental financial information and webcast, please visit and select the “Company” section, then the “Investor Relations” link, then the “Presentations” link. A replay of the live conference call will be available from two hours after the call until midnight on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. The replay can be accessed by dialing (844) 512-2921, or (412) 317-6671 for international callers. The conference ID is 3117834.

    Analyst and Investor Day
    The Company will host its Analyst and Investor Day on May 23, 2017, in Denver, Colo. The presentation is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. MT and will conclude at approximately 12:00 p.m. MT. A listen-only webcast of the event will be broadcast simultaneously and can be accessed via the “Company” section of the Company’s website at by selecting the “Investor Relations” link. The presentation and supplemental slides will also be available on the website. A replay of the event will be available on the Company’s website.

    About Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (NASDAQ: RRGB)
    Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. (, a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1969 that operates through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Red Robin International, Inc., and under the trade name Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews, is the Gourmet Burger Authority™, famous for serving more than two dozen craveable, high-quality burgers with Bottomless Steak Fries® in a fun environment welcoming to guests of all ages. Whether a family dining with kids, adults grabbing a drink at the bar, or teens enjoying a meal, Red Robin offers an unparalleled experience for its guests. In addition to its many burger offerings, Red Robin serves a wide variety of salads, soups, appetizers, entrees, desserts, and signature beverages. Red Robin offers a variety of options behind the bar, including its extensive selection of local and regional beers, and innovative adult beer shakes and cocktails, earning the restaurant a VIBE Vista Award for Best Beer Program in a Multi-Unit Chain Restaurant. There are 560 Red Robin restaurants across the United States and Canada, including locations operating under franchise agreements. Red Robin… YUMMM®! Connect with Red Robin on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.


    Media Relations:
    Coyne PR
    Brian Farley, 973-588-2000
    Investor Relations:
    Raphael Gross/Dara Dierks, 203-682-8200

  • Curry Up Now Acquires Tava Kitchen in Strategic Move to Expand

  • May 18, 2017

    Popular Bay Area Indian Street Food Restaurant Gears Up To Open New Rebranded Alameda Location The Beginning Of June
    Alameda, CA  (  Curry Up Now, the popular Bay Area family of restaurants, food trucks and Mortar & Pestle Bar, has acquired Tava Kitchen in a strategic move to expand. Both concepts have garnered numerous accolades and awards for their fast-casual concepts, including Nation’s Restaurant News naming Tava Kitchen a ‘Breakout Brand of 2016,’ therefore making the acquisition a fitting move for co-founders Akash Kapoor, Rana Kapoor, and Amir Hosseini.

    “We started Curry Up Now in 2009 as a food truck and over the years grew to five food trucks. Meanwhile, we opened our brick-and-mortar restaurants in San Mateo, Palo Alto, San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland.  While Curry Up Now has fast and fine-casual formats, as well as craft cocktail bars attached to our fine casual stores, Tava Kitchen was the first, true Indian quick service brand who figured out how to dish out amazing food in a standardized format.  With this acquisition, we are confident that we will be able to combine our vision of Indian food and a fantastic guest experience to grow the Curry Up Now brand worldwide,” states CEO of Curry Up Now, Akash Kapoor.

    “It’s been an incredible adventure and joy to build Tava. We started out simply as three friends who wanted to share their love of South Asian food and over the last five years, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people find their flavor. I think it’s incredibly fitting that we’re linking up with our friends at Curry Up Now to help scale that vision across the country. For years people have talked about Indian food being the next big thing. I really think this is the team that’s going to make that happen,” exclaims the founder of Tava Kitchen, Hasnain Zaidi.

    Experts in the hospitality industry project that Indian fast-casual concepts will continue to grow in popularity, which also positions the timing of this acquisition perfectly. Curry Up Now, who has built a reputation as a pioneer in the fast-casual Indian food market, will combine their expertise with several of Tava Kitchen’s practices to standardize and simplify food processes, helping to enable seamless growth in the future. Tava Kitchen’s 1800 square foot Alameda location, which features patio dining, will be rebranded as a Curry Up Now and is set to reopen at the beginning of June. The space will showcase Curry Up Now’s signature Industrial Bollywood Pop chic interior design with a giant mural, upcycled furniture & lighting fixtures, and for the first time, a completely open food assembly line where guests can see almost all the food being made live in front of them as they order.  In addition to serving guests, Curry Up Now will be using the Alameda location as it’s innovation lab to test and launch new items as well as use the store as a national training restaurant.

    Curry Up Now takes traditional Indian flavors and presents them in a friendly, recognizable format, like, their fan-favorites, which include Tikka Masala Burrito, Deconstructed Samosa, Sexy Fries and Naughty Naan, along with traditional Indian Street Foods like Pani Puri, Marwari Kachori Chaat, Papdi Chaat and the founder’s favorite, Pav Bhaji & Vada Pav.  Not only does the menu feature innovative dishes, but they pride themselves on offering all natural, never frozen, gluten-free curries, chutneys and sauces; cage-free eggs; local and organic produce and dairy products; and protein options that are Halal, naturally raised, antibiotic and hormone-free. Curry Up Now limits their disposal waste by using real plates and silverware versus plastic that ends up in landfills.

    Another unique feature of Curry Up Now is Mortar & Pestle, which is a craft cocktail bar attached to their San Jose and San Mateo locations. The bar program, which has earned them local and regional recognition, features an eclectic menu of signature cocktails such as the Indian-inspired, Bangalore Old Fashioned which is an Indian rum blend-based Old Fashioned with house-made Garam Masala syrup; Holi Bhang which is an Organic Coconut Ghee Washed Rum & Rye, Lucknow Fennel Syrup, Lemon, Aqua Faba, Coriander Infused Orange Bitters and Crunchberry Holi Color blasts; and lastly their eponymous seasonally adjusted cocktail, the Mortar & Pestle, which is rightly served in a mortar and consists currently of Gin, Rum & Rye along with a Ras El Hanout syrup and finished with mint, cherries & bitters.  They have an array of exclusive house-made tonics, craft beers, sangrias and wine is available by the glass or bottle. The founders foresee Mortar & Pestle continuing to be a part of future flagship Curry Up Now restaurants, while smaller locations will have beer, wine and sangria available on tap.

    About Curry Up Now
    Established in 2009, Curry Up Now was conceived by Akash Kapoor and his wife Rana and ably supported by co-founder, Amir Hosseini.  There are currently Curry Up Now locations in Palo Alto, San Mateo, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, and four food trucks rolling under the same name. The concept has been named as one of Zagat’s ‘5 Hottest Fast-Casual Chains,’ ‘SF’s Best Indian Restaurants’ by EATER SF, and ‘100 Things To Eat Before You Die’ by 7×7.
    Curry Up Now in Alameda will be located at 2640 5th St Alameda, CA 94501. The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Additional information and menu details are available at or for more updates follow Curry Up Now and Mortar & Pestle on Instagram.

    Ajenda Public Relations
    Jenna Satariano

  • Papa Murphy’s posts $5.4M loss in Q1

    Television advertising campaign raised expenses for Vancouver-based take-and-bake pizza company

    By Troy Brynelson, Columbian staff writer
    Published: May 10, 2017, 4:50 PM

  • A collision of fewer sales, severance payments and a national television ad campaign have led Papa Murphy’s to a $5.4 million loss for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.

    Revenues, when compared with last year’s fiscal first quarter, fell 3 percent to $32 million for the quarter, but the dip was compounded by a 30-percent rise in expenses, particularly in a segment for selling, general and administrative expenses.

    Total expenses rose $9.3 million to $39.9 million for the quarter, pushing the company’s first-quarter profits into the red. Tax provisions absorbed some of those expenses, though, according to the filings.

    A lot of the expenses can be traced to television commercials the company bought to target busy moms. Called “Murphy’s Law,” the six-week campaign aired to national audiences to showcase Papa Murphy’s pizza as a reliable dinner option. Papa Murphy’s spent $8.3 million on the commercials.

    Chairwoman and interim CEO Jean Birch called the campaign “disappointing,” but she said the misstep reinforced the company’s strategy to focus on regional marketing, working on its products and improving customer convenience.

    Recent departures and firings of executives also added to the expense. Papa Murphy’s parted ways with CEO Ken Calwell in December, and he is expected to earn a base salary for another 12 months. The company also eliminated 11 management positions, including two board members.
    Birch said the company expects to begin moving in the right direction.

    “We believe we now have the right people focused on the right things to return this business to sustained growth and profitability, creating long-term value for all of our stakeholders,” she said.

    Share prices for Papa Murphy’s Holdings Inc., traded on the Nasdaq Exchange as FRSH, closed at $4.99 per share Wednesday, up 7 cents.

  • Cracker Barrel Reports Results for Third Quarter Fiscal 2017

    May, 23 2017
    Raises Full-Year Earnings Guidance, Increases Quarterly Dividend and Declares Special Dividend

  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq:  CBRL) today reported its financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 ended April 28, 2017.

    Third Quarter Fiscal 2017 Highlights

    • Operating income margin as a percent of total revenue increased 60 basis points over the prior year quarter to 10.2%. 
    • Earnings per diluted share were $1.95, compared to GAAP earnings per diluted share of $2.04 in the prior year quarter. Adjusted for the impact of the reduction of provisions for uncertain tax positions, earnings per diluted share increased 7.1% from adjusted EPS of $1.82 in the prior year quarter. (See non-GAAP reconciliation below.)
    • The Company announced that its Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend to $1.20 per share on the Company's common stock, which represents a 4.3% increase over the Company's previous quarterly dividend of $1.15.
    • The Board of Directors also declared a special dividend of $3.50 per share on the Company's common stock.

    Commenting on the third quarter, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "We are pleased to report that third quarter earnings per diluted share exceeded our expectations. Our operating income margin continues to grow as a result of commodity market favorability and our ongoing cost reduction initiatives. Our confidence in the strength of the Cracker Barrel brand is reflected in our raised full-year earnings guidance, our increased quarterly dividend, and our declared special dividend." 

    Third Quarter Fiscal 2017 Results 
    Total revenue for the third quarter of fiscal 2017 of $700.4 million was flat compared to the prior year quarter. Comparable store restaurant sales decreased 0.4%, as a 2.1% decline in comparable store restaurant traffic was partially offset by a 1.7% increase in average check. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 1.6%. Comparable store retail sales decreased 4.7% from the prior year quarter. 
    Comparable store restaurant traffic, average check and comparable store restaurant sales and retail sales for the fiscal months of February, March, and April and the third quarter were as follows: 




    Third Quarter

    Comparable restaurant traffic





    Average check





    Comparable restaurant sales





    Comparable retail sales





    Beginning in the third quarter, the Company modified its method for calculating traffic to more accurately reflect both dine-in and off premise dining occasions. The Company now measures traffic growth as change in entrées sold (reflected in the above table), which includes entrees in our dine-in, to-go, and catering business; as we believe this measurement approach more accurately reflects underlying business growth.
    Within the Supplemental Information section of this earnings release, the Company has provided comparable restaurant traffic, measured as change in entrées sold, for fiscal 2017 by quarter.

    Operating Income
    Operating income in the third quarter was $71.5 million, or 10.2% of total revenue, an increase over the prior year quarter result of $67.0 million, or 9.6% of total revenue. As a percentage of total revenue, reductions in cost of goods sold and general and administrative expenses were partially offset by increases in labor and related expenses and other store operating expenses. 

    Diluted Earnings per Share
    Earnings per diluted share were $1.95, compared to GAAP EPS of $2.04 in the prior year quarter. Adjusted for the impact of the reduction of provisions for uncertain tax positions, earnings per diluted share increased 7.1% from adjusted EPS of $1.82 in the prior year quarter. (For a reconciliation of GAAP to non-GAAP financial measures, please see the tables accompanying this release.)

    Quarterly Dividend Increase and Special Dividend
    The Company announced that its Board of Directors increased the quarterly dividend to $1.20 per share on the Company's common stock, which represents a 4.3% increase over the Company's previous quarterly dividend of $1.15. The quarterly dividend is payable on August 4, 2017 to shareholders of record on July 14, 2017.

    The Board of Directors also declared a special dividend of $3.50 per share on the Company's common stock. This is the Company's third special dividend declaration. The special dividend is payable on July 28, 2017 to shareholders of record on July 14, 2017.

    Fiscal 2017 Outlook
    Based upon year-to-date financial performance and current estimates, the Company raised its full-year earnings guidance and now expects to report earnings per diluted share for the 2017 fiscal year between $8.25 and $8.35. The Company expects total revenue of approximately $2.95 billion, reflecting the expected opening throughout fiscal 2017 of six new Cracker Barrel stores and three new Holler & Dash Biscuit House restaurants. The Company now expects comparable store restaurant sales of between flat and 0.5% and comparable store retail sales of approximately -3.5%, reflecting the Company's more cautious expectations for the fourth quarter. The Company expects food commodity deflation of approximately 4.5% for the year. The Company now projects an operating income margin of approximately 10.5% of total revenue for fiscal 2017. The Company expects depreciation expense between $85 million and $87 million; net interest expense of approximately $15 million; and capital expenditures of approximately $125 million. The Company anticipates an effective tax rate for fiscal 2017 of approximately 32%. 

    The Company expects to report earnings per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2017 of between $2.10 and $2.20. The Company reminds investors that its outlook for fiscal 2017 reflects a number of assumptions, many of which are outside the Company's control. 

    About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®
    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that's surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America's country heritage…all at a fair price. The restaurants serve up delicious, home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n' dumplins as well as our signature biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and self-indulgences. 

    Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq:  CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. and operates 644 company-owned Cracker Barrel locations and four company-owned Holler & Dash Biscuit House locations across 44 states. Every Cracker Barrel store is open seven days a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.

  • Zoës Kitchen Announces First Quarter 2017 Results

    May 25, 2017 04:05 PM Eastern Daylight Time

    PLANO, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Zoe's Kitchen, Inc. ("Zoës Kitchen" or the "Company") (NYSE:ZOES) today reported financial results for the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017.

    Highlights for the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017, as compared to the sixteen weeks ended April 18, 2016:

    • Total revenue increased 12.6% to $90.6 million.
    • Comparable restaurant sales decreased 3.3%.
    • 10 new Company-owned restaurants opened.
    • Income from operations decreased 39.6% to $1.7 million.
    • Restaurant contribution* increased 1.8% to $18.0 million, or 19.9% of restaurant sales.
    • Net income was $19.0 thousand, or $0.00 per basic and diluted share, compared to net income of $1.4 million, or $0.07 per basic and diluted share.
    • Adjusted EBITDA* decreased 2.7% to $8.1 million.
    • Adjusted net income* was $0.2 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $1.1 million, or $0.06 per diluted share.

    (*) Restaurant contribution, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted net income are non-GAAP measures. For reconciliations of restaurant contribution to income from operations; EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted net income to GAAP net income; and why the Company considers these non-GAAP measures useful, see the reconciliation of non-GAAP measures accompanying this release.

    Kevin Miles, President and Chief Executive Officer of Zoës Kitchen, commented, “Our first quarter was largely in line with our expectations, reflecting the challenging traffic trends that prevailed across the industry, as well as the cycling of our 8.1% comp from 2016. With similar traffic trends continuing into the second quarter, we have revised our full year outlook. While we are dissatisfied with our comp result in the first quarter, we continued to grow share in our largest markets and are confident in the overall health of our brand."

    Mr. Miles concluded, “As we look to the balance of the year, we are on track to implement several major initiatives to build sales and traffic, and to reinforce our core strategies. Later this summer, we will introduce new entrées, sandwiches and appetizers that feature bold new flavor profiles, proteins, sauces and ingredients designed to extend our leadership in the Mediterranean space. We are also on track to better meet our guests demand for convenience with the planned re-launch of our web, loyalty and mobile platforms and to build upon our delivery and catering capabilities. We believe these initiatives will drive revenue and continue to grow our brand across all the markets we serve."

    First Quarter 2017 Financial Results
    Total revenue, which includes restaurant sales from Company-owned restaurants and royalty fees, increased 12.6% to $90.6 million in the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017, from $80.4 million in the sixteen weeks ended April 18, 2016. Restaurant sales for the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017 were $90.5 million, an increase of 12.6% from $80.3 million in the sixteen weeks ended April 18, 2016.

    Comparable restaurant sales decreased 3.3% during the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017, consisting of a 4.6% decrease in transactions and product mix offset by a 1.3% increase in price. The comparable restaurant base includes those restaurants open for 18 full periods or longer and included 161 restaurants as of April 17, 2017.

    Restaurant contribution increased 1.8% to $18.0 million in the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017, from $17.7 million in the sixteen weeks ended April 18, 2016. As a percentage of restaurant sales, restaurant contribution margin decreased 210 basis points to 19.9% as increases in labor and store operating expense rates were partially offset by lower cost of goods rates.

    The increase in labor and store operating expense rates was driven by the dilutive effect on margins from our newest restaurants, which, on average, initially operate at less than system-wide average sales volumes and incur some inefficiencies for a short period of time. In addition, labor rates and store operating expense rates increased from hourly wage rate inflation and investments in store technology and marketing.

    Net income for the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017 was $19.0 thousand, or $0.00 per diluted share, compared to net income of $1.4 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, for the sixteen weeks ended April 18, 2016. Adjusted net income was $0.2 million, or $0.01 per diluted share, for the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017, compared to adjusted net income of $1.1 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the sixteen weeks ended April 18, 2016.

    The Company opened 10 new Company-owned restaurants during the sixteen weeks ended April 17, 2017. As of April 17, 2017, there were 211 Company-owned restaurants and three franchised restaurants. As of May 25, 2017, the Company has opened five additional restaurants, bringing the total restaurant count to 219.

    FY 2017 Outlook
    For the fiscal year ending December 25, 2017, the Company is updating its outlook and currently expects the following:

    • Total revenue between $314.0 million and $322.0 million (previously $325.0 million and $327.0 million).
    • Comparable restaurant sales of flat to negative 3.0% (previously 1.0% to 2.0%).
    • 38 to 40 Company-owned restaurant openings (unchanged from previous guidance).
    • Restaurant contribution margin between 18.3% and 19.0% (previously 19.0% and 19.3%).
    • General and administrative expenses between 10.7% and 10.9% of total revenue, inclusive of $3.2 million of non-cash equity based compensation expense (previously 10.7% to 10.8%).

    Earnings Conference Call
    As previously announced, the Company will host a conference call to discuss its first quarter 2017 financial results today at 4:30 PM Eastern Time. Hosting the conference call will be Kevin Miles, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Sunil Doshi, Chief Financial Officer.

    The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing 877-407-3982 or for international callers by dialing 201-493-6780. A replay will be available afterwards and can be accessed by dialing 844-512-2921 or for international callers by dialing 412-317-6671; the passcode is 13661718. The replay will be available until Thursday, June 1, 2017.

    The conference call will also be webcast live from the Company’s corporate website at under the investor relations section. An archive of the webcast will also be available through the corporate website shortly after the conference call has concluded.

    About Zoës Kitchen
    Founded in 1995, Zoës Kitchen is a fast casual restaurant concept serving a distinct menu of fresh, wholesome, Mediterranean-inspired dishes delivered with Southern hospitality. With 219 locations in 20 states across the United States, Zoës Kitchen aims to deliver goodness to its guests by providing simple, tasty and fresh Mediterranean meals, inspired by family recipes, and made from scratch daily.


    For Zoe's Kitchen, Inc.
    Fitzhugh Taylor, 214-436-8765 x284
    Casey Shilling

    Chalak Mitra Group of Companies Announces Sale of Elephant Bar Restaurant and other Brands

    Deals include Elephant Bar Restaurant, Baker Bros American Deli, and Ruby Tequila's Mexican Kitchen

    Chalak Mitra Group of Companies 
    22 May, 2017, 16:59 ET

    DALLAS, May 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Chalak Mitra Group of Companies, a Dallas-based investment group, announces today the sale of several of its non-core brands. The brands included in the transactions are Elephant Bar Restaurant, Baker Bros American Deli, and Ruby Tequila's Mexican Kitchen. The transactions involved third parties, and terms of the deals were not disclosed.

    Baker Bros American Deli, a fast-casual deli chain that serves salads, oven-baked sandwiches, and stuffed baked potatoes, sold in February 2017 to FGR Food Corporation, based out of Dallas, Texas.

    Elephant Bar Restaurant, a globally inspired scratch kitchen founded in 1980, was sold via a stock purchase agreement on May 19,2017 to an affiliate of SBR, LLC. The transition will occur over the next several weeks and will not affect day-to-day operations of the restaurants. SBR, LLC, based out of Connecticut, is an investment company, specializing in private middle market activities. 

    The sale of Ruby Tequila's Mexican Kitchen is being finalized and should be complete by the end of May. It was sold to an affiliate of Fired Up Holding Company, Inc., based out of Lubbock, Texas. Ruby Tequila's Mexican Kitchen is an authentic Mex-Tex restaurant with locations in Lubbock and Amarillo.
    The sale of these brands will continue to help shape the group's high-level strategic direction. "We were proud to be affiliated with these brands throughout our ownership and wish the new ownership groups the best of luck. As a result of these transactions, we will allocate our resources to expand and strengthen our other businesses," said Al Bhakta, Managing Director. 

    About Chalak Mitra Group of Companies
    Chalak Mitra Group of Companies is an investment group headquartered in Dallas, Texas. They have deployed capital and management services in companies that operate restaurants, retail, real estate, hospitality, manufacturing, and sports. Their investment philosophy is to leverage their core expertise to help build companies and create value for all stakeholders.

    Chalak Mitra Group of Companies

    Cleveland Avenue Becomes Strategic Partner, Majority Investor in PizzaRev Restaurant Chain

    May 22, 2017 14:03 ET Source: Cleveland Avenue LLC

    CHICAGO, May 22, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Cleveland Avenue, LLC, a Chicago-based accelerator that strategically invests in innovative, consumer-focused restaurant, food and beverage concepts, today announced a strategic partnership and majority investment in the PizzaRev restaurant chain, based in Los Angeles. The chain offers customers a “Craft Your Own” pizza fast-casual dining experience in dozens of locations across the U.S., with 200 currently in development.

    “This is more than an investment, this is a partnership,” said Don Thompson, founder and CEO of Cleveland Avenue. “Our mission is to provide collaborative expertise and educational, practical and financial resources to our network of entrepreneurs and industry partners. We’re delighted to join forces with PizzaRev and begin working together toward achieving long-term sustained success.”

    PizzaRev’s co-founder and co-CEO, Nicholas Eckerman, said that the company shares a common vision with Cleveland Avenue to take PizzaRev to the next level, while keeping customers top of mind.

    Our focus is always on our customers and giving them delicious, unexpected and quality choices in this pizza revolution we’ve created,” said Eckerman. “Cleveland Avenue’s team has the industry expertise, versatile resources and strategic vision we need at this crucial juncture in PizzaRev’s growth.”

    “We’re attracted to PizzaRev because of its potential for scale and growth,” said Thompson.

    Cleveland Avenue, LLC is a privately-held accelerator which identifies and supports innovative restaurants, food and beverage startups by providing collaborative expertise, educational tools, and financial resources. Visit us at and @CleveAveLLC on Twitter and Instagram.


    PizzaRev is fast-casual restaurant concept that has reinvented pizza. Guests are empowered to fully customize a personal-sized 11" pizza for one price. Homemade dough options, flavorful sauces, all-natural cheeses, and more than 30+ artisanal toppings, everything is on display at PizzaRev and assembled right before your eyes. The pizzas are then fired in a 900-degree, stone-bed oven which produces a crispy Roman-style pizza in just three minutes. Los Angeles-based PizzaRev was founded in 2012; the executive team possesses a combination of Fortune 500 operating experience and high-profile restaurant management.

    PizzaRev continues to build corporate and franchise stores and has more than 200 locations under development across Mexico and 14 states: CA, CO, FL, GA, LA, NE, ND, NV, NY, OH, SD, TN, TX and UT.
    Visit for the latest company news and location information. You can also find PizzaRev on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Snapchat.


    NPC International, Inc. Announces Acquisition of 140 Wendy's Units from The Wendy’s Company

    June 01, 2017 09:48 AM Eastern Daylight Time

    OVERLAND PARK, Kan.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--NPC announced that it has acquired 140 Wendy’s restaurants, previously operated by DavCo Restaurants, LLC, from a subsidiary of The Wendy’s Company. As part of the transaction, NPC has agreed to remodel 90 acquired restaurants in the Image Activation format by the end of 2021 and build 15 new Wendy’s restaurants by the end of 2022.

    This acquisition was funded solely with cash proceeds from the company’s recent refinancing. The restaurants are owned and operated by NPC's wholly-owned subsidiary, NPC Quality Burgers, Inc.

    The acquired restaurants are primarily located in the Baltimore, MD, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. markets. According to information provided to NPC, the acquired units generated approximately $215 million in net product sales during the 52 weeks ended February 2017.

    Jim Schwartz, Chairman and CEO of NPC International, Inc., said, “We look forward to capitalizing upon the terrific opportunity in this market by delivering upon the Wendy’s brand promise each and every day. In addition to delighting every customer through superior restaurant operations, we plan to make significant investments in the market through Image Activation and the implementation of a new Aloha point of sale system at every location. This acquisition will be our seventh acquisition in the Wendy’s system since 2013 and will increase our holdings to 386 restaurants with revenues exceeding $590 million, or approximately 40% of our total consolidated revenues, positioning NPC as the largest Wendy’s franchisee.”

    Todd Penegor, President & CEO of The Wendy's Company, said, “As we continue to transform the system by facilitating restaurant sales to franchisees who have demonstrated operations excellence, brand and organizational leadership, and reinvestment in the business, we’re excited about NPC’s commitment to help Wendy’s reach its full potential in these important growth markets.”

    NPC International, Inc. is the world’s largest Pizza Hut franchisee and currently operates 1,136 Pizza Hut restaurants and delivery units in 28 states and 386 Wendy’s units in 7 states.


    Troy D. Cook, Executive Vice President-Finance & Chief Financial Officer

    Owner of Joe's Crab Shack chain files for bankruptcy

    By Tom Hals | WILMINGTON, DEL.

    The owner of the Joe's Crab Shack casual dining chain filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Tuesday amid falling sales, and plans to sell the company for at least $50 million to a private equity firm, according to a court filing.

    Ignite Restaurant Group Inc IRGT.PK, which also owns the Brick House Tavern + Tap chain, has been closing weaker locations and began to pursue a sale of the business last year, according to court documents.

    However, as operations continued to worsen through early 2017, interested bidders withdrew their proposals and Ignite began to consider bankruptcy, according to a court filing by Jonathan Tibus, the company's acting chief executive officer.

    Ignite filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston a proposal to sell its assets to Kelly Investment Group, a private equity firm. Other interested buyers will be invited to challenge the Kelly bid at a court-supervised auction, according to court documents.

    A spokesman for Ignite did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Ignite owns 112 Joe's Crab Shack restaurants and 25 Brick House locations, according to court documents. The Crab Shack chain was founded in Houston in 1991 and Brick House was launched in 2008.

    The company has a $30 million revolving credit facility and a $165 million term loan, according to a court filing.

    Casual dining chains have struggled with changing tastes. Cosi Inc and Roadhouse Holding, which owns the Logan's Roadhouse chain, filed for bankruptcy last year.

    Kelly Investment bought the Champps Kitchen & Bar and Fox & Hound chains out of bankruptcy last year.

    Shares of Ignite, which went public in 2012, were up 3.8 percent at 2.5 cents in pink sheet trading. The company is majority-owned by an affiliate of J.H. Witney & Co, an investment firm.

    US Foods Agrees to Acquire F. Christiana

    June 02, 2017 12:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

    ROSEMONT, Ill.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--US Foods announced today that it has agreed to acquire F. Christiana, a broadline distributor of food and food-related products concentrating on the important center-of-the-plate categories as well as dairy and dry goods.

    Family-owned for three generations, F. Christiana has nearly $100 million in annual sales and serves more than 1,800 independent restaurant, hotel, and independent deli/convenience store customers throughout Louisiana, southern Mississippi and parts of southern Alabama.

    “F. Christiana has an excellent reputation in the independent operator space,” said Keith Knight, south region president, US Foods. “When combined with their success in key strategic markets such as New Orleans and Baton Rouge, this acquisition will further enhance our position with new and existing customers in Louisiana.”

    “We see many similarities between US Foods and F. Christiana, most important of which is the passion for bringing value to its customers to help them succeed,” said Nick Christiana, general manager, F. Christiana. “With the size and scale of US Foods, our customers will have increased access to new and innovative products and business solutions to help them continue to grow their businesses profitably.”

    F. Christiana will continue to operate under the F. Christiana name and will remain in the 70,000 square foot facility where it conducts business today.

    The transaction is expected to close by mid-June. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

    About US Foods
    US Foods is one of America’s great food companies and a leading foodservice distributor, partnering with approximately 250,000 chefs, restaurants and foodservice operators to help their businesses succeed. With nearly 25,000 employees and more than 60 locations, US Foods provides its customers with a broad and innovative food offering and a comprehensive suite of e-commerce, technology and business solutions.

    US Foods is headquartered in Rosemont, Ill. and generates approximately $23 billion in annual revenue. Discover more at


    US Foods
    Media Contact:
    Sara Matheu
    (847) 720-2392

    Nathan's Famous, Inc. Reports Year-End 2016 And Fourth Quarter Results

    June, 9 2017
    Income from operations increased by 5.3% to $26,280,000, as compared to $24,963,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016

    Nathan's Famous, Inc. (NASDAQ:  NATH) today reported results for its fiscal year and fourth quarter ended March 26, 2017.

    For the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017:

    • Income from operations increased by 5.3% to $26,280,000, as compared to $24,963,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016; 
    • Adjusted EBITDA, as subsequently defined, increased by 4.4% to $28,348,000 as compared to $27,155,000 for the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016; 
    • Net income increased 22.8% to $7,485,000, as compared to $6,096,000 for the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016; 
    • Earnings per diluted share increased to $1.78 per share, as compared to $1.37 per share for the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016; and 
    • Revenues were $96,652,000, as compared to $100,890,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016.

    For the thirteen weeks ended March 26, 2017:

    • Income from operations increased by 4.1% to $4,671,000, as compared to $4,486,000 during the thirteen weeks ended March 27, 2016; 
    • Adjusted EBITDA, as subsequently defined, increased by 3.0% to $5,117,000 as compared to $4,966,000 for the thirteen weeks ended March 27, 2016; 
    • Net income increased by 43.8% to $729,000, as compared to $507,000 for the thirteen weeks ended March 27, 2016; 
    • Earnings per diluted share increased to $0.17 per share, as compared to $0.12 per share for the thirteen weeks ended March 27, 2016; and 
    • Revenues increased to $19,286,000, as compared to $19,053,000 during the thirteen weeks ended March 27, 2016.

    The Company reported the following:                                     

    • License royalties increased to $20,368,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017, as compared to $19,815,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016. During the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017, total royalties earned under the John Morrell & Co., agreement increased to $18,424,000, as compared to $17,975,000 of royalties earned during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016.  During this period, the volume of products sold increased by 7.3%; however, a more competitive promotional environment during the summer of 2016 led to a 4.0% decrease in the average net selling price on which our royalty is calculated. 
    • In the Branded Product Program, which features the sale of Nathan's hot dogs to the foodservice industry, sales were $55,960,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017, compared to sales of $58,545,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016. Income from operations of the Branded Product Program increased by approximately $1.9 million for the fiscal 2017 period over the fiscal 2016 period. During the period, the volume of hotdogs sold increased 4.6% but our average selling price declined by approximately 8.2% due to the impact of lower beef markets on that portion of our business sold using formula pricing. 
    • Sales from Company-operated restaurants were $15,042,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017 compared to $16,664,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016 driven primarily from lower sales at both Coney Island locations, due to unfavorable weather conditions during the fiscal 2017 period compared to the weather conditions during the fiscal 2016 period when we achieved record sales at both locations. 
    • Revenues from franchise operations were $5,068,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017, compared to $5,044,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016. Total royalties were $4,290,000 in the fiscal 2017 period as compared to $4,293,000 in the fiscal 2016 period. Total franchise fee income was $778,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017 compared to $751,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 27, 2016. Fifty-three new franchised outlets opened during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017, including 20 international locations, and 26 Branded Menu Program outlets. In addition to the U.S., new Nathan's restaurants opened in the following countries during fiscal 2017: Australia, Panama, the Philippines, Malaysia, Turkey, Russia, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. 
    • Nathan's tax rate was reduced by 5.6 percentage points as a result of early adopting the provisions of Financial Accounting Standards Board ASU 2016-09, "Stock Compensation", which now reduces the Company's tax provision for the excess tax benefits associated with stock compensation instead of increasing Additional paid-in-capital, as was past practice. 
    • On March 10, 2015, Nathan's completed a financing of $135.0 million aggregate principal amount of Senior Secured Notes. Nathan's incurred interest expense, including amortized debt issuance costs, totaling $14,665,000 during the fifty-two weeks ended March 26, 2017 on the Notes. 
    • Nathan's has purchased 5,127,373 shares of common stock at a cost of approximately $77,303,000 through March 26, 2017pursuant to share repurchase programs authorized by the Board of Directors. As of March 26, 2017, an aggregate 260,258 shares were available for purchase under Nathan's stock buy-back program. 
    • The Company has also entered into a 10b5-1 plan with Mutual Securities, Inc. ("MSI") pursuant to which MSI has been authorized on the Company's behalf to purchase shares of the Company's common stock.  

    Certain Non-GAAP Financial Information:
    In addition to disclosing results that are determined in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States of America ("US GAAP"), the Company has provided EBITDA excluding (i) interest expense; (ii) provision for income taxes and (iii) depreciation and amortization expense. The Company has also provided Adjusted EBITDA excluding (i) stock-based compensation; (ii) amortization of bond premium on the Company's available-for sale investments and (iii) impairment charge on long-term investment that the Company believes will impact the comparability of its results of operations. 

    The Company believes that EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are useful to investors to assist in assessing and understanding the Company's operating performance and underlying trends in the Company's business because EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are (i) among the measures used by management in evaluating performance and (ii) are frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties as a common performance measure. 

    EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not recognized terms under US GAAP and should not be viewed as alternatives to net income (loss) or other measures of financial performance or liquidity in conformity with US GAAP. Additionally, our definitions of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA may differ from other companies. Analysis of results and outlook on a non-US GAAP basis should be used as a complement to, and in conjunction with, data presented in accordance with US GAAP. 

    About Nathan's Famous
    Nathan's is a Russell 2000 Company that currently distributes its products in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, and thirteen foreign countries through its restaurant system, foodservice sales programs and product licensing activities. Last year, over 600 million Nathan's Famous hot dogs were sold. Nathan's was ranked #22 on the Forbes 2014 list of the Best Small Companies in America and was listed as the Best Small Company in New York State in October 2013. For additional information about Nathan's please visit our website at 

    Papa Murphy’s to Shutter Stores, Invest in Digital

    By Alex Dixon, QSR Magazine; June 5, 2017

    As part of a plan that will result in the refranchising of company-owned locations, Papa Murphy’s announced it will shutter up to 16 stores across several markets by the end of the year.

    The 1,500-unit brand says the closures will benefit annual EBITDA by around $1 million amid a difficult sales environment. In Q1 2017, Papa Murphy’s same-store sales fell 5 percent, including a nearly 10 percent decrease at company-owned stores over the year. Revenue fell $1 million to $32 million, and the company experienced a net loss of $5.4 million.

    "As we work to prepare for the refranchising of a majority of our company-owned stores, we have assessed the ongoing viability of certain locations and are taking action to optimize the near-term value of the portfolio to benefit both the company and the franchise-owners acquiring the markets," interim CEO and board chair Jean Birch said in a statement. "We have a clear opportunity to reduce short-term losses while giving new owners a more profitable portfolio of stores from the start."  

    Papa Murphy’s will also enhance its digital ordering through a partnership with platform Olo, which will enable online and mobile ordering to be fully integrated with third-party marketplace and delivery services. Through the platform’s Dispatch delivery network and Rails marketplace platform, which partners with delivery service providers and services such as Uber and DoorDash, Papa Murphy’s will be able to deliver products to customers’ homes.

    “Two of our key near-term strategies include improving customer convenience and supporting our franchise-owners with cost-effective tools to help them run better operations,” Birch says. “Olo's digital expertise and ability to integrate and simplify the ordering and delivery processes support both of these key goals."

    Papa Murphy’s will spend $5.1 million to make the digital ordering transition, and estimates the move to Olo will benefit annual EBITDA by about $0.9 million.

    Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Completes the Acquisition of 17 BURGER KING® Restaurants in Maryland

    June, 13 2017

    Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc.  (Nasdaq:TAST) announced that on June 6, 2017, the Company completed the acquisition of Republic Foods, Inc. which operates 17 BURGER KING® restaurants in Maryland, specifically in the Baltimore and Washington markets.

    Daniel T. Accordino, the Company's Chief Executive Officer said, "We are pleased to complete this transaction which we obtained through the exercise of our right of first refusal. We are excited since this acquisition provides a strategic entry point for us to further expand our presence in the mid-Atlantic region going forward. These restaurants, with average sales volumes of almost $2.0 million, are also significantly higher than our system average and should be highly accretive as we integrate them with our existing operations."

    Carrols is the largest BURGER KING® franchisee in the United States with 804 restaurants as of June 12, 2017 and has operated BURGER KING® restaurants since 1976. 

    EMM Group Founders Eugene Remm, Mark Birnbaum and Michael Hirtenstein Announce a New Partnership with Hospitality Mogul Tilman J. Fertitta

    Billion Dollar Buyer Tilman Fertitta Acquires Half of EMM Group With Plans to Expand Globally
    EMM Group 
    13 Jun, 2017, 14:29 ET

    NEW YORK, June 13, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Leading New York City based hospitality group, EMM Group, responsible for the most dynamic and popular restaurants including CATCH and Lexington Brass located across New York, Los Angeles, Playa del Carmen and Dubai, is pleased to announce that Tilman J. Fertitta, The Billion Dollar Buyer and America's largest individual restaurateur, has acquired fifty percent (50%) ownership of the famous restaurant group. 

    EMM Founders, Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum along with business partner Michael Hirtenstein, created the most sought-after reservations in the industry with restaurants that uniquely combine delicious food, exceptional service and great vibes for a world class culinary experience. "We couldn't be more excited for Tilman to join our group.  Having access to Tilman and his team will allow Mark and I to focus more on operations and provides us with ample capital to grow CATCH," says Eugene Remm.

    According to Tilman Fertitta, "Mark and Eugene are the dynamic duo and have an unbridled energy and passion for success.  They understand today's millennials and know how to operate restaurants and drive traffic.  I am thrilled to now be an owner of CATCH.  No changes whatsoever are planned for operations.  I am here to provide guidance and help fund future growth of the brand."

    EMM Group has evolved tremendously over the last eleven years with properties that set trends and attract Hollywood elite including A-listers David Beckham, Drake, Jennifer Lopez, Sylvester Stallone, Kim Kardashian and more.  Now backed by restaurant magnate Fertitta, EMM Group is set up for an unparalleled expansion globally.

    "We have all been friends for years and look forward to growing EMM and the CATCH brand around the world starting with London, Las Vegas and Midtown NY. We have a lot to learn from Tilman and are ecstatic to have him as our new partner," says Mark Birnbaum.

    Fertitta, who just recently purchased BR Guest, has both revenues and assets of over $3.4 billion operating more than 500 properties (Mastro's, Morton's and Golden Nugget Hotels & Casinos) in 34 states and owns a number of international locations.

    About EMM Group
    Restaurant and nightlife veterans Eugene Remm and Mark Birnbaum founded EMM Group in 2006 and have since built it into one of the country's most successful and multi-faceted hospitality management companies. Identifying a need for establishments that offer multiple experiences within the same property, EMM Group has introduced synergy between restaurants and nightlife, opening venues in numerous markets that create seamless transitions between dining and entertainment. Today, EMM Group owns and operates a diversified portfolio of properties that includes refined American bistro Lexington Brass (2011) and multiple outposts of the globally influenced, seafood-centric CATCH (2011), where they continue to pioneer multi-faceted hospitality experiences while shifting focus to the ongoing domestic and international expansion of the brand.  With its multi-level flagship located in the heart of New York City's Meatpacking District, current CATCH outposts include Dubai, Playa del Carmen and Los Angeles, where the 12,000-square foot rooftop restaurant opened September 2016.

    Contact: Jessica Meisels
    Fingerprint Communications

    Katelyn Roche

    Soupman, of 'Seinfeld' fame, files for bankruptcy

    Published: June 13, 2017 9:00 p.m. ET

    Soupman Inc., of "Seinfeld" fame, filed for bankruptcy protection Tuesday, just weeks after a top company executive was charged with tax evasion.

    Federal prosecutors last month charged the company's former chief financial officer with 20 counts of failing to pay federal income taxes, Medicare and Social Security for Soupman's employees. The former executive, Robert Bertrand, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

    The company, based in Staten Island, N.Y., licenses the recipes, likeness and name of Al Yeganeh, the man who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character in the television show.

    "The combination of legacy liabilities and recent company developments have made it necessary to seek bankruptcy protection," said Chief Executive Jamie Karson in a statement.

    The company has lined up a $2 million bankruptcy loan to keep its business running during the chapter 11 case. Soupman operates restaurants in the New York area and sells soups to grocery stores and online.

    A Soupman representative declined to comment on the bankruptcy case.

    Soupman filed for chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., along with affiliates The Original Soupman Inc. and Kiosk Concepts Inc. The company listed assets of about $1.4 million and debts of approximately $11.8 million.

    Mr. Yeganeh, the man who inspired the "Soup Nazi" character, opened his Manhattan soup store in 1984. Mr. Yeganeh's fame spread after a 1995 "Seinfeld" episode in which an irascible soup vendor, played by actor Larry Thomas, berates customers standing in long lines for his legendary soup, often yelling "No soup for you!"

    The law firm of Polsinelli is handling the chapter 11 case, and Michael Wyse has been named the company's chief restructuring officer.

    Landry’s bids for Joe’s Crab Shack, Brick House

    Jun 16, 2017, 7:51am CDT

    Olivia Pulsinelli Senior web editor Houston Business Journal

    Houston-based Ignite Restaurant Group has another suitor seeking to buy its Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap brands — and it’s a familiar name.

    Landry’s Inc., another Houston-based company that once owned Joe’s, announced a bid to buy the brands for $55 million, according to filings with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston. That’s higher than the bid Ignite announced it had secured when it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this month.

    When Ignite filed for Chapter 11 on June 6, the company said it reached an agreement with KRG Acquisitions Co. LLC, an affiliate of San Diego-based private equity company Kelly Cos., to buy the brands for $50 million. However, Ignite also said other companies would be allowed to bid through a court-supervised auction, which Piper Jaffray & Co. will oversee. Ignite had been working with Piper Jaffray on a potential sale for the past several months.

    But in court filings this week, Landry’s said it previously made an offer to buy the brands for $60 million before Ignite reached its deal with KRG. Landry’s notes in a filing that it later requested a price reduction on that offer “for reasons it explained to” Ignite regarding "admittedly bad results," but the companies did not come to an agreement after that. Landry’s said it found out about KRG’s offer through the bankruptcy case.
    Landry notes that its new offer also includes a $10 million good-faith deposit, up from its original offer of a $6 million good-faith deposit and higher than KRG’s $2 million deposit, of which only $1 million was paid initially. Landry’s also said it would match all the other terms of KRG’s agreement “other than the ‘no shop’ provision, which Landry’s believes is unenforceable and contrary to (Ignite’s) duties to maximize the value for their creditors,” per the court filings.

    As such, Landry’s objects to the bid procedures motion, which asks the court “to approve a process based on an inferior stalking horse bidder and proposes payment of a breakup fee to a party that cannot earn it under these circumstances, where the economic terms 'ab initio' are plainly inadequate,” per the filings.

    An attorney for Ignite did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Landry’s, led by Houston billionaire Tilman Fertitta, owned Joe’s Crab Shack in the 1990s and grew the brand to more than 100 locations nationwide. In 2006, Connecticut-based private equity group JCS Holdings LLC, a unit of J.H. Whitney Capital, bought the chain for $192 million. The buyer later changed its name to Ignite Restaurant Group and took the company public in 2012.

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