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Financial Overview - March 2019





















J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. Reports Results For Fourth Quarter And Full Year Ended December 30, 2018


Net Sales Up 3% For Fourth Quarter


March 11, 2019 04:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--J. Alexander’s Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: JAX) (the Company), owner and operator of J. Alexander’s, Redlands Grill, Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill and selected other restaurants, today reported financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 30, 2018. The Company’s fiscal year ends on the Sunday closest to December 31 each year and therefore, as fiscal 2018 began on January 1, 2018, the benefit of New Year’s Eve activity, which is typically one of the Company’s highest volume days during the year, is not reflected in the Company’s reported results for any of the periods comprising annual results for 2018. Fourth Quarter 2018 Highlights Compared To The Fourth Quarter Of 2017

  1. Net sales were $63,205,000, an increase of 3.0% from $61,338,000 reported in the fourth quarter of 2017.

  2. For the J. Alexander’s/Grill restaurants, average weekly same store sales per restaurant(1) were $115,800, a gain of 0.3% from $115,500 reported in the fourth quarter of 2017. For the Stoney River Steakhouse and Grill restaurants, average weekly same store sales per restaurant were $85,400, up 2.4% from $83,400 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.

  3. The Company recorded a loss from continuing operations before income taxes of $470,000 for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to income from continuing operations before income taxes of $4,340,000 in the corresponding quarter of the prior year. The principal factor impacting income for the fourth quarter of 2018 was the non-recurring transaction expense of $4,560,000 related to the termination of the consulting agreement (“Consulting Agreement”) between Black Knight Advisory Services, LLC (“Black Knight”) and the Company announced on November 30, 2018 (see “Black Knight Consulting Agreement Terminated” below). The Company funded this obligation on January 31, 2019 through use of cash on hand and eliminated the obligation to pay Black Knight 3% of the Company’s Adjusted EBITDA for the remaining 6.8-year term of the Consulting Agreement. According to termination provisions of the Consulting Agreement, the Company is also required to make a separate cash payment of $705,000 to Black Knight for the pro-rata portion of the 2018 consulting fee within ten days of the completion of its 2018 audit.

  4. The final valuation of the Black Knight profits interest grant was calculated at the completion of the vesting period on October 6, 2018 and resulted in profits interest income of $450,000 in the most recent quarter. This compares to profits interest income of $773,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Company also accrued consulting fees of $116,000 under the Consulting Agreement in the fourth quarter of 2018. This compares to consulting fees of $250,000 recorded in the final quarter of 2017.

  5. The loss from continuing operations before income taxes for the fourth quarter of 2018 included non-recurring transaction expenses of $4,715,000, up from non-recurring transaction expenses of $1,094,000 in the same quarter a year earlier. Excluding these non-recurring transaction expenses for both periods, the Company’s income from continuing operations before income taxes would have totaled $4,245,000 for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $5,434,000 for the fourth quarter of 2017.

  6. The Company recorded net income of $934,000 for the fourth quarter of 2018. This compares to net income of $5,340,000 in the fourth quarter of 2017. Results included an income tax benefit of $1,524,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to an income tax benefit of $1,105,000 in the corresponding quarter of the previous year. The tax benefit for 2018 was the result of a (66%) effective tax rate, driven in large part by the impact of FICA tip credits on lower pre-tax income.

  7. The basic and diluted earnings per share totaled $0.06 for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $0.36 for the fourth quarter of 2017.

  8. Adjusted EBITDA(2) was $7,364,000 in the fourth quarter of 2018, down 9.9% from $8,177,000 in the final quarter of 2017.

  9. Restaurant Operating Profit Margin(3) as a percent of net sales was 12.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 14.9% for the same quarter of 2017.

  10. Cost of sales as a percentage of net sales in the fourth quarter of 2018 was 32.7% compared to 32.1% in the last quarter of 2017.

View full version at J. Alexander


Chuy’s Holdings, Inc. Announces Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2018 Financial Results


March 07, 2019 04:05 PM Eastern Standard Time

AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Chuy’s Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHUY) today announced financial results for the 13-week and 52-week periods ended December 30, 2018. Highlights for the 13-week fourth quarter ended December 30, 2018, compared to the 14-week fourth quarter ended December 31, 2017 were as follows:

  1. Revenue increased to $96.8 million from $96.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. The extra operating week in fiscal 2017 accounted for approximately $7.3 million in revenue in that year.

  2. On a calendar basis, comparable restaurant sales increased 0.9%. The Company estimates that unfavorable weather conditions during the fourth quarter of 2018, partially offset by the timing of New Year's Eve, had a negative impact of approximately 40 basis points on our comparable sales.

  3. Net income was $3.4 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, compared to net income of $15.9 million, or $0.93 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 included an $11.7 million favorable adjustment due to the revaluation of our net deferred tax liability as a result of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (the "Tax Act") as well as a gain on insurance settlements of $1.4 million ($1.0 million net of tax).

  4. Adjusted net income(1) was $1.8 million, or $0.11 per diluted share, compared to $3.2 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, in the same period in 2017. The Company estimates that the extra operating week during the fourth quarter of 2017 contributed $0.07 per diluted share to adjusted net income, which was partially offset by $0.01 per diluted share as a result of the temporary closure of one restaurant due to the damage from Hurricane Harvey during the fourth quarter of 2017.

  5. Restaurant-level operating profit(1) was $12.4 million compared to $15.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. The Company estimates that the fourth quarter of 2017 had a favorable impact from the extra operating week of approximately $2.0 million.

  6. Two new restaurants opened during the fourth quarter of 2018.Highlights for the 52-week fiscal year ended December 30, 2018, compared to the 53-week fiscal year ended December 31, 2017 were as follows:

  7. Revenue increased 7.7% to $398.2 million from $369.6 million in the 2017 fiscal year. The extra operating week in fiscal 2017 accounted for approximately $7.3 million in revenue in that year.

  8. On a calendar basis, comparable restaurant sales increased 0.5%.

  9. Net income was $5.5 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, compared to $29.0 million, or $1.70 per diluted share, during the fiscal year 2017. Net income in fiscal year 2018 included a $12.3 million ($9.4 million net of tax) non-cash loss related to an impairment of assets at six restaurants. Net income in fiscal year 2017 included a favorable adjustment of $11.7 million due to the revaluation of our net deferred tax liability as a result of the Tax Act as well as a gain on insurance settlements of $1.4 million ($1.0 million net of tax).

  10. Adjusted net income(1) was $15.0 million, or $0.88 per diluted share, compared to $16.3 million, or $0.96 per diluted share, during the fiscal year 2017. The Company estimates that the extra operating week in fiscal year 2017 contributed $0.07 per diluted share to adjusted net income in that year, which was partially offset by $0.04 per diluted share as a result of the temporary closure of one restaurant due to the damage from Hurricane Harvey.

  11. Restaurant-level operating profit(1) was $60.5 million compared to $64.6 million during fiscal year 2017. The Company estimates that fiscal year 2017 had a favorable impact from the extra operating week of approximately $2.0 million.

  12. A total of nine new restaurants opened during 2018.

View full version at Chuy's


Paulson & Co. Inc. and TriArtisan Capital Advisors LLC Announce Acquisition of P.F. Chang's China Bistro



Mar 01, 2019, 14:17 ET


NEW YORK and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 1, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Paulson & Co. Inc. ("Paulson"), TriArtisan Capital Advisors LLC ("TriArtisan") and Centerbridge Partners, L.P. ("Centerbridge") today announced that they have closed a transaction in which Paulson and TriArtisan acquired P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc. ("P.F. Chang's" or the "Company") from Centerbridge. Jim Bell, CEO of P.F. Chang's, said, "We want to thank Centerbridge Partners for their strong support of P.F. Chang's. We are fortunate to have a partnership with Paulson and TriArtisan which will allow us to implement a collaborative growth strategy. Paulson and TriArtisan bring financial strength and expertise that will allow us to grow our dine-in and off-premises channels both domestically and internationally." The first P.F. Chang's restaurant opened in 1993 in Scottsdale, AZ, where the Company is still headquartered, and has expanded to become a globally recognized brand known for authentic made-from-scratch Asian cuisine with focus on high-quality, fresh ingredients, and wok-trained chefs. Today the Company has more than 200 company-owned restaurants in operation and over 90 franchised locations globally across 24 countries. John Paulson, Founder and President of Paulson, said, "P.F. Chang's is a highly differentiated, iconic global brand with excellent financial performance and strong growth prospects. We are very excited to partner with P.F. Chang's' outstanding management team to drive the business forward." Rohit Manocha, a TriArtisan Founding Partner, said, "We intend to provide the management team with the resources to rapidly scale the business of providing high quality, contemporary Asian cuisine at a compelling value to our customers worldwide in both the off-premises and dine-in channels." Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed. BofA Merrill Lynch acted as lead financial advisor to the Company. Barclays also acted as financial advisor to the Company.  Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP served as legal counsel to the Company. Credit Suisse served as Paulson and TriArtisan's financial advisor for this transaction and Ropes & Gray LLP and Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C. served as legal counsel. About P.F. Chang's Founded in 1993, P.F. Chang's is the first multi-unit restaurant concept in the U.S. to honor and celebrate the 2,000-year-old tradition of wok cooking as the center of the guest experience. Since inception, P.F. Chang's chefs have been hand-rolling dim sum, hand chopping and slicing all vegetables and meats, scratch cooking every sauce and wok-cooking each dish, every day in every restaurant. P.F. Chang's Farm to Wok™ menu highlights its wholesome, scratch-cooking approach and introduces new dishes and drinks for lunch, happy hour and dinner. Today, P.F. Chang's has more than 300 restaurants in 24 countries and territories. For more on P.F. Chang's, visit www.pfchangs.com. About Paulson & Co. Inc. ("Paulson") Paulson & Co. Inc. is an investment management firm established by founder and President John Paulson in 1994 with offices in New York, London and Hong Kong. About TriArtisan Capital Advisors LLC ("TriArtisan") TriArtisan Capital Advisors is an established, New York-based private equity investing firm. TriArtisan's flexible institutional capital allows it to invest in companies requiring a broad range of investment needs including leveraged buyouts, growth equity investments, spin-offs, carve-outs, roll-ups, recapitalizations and restructurings. In each of its investments, TriArtisan partners with high quality management teams to support them in achieving returns for its institutional and management partners. For more information, please visit the firm's website at www.triartisan.com. About Centerbridge Partners, L.P. ("Centerbridge") Centerbridge Partners, L.P. is a private investment management firm employing a flexible approach across investment disciplines—from private equity to credit and related strategies, and real estate—in an effort to find the most attractive opportunities for our investors and business partners. The Firm was founded in 2005 and as of September 2018 has approximately $27 billion in capital under management with offices in New York and London.  Centerbridge is dedicated to partnering with world-class management teams across targeted industry sectors and geographies to help companies achieve their operating and financial objectives. For more information, please visit www.centerbridge.com.

View source version at P.F. Chang's



Diversified Restaurant Holdings Reports Positive Preliminary Same Store Sales for Fourth Quarter 2018

March, 1 2019

2.2% same-store sales growth in fourth quarter breaks 11-quarter negative trend; Positive momentum has continued into 2019

Diversified Restaurant Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SAUC), one of the largest franchisees for Buffalo Wild Wings with 64 stores across five states, announced preliminary unaudited sales results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 30, 2018. DRH also announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire nine BWW restaurants located in the Chicago market for $22.5 million. David G. Burke, President and CEO, stated, “We achieved our first positive quarterly same-store sales result in three years and are encouraged with the early read into 2019, as our quarter-to-date same-store sales have continued to trend positively, despite severe weather across many of our regions. Excluding those weather-related days, same-store sales growth has been over 3% and traffic is the leading driver. We believe this is a testament to the creative, measured approach being taken by the new franchisor to reenergize and rebuild the Buffalo Wild Wings brand, coupled with our focus on guest experience, loyalty attachment and development of the delivery channel. We believe there is a significant opportunity to build on this momentum throughout the year as we execute on forthcoming brand-enhancing initiatives with the support of a new, comprehensive marketing and promotion strategy, starting in mid-March.” He continued, “Given our excitement with the changes being made at BWW, we believe that prudent, timely expansion will deliver shareholder value. This transaction is particularly attractive to us because the restaurants are located within our existing Midwest footprint, centered in the Chicago market area where we currently have nine other locations. With this additional scale, we expect to further leverage our infrastructure, systems, marketing spend and leading operational expertise to drive improved results in these locations.” These restaurants generated approximately $32.7 million in revenue and approximately $4.5 million of EBITDA in 2018. DRH expects to complete the purchase in the second quarter, subject to franchisor consent and waiving of its right of first refusal, as well as customary closing conditions. Mr. Burke concluded, “We are evaluating various alternatives to financing this transaction, which presents a tremendous recapitalization opportunity for DRH aimed at adding longer-term stability and driving future value creation.” Preliminary 2018 Sales Results Total revenue for the 2018 fourth quarter (a 13-week period) was $39.1 million compared with $41.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 (a 14-week period). Fourth quarter, 13-week comparable sales were up 2.2%, the first positive quarter since 2015. For the full year 2018 (a 52-week period), the Company estimates total revenue was $153.1 million compared with $165.5 million in 2017 (a 53-week period).

iew source version at Diversified Restaurant Holdings



Papa John’s Announces Fourth Quarter 2018 Results and Provides 2019 Outlook

February, 27 2019

Papa John’s International, Inc. (NASDAQ: PZZA) today announced financial results for the three months and full year ended December 30, 2018. Highlights

  1. Loss per diluted share of ($0.44) and adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.15 in the fourth quarter of 2018, excluding the impact of Special items; adjusted earnings per diluted share down 72.2% from the fourth quarter 2017 of $0.54

  2. Earnings per diluted share of $0.05 and adjusted earnings per diluted share of $1.34 for full year 2018, excluding Special items; adjusted earnings per diluted share down 46.6% from full year 2017 of $2.51

  3. System-wide North America comparable sales decreases of 8.1% for the fourth quarter and 7.3% for the full year

  4. International comparable sales decreases of 2.6% for the fourth quarter and 1.6% for the full year; total international sales increase of 11.0% for the fourth quarter and 13.3% for the full year, driven by unit growth

  5. 56 net unit openings in the fourth quarter and 104 for the full year, driven by International

  6. Cash flow from operations of $72.8 million; free cash flow of $30.8 million for 2018 Steve Ritchie, President and CEO of Papa John’s, said, “I am confident in the long-term success of Papa John’s. With the additional $200 million of financial resources from Starboard, we will make targeted investments in the highest return initiatives that showcase our quality and improve the customer experience. We remain focused on people and pizza and continue to be enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead.” Jeff Smith, Chairman of the Papa John’s Board of Directors, added, “Over the past few weeks, I have met with many of our team members and franchisees and am excited by their ideas, passion and dedication to Papa John’s. I look forward to working closely with Steve and the management team to develop additional product, menu, and customer engagement strategies that fortify our position as the ‘BETTER INGREDIENTS. BETTER PIZZA.’ company.”

View full version at Papa John's


Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018

February, 27 2019

Restaurant sales increased 8.4% to $307.8 million from $284.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 - Comparable restaurant sales increased 2.7% compared to an 8.9% increase in the prior year quarter

Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq:TAST) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 30, 2018. Highlights for the Fourth Quarter of 2018 versus the Fourth Quarter of 2017 Include:

  1. Restaurant sales increased 8.4% to $307.8 million from $284.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017;

  2. Comparable restaurant sales increased 2.7% compared to an 8.9% increase in the prior year quarter;

  3. Adjusted EBITDA(1) was $24.3 million compared to $25.8 million in the prior year quarter;

  4. Net income was $1.8 million, or $0.04 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.9 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, in the prior year quarter; and

  5. Adjusted net income(1) was $2.4 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $3.8 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, in the prior year quarter.Highlights for Full Year of 2018 versus Full Year of 2017 Include:

  6. Restaurant sales increased 8.3% to $1.18 billion from $1.09 billion in 2017;

  7. Comparable restaurant sales increased 3.8% compared to a 5.2% increase in 2017;

  8. Adjusted EBITDA(1) increased 12.0% to $102.3 million from $91.4 million in 2017;

  9. Net income was $10.1 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, compared to net income of $7.2 million, or $0.16 per diluted share, in 2017; and

  10. Adjusted net income(1) was $13.6 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $9.0 million, or $0.20 per diluted share, in 2017. Daniel T. Accordino, the Company's Chief Executive Officer said, “In 2018, we generated growth of 8.3% in restaurant sales and 12.0% in Adjusted EBITDA compared to 2017, achieving the high-end of our top-line and comparable restaurant sales guidance and the midpoint of our profitability expectation for the year. We were pleased with our comparable restaurant sales performance during the fourth quarter as we outpaced the U.S. Burger King system by almost 200 basis points while lapping a formidable 8.9% comparable restaurant sales comparison from the prior year period.” Accordino continued, “We improved Adjusted EBITDA margin modestly in 2018, however, the impact from the heightened promotional environment was evident in our fourth quarter results. The variety of promotional deals included the $1 Chicken Nuggets offer, the $3.49 King Deal, a 2 for $6 Mix & Match, the $6 King Box and the 2 for $10 Meal Deal, balanced somewhat with the Cheesy Bacon Crispy Chicken and Philly Cheese King offers. Despite driving higher sales, Adjusted EBITDA margin decreased from the prior year quarter reflecting the impact of these deals combined with ongoing pressure on our labor costs.” On February 20, 2019 Carrols announced that it had entered into a definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger to acquire 166 Burger King® and 55 Popeyes® restaurants from Cambridge Franchise Holdings, LLC (“Cambridge”) in 10 Southeastern and Southern states. In conjunction with the merger, Carrols has also entered into a new Area Development and Remodeling Agreement with Burger King Corporation (“BKC”) (which will be subject to and effective upon the closing of the transaction with Cambridge) that expands the assignment of BKC’s Right Of First Refusal (“ROFR”) for the acquisition of up to 500 additional Burger King restaurants (excluding the Cambridge restaurants) and also realigns the Company’s ROFR territory to include most of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Additional details on this transaction can be found in the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accordino concluded, “Looking ahead, 2019 should be an exciting year at Carrols as we close on the merger with Cambridge that we announced last week. The transaction further strengthens our position in the Burger King system while providing us the opportunity to continue executing our acquisition and expansion strategy. Cambridge also brings a strong, growing second brand in Popeyes to Carrols’ portfolio, providing us with another avenue for growth through new restaurant development and acquisitions.” Fourth Quarter 2018 Financial Results Restaurant sales increased 8.4% to $307.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $284.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Comparable restaurant sales increased 2.7%, including an average customer traffic increase of 3.3% that was partially offset by a decrease in average check of 0.6% including 1.7% of increased pricing. Restaurant-level EBITDA(1) was $39.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, slightly lower than the $40.4 million in the prior year period. Restaurant-Level EBITDA margin was 12.8% of restaurant sales and decreased 141 basis points from the fourth quarter of 2017 reflecting deleveraging on cost of sales from the higher promotional levels, and the impact of higher restaurant wage costs. General and administrative expenses were $16.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $15.7 million in the prior year period. As a percentage of restaurant sales, general and administrative expenses held at 5.5% compared to the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA(1) decreased 5.9% to $24.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $25.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Adjusted EBITDA margin decreased 120 basis points to 7.9% of restaurant sales. Income from operations decreased to $7.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $9.9 million in the prior year period. Interest expense held at $5.9 million in the fourth quarters of 2018 and 2017. Cash balances totaled $4.0 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018. Net income was $1.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, or $0.04 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.9 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, in the prior year period. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 included $0.3 million of impairment and other lease charges as well as a $0.4 million acquisition expenses. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 included $0.8 million of impairment and other lease charges and $0.1 million of acquisition expenses. It also included a $0.8 million tax benefit from remeasuring net deferred taxes due the lowering of the Federal income tax rate to 21% under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law in 2017. Adjusted net income(1) in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $2.4 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $3.8 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017. Full Year 2019 Outlook The Company is providing the following guidance for 2019 which does not include the impact from the merger with Cambridge or any other potential acquisition that the Company may complete in 2019. The Company will update guidance after completion of the merger with Cambridge which is currently expected to close in late April 2019:

  11. Total restaurant sales are expected to be $1.25 billion to $1.28 billion including comparable restaurant sales growth of 2.0% to 3.5%;

  12. Commodity costs are expected to increase approximately 1% to 2% including a 2% to 3% increase in beef costs;

  13. General and administrative expenses are expected to be $62 million to $64 million, excluding stock compensation expense and acquisition-related costs;

  14. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be $100 million to $110 million;

  15. Capital expenditures are expected to be $75 million to $95 million, including $25 million to $35 million for construction of 15 to 20 new units;

  16. Proceeds from sale/leasebacks are expected to be approximately $10 million to $15 million; and

  17. The Company expects to close 10 to 15 restaurants. The Company has not reconciled guidance for Adjusted EBITDA to the corresponding GAAP financial measure because it does not provide guidance for net income or for the various reconciling items. The Company is unable to provide guidance for these reconciling items since certain items that impact net income are outside of the Company’s control or cannot be reasonably predicted. About the Company Carrols is the largest BURGER KING® franchisee in the United States with 849 restaurants as of December 30, 2018 and has operated BURGER KING® restaurants since 1976.

View full version at Carrols


Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Reports Results for the Fiscal Q4 and Year Ended December 30, 2018

February, 27 2019

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 and year ended December 30, 2018. Financial Highlights for the 12 Weeks Ended December 30, 2018 Compared to the 13 Weeks Ended December 31, 2017

  1. GAAP loss per diluted share was $0.82 compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.68;

  2. Adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.43 compared to $0.78 (see Schedule I);

  3. Total revenues were $306.8 million, a decrease of 10.8%, including the negative impact of $24.3 million from having one fewer week in 2018 compared to 2017;

  4. Off-premise sales increased 23.2%, now comprising 10.6% of total food and beverage sales, including catering;

  5. Comparable restaurant revenue decreased 4.5% (using constant currency rates); and

  6. Comparable restaurant guest counts decreased 4.4%. “2018 was a very challenging sales year and the fourth quarter continued that trend, buoyed somewhat by better than expected growth in our new catering business, but dragged down by weakness at in-line mall locations. That said, we made measurable progress on the operations fundamentals we identified last August as critical to gradually regaining our momentum in 2019. We were more prepared to capture the seasonally higher traffic with improved staffing, scheduling and execution leading to shorter wait times, fewer Guests walking away, and improved kitchen time to table by the end of the quarter,” said Denny Marie Post, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. president and CEO. “Continued focus on these and other fundamentals is essential to delivering sustainable performance to return to positive sales and traffic. We are focused on strengthening operations, upgrading our marketing with new tactics to stabilize our dine-in business and making the critical investments in technology and resources that will yield benefits by mid-year and help us achieve Red Robin’s long-term goal of being both a destination and a source for Gourmet Burgers.” Operating Results Total revenues, which primarily include Company-owned restaurant revenue and franchise royalties, decreased 10.8% to $306.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $343.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Restaurant revenue decreased $37.3 million due to a $24.3 million decrease from the additional week in 2017, a $13.8 million, or 4.5%, decrease in comparable restaurant revenue, a $1.6 million decrease from closed restaurants, and a $0.4 million unfavorable foreign currency exchange impact, offset by a $2.8 million increase in revenue from new restaurant openings. System-wide restaurant revenue (which includes franchised units) for the fourth quarter of 2018 totaled $363.1 million, compared to $404.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. Comparable restaurant revenue(1) decreased 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the same period a year ago, driven by a 4.4% decrease in guest counts and a 0.1% decrease in average guest check. The decrease in average guest check comprised a 0.2% decrease in menu mix, offset by a 0.1% increase in pricing. The Company’s comparable revenue growth is calculated by comparing the same calendar weeks which, for the fourth quarter of 2017, excludes the first week of the fourth quarter and includes the additional week of the fourth quarter. Net loss was $10.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to net income of $8.8 million for the same period a year ago. Adjusted net income was $5.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to $10.2 million for the same period a year ago (see Schedule I). Restaurant-level operating profit margin (a non-GAAP financial measure) was 19.4% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 20.5% in the same period a year ago. Cost of sales as a percentage of restaurant revenue decreased 10 basis points due to the decrease in ground beef costs, partially offset by increases in steak fries cost and usage and increased dairy costs. Restaurant labor costs as a percentage of restaurant revenue increased 60 basis points due to higher average wage rates and sales deleverage, partially offset by improvements in labor productivity. Other restaurant operating costs increased 40 basis points primarily due to increases in third-party delivery fees, utility costs, and restaurant supplies, partially offset by lower equipment repairs and maintenance costs. Occupancy costs increased 20 basis points primarily due to sales deleverage. 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 (loss) income from operations and net (loss) income, in each case under GAAP.

View full version at Red Robin


Cracker Barrel Reports Fiscal 2019 Q2 Results

February, 26 2019

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) today reported its financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2019 ended February 1, 2019. Second Quarter Fiscal 2019 Highlights

  1. Compared to the prior year second quarter, comparable restaurant sales increased 3.8% with comparable restaurant traffic increasing 0.1%. Comparable store retail sales declined 1.4%.

  2. Comparable restaurant sales and traffic growth outperformed the casual dining industry.

  3. Earnings per diluted share were $2.52, compared to prior year second quarter GAAP earnings per diluted share of $3.79 (including a $1.06 per share benefit in Q2 2018 resulting from a one-time non-cash revaluation of the Company's deferred tax liability in conjunction with the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017) and adjusted earnings per diluted share of $2.73 (see non-GAAP reconciliation below).

  4. Operating income margin was 9.5% of revenue, compared to prior year operating income margin of 9.7% of revenue. Commenting on the second quarter results, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Sandra B. Cochran said, "I am pleased that we delivered positive comparable store restaurant sales and traffic, which reflected improvements versus previous quarters. Our teams continued to make progress driving performance through an increased focus on our menu, the guest experience, and the continued expansion of our off-premise business." Second Quarter Fiscal 2019 Results Revenue The Company reported total revenue of $811.7 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2019, representing an increase of 3.0% over the second quarter of the prior year. Cracker Barrel comparable store restaurant sales increased 3.8%, representing a 3.7% increase in average check and a 0.1% increase in comparable store restaurant traffic. The average menu price increase for the quarter was approximately 2.2%. Comparable store retail sales decreased 1.4% from the prior year quarter.

View full version at Cracker Barrel



Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. Reports Q4 and Full Year 2018 Results

February, 26 2019

Total revenues increased 3.3% to $167.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $162.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017

Fiesta Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: FRGI), parent company of the Pollo Tropical® and Taco Cabana® restaurant brands, today reported results for the 13-week fourth quarter and 52-week full year 2018, which ended on December 30, 2018. Fiesta President and Chief Executive Officer Richard Stockinger said, "We ended 2018 with a flurry of activity, relaunching Pollo Tropical Catering with dedicated resources, piloting third party delivery in South Florida, rolling out the 'My Pollo' and 'My TC' loyalty programs, and most importantly, completing the components of the Strategic Renewal Plan, including our comprehensive portfolio review, that we began in 2017. Through these actions, we believe that we have achieved higher quality restaurant operations and a healthier and more profitable restaurant portfolio." Mr. Stockinger continued, "Taco Cabana generated its ninth consecutive month of positive comparable restaurant sales growth in December 2018. Importantly, positive NPS trends at both brands, including Pollo Tropical experiencing its peak performance in December 2018 led by our South Florida markets, coupled with continued improvements to Restaurant-level Adjusted EBITDA margins, gives us continuing confidence in the future trajectory of the business." Mr. Stockinger concluded, "In 2019, we expect to deliver sustainable sales growth coupled with higher Restaurant-level Adjusted EBITDA by leveraging the investments made as part of the Plan. We believe we can achieve our objectives through ongoing execution of quality operations, menu innovation, capitalizing on our loyalty programs, generating impactful social media and traditional marketing. In addition, we are excited about partnering with DoorDash for delivery to build off-premise sales." Fourth Quarter 2018 Financial Summary

  1. Total revenues increased 3.3% to $167.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $162.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2017;

  2. Comparable restaurant sales at Pollo Tropical decreased 1.9%;

  3. Comparable restaurant sales at Taco Cabana increased 5.1%;

  4. Net loss decreased to $7.9 million, or $0.30 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2018 from a net loss of $10.8 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017;

  5. Adjusted net income increased to $2.2 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2018 from an adjusted net loss of $0.1 million, or $0.00 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017 (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below);

  6. Adjusted EBITDA for Pollo Tropical increased to $12.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $9.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2017;

  7. Restaurant-level Adjusted EBITDA at Pollo Tropical increased to $19.1 million, or 21.0% of restaurant sales, from $16.0 million, or 17.7% of restaurants sales (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below);

  8. Adjusted EBITDA for Taco Cabana increased to $3.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from $(0.7) million in the fourth quarter of 2017;

  9. Restaurant-level Adjusted EBITDA at Taco Cabana increased to $8.9 million, or 11.8% of restaurant sales, from $4.9 million, or 7.0% of restaurant sales (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below); and

  10. Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA increased to $15.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 from Consolidated Adjusted EBITDA of $8.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2017 (see non-GAAP reconciliation table below).

View full version at Fiesta Restaurant Group


Shake Shack Announces Q4 and Fiscal Year Ended 2018 Financial Results

February, 26 2019

Fourth Quarter Total Revenue Grew 29.3%

Shake Shack Inc.  (NYSE: SHAK), today reported financial results for the fourth quarter and the fiscal year ended December 26, 2018, periods that included 13 and 52 weeks, respectively. Financial Highlights for the Fourth Quarter 2018:

  1. Total revenue increased 29.3% to $124.3 million.

  2. Shack sales increased 29.6% to $120.7 million.

  3. Same-Shack sales increased 2.3%.

  4. Shack system-wide sales increased 27.2% to $178.9 million

  5. Operating income was $2.8 million, or 2.3% of total revenue, which included the impact of costs associated with Project Concrete and other one-time items totaling $0.7 million.

  6. Shack-level operating profit*, a non-GAAP measure, increased 15.6% to $27.2 million, or 22.5% of Shack sales.

  7. 20 net system-wide Shack openings, including 17 domestic company-operated Shacks and three net licensed Shacks.Financial Highlights for the Fiscal Year 2018:

  8. Total revenue increased 28.0% to $459.3 million.

  9. Shack sales increased 28.6% to $445.6 million.

  10. Same-Shack sales increased 1.0%.

  11. Shack system-wide sales increased 26.3% to $671.9 million

  12. Operating income was $31.7 million, or 6.9% of total revenue, which included the impact of costs associated with Project Concrete and other one-time items totaling $3.9 million.

  13. Shack-level operating profit*, a non-GAAP measure, increased 22.3% to $112.9 million, or 25.3% of Shack sales.

  14. Net income was $21.9 million and net income attributable to Shake Shack Inc. was $15.2 million, or $0.52 per diluted share.

  15. Adjusted EBITDA*, a non-GAAP measure, increased 14.2% to $73.9 million.

  16. Adjusted pro forma net income*, a non-GAAP measure, increased 28.0% to $26.9 million, or $0.71 per fully exchanged and diluted share.

  17. 49 net system-wide Shack openings, including 34 domestic company-operated Shacks and 15 net licensed Shacks, representing a net 30.8% increase in system-wide Shack count. Randy Garutti, Chief Executive Officer of Shake Shack, stated, “2018 was another year of exceptional growth and I couldn’t be more proud of the entire Shake Shack team. We opened a record number of Shacks and drove strong revenue and profits while continuing to build the foundation for sustainable long-term growth ahead." Garutti concluded, “Looking ahead, in 2019 we expect another year of record unit growth with 36 to 40 new company-operated Shacks, 16 to 18 net new licensed Shacks with our international growth focused on Asia and our entry into the new markets of mainland China, Singapore, the Philippines and Mexico. We will be focused on core strategic commitments of investing in our people, creating an exceptional guest experience, cultivating a connected community and innovating our company for the growth ahead.” Development Highlights During the quarter, the Company opened 17 domestic company-operated Shacks, which included the Company's first Shacks in Seattle at South Lake Union and Palo Alto at the Stanford Shopping Center, as well as deepening its roots in existing markets across the country. Additionally, the Company opened two international licensed Shacks during the quarter, including the Company's second Shack in Hong Kong, and a domestic licensed Shack at LaGuardia Airport, marking the Company's 200th Shack.

View full version at Shake Shack


East Coast Wings + Grill Releases 2018 Economic Report

February 25, 2019

Strong Unit-Level Economics Fuels 2019 Growth Plans for Franchise Winston-Salem, NC  (RestaurantNews.com)  East Coast Wings + Grill (ECW+G) experienced high-performing returns across several unit-level categories over the last calendar year, according to the casual-dining franchise’s 2018 economic report released today. The findings strengthen the brand’s strategic, data-driven approach and will serve as fuel for its growth plans in 2019. Additionally, as brands across casual dining face growth challenges like higher labor costs and developing organic leads, ECW+G is confident its continued focus on nurturing healthy and sustainable unit-level economics (ULE) will allow the brand to maneuver through these industry impediments. Here are some prominent year-over-year figures ECW+G reported in 2018—

  1. Owner operated unit-level average EBITDA increased 248 basis points to 17.32 percent

  2. Same-store sales rose 2.1 percent

  3. Foot traffic increased five percent

  4. Five new restaurants opened in 2018

  5. The 2017 initiative of reengineering the ECW+G model—dubbed ‘ECW 2.0’—to address maximum unit-level output in dining experience, development expense and ULE continues to be validated:

  6. The brand’s new ‘2.0’ model achieved a reduction of approximately 30 percent in development cost and 27 percent in square footage while sustaining unit-level sales of the once larger footprint

  7. Existing locations converted to the ‘2.0’ model posted an average increase of 12.5 percent in gross sales Seven weeks into 2019, ECW+G is off to a promising start. The big game sales on February 3 were up 19 percent over 2018, while same-store sales in January climbed seven percent year-over-year. Ballas is even investigating some opportunities for acquisitions, among brands with equal or smaller units to ECW+G, to accelerate non-organic growth moving forward. “Our 2018 report reinforces the heavy emphasis ECW+G puts on unit-level economics, which is a brand absolute. Moving forward, we’re uniquely positioned because we continue to adhere to our data-driven philosophy,” said ECW+G President and CEO Sam Ballas. “We’re already on par with new-unit growth, and we anticipate a 15 percent system increase this year.” Ballas continued, “Early in 2018, we recognized the changes of the casual-dining model and labor models. Thus, taking the necessary steps, including cutting back our larger development goals to assure the disciplines of ULE, we drive sustainability. We have a great team and network of franchisees behind our brand, and achieving our goals is possible through smart, sustainable growth practices and brand discipline with our unit-level DNA.” About East Coast Wings + Grill North Carolina based East Coast Wings + Grill is a fast-growing, casual, family-dining franchise that puts the spotlight on buffalo wings. The carefully selected menu has a variety of options to satisfy every family member’s taste buds. With more than 60 locations nationwide currently operating or in various stages of development, the burgeoning franchise recently secured itself a top spot on Restaurant Business Magazine’s “Future 50” list of fastest-growing U.S. mid-size restaurant chains for the second consecutive year. Entrepreneur magazine also named East Coast Wings + Grill one of the nation’s top franchise investments and Franchise Times magazine ranked the company No. 383 on its “Top 200+” list of top revenue-producing U.S. franchises. The concept has also been recognized by The Franchise Grade and Franchise Business Review for transparency during the franchise sales process, franchisee support and overall franchisee satisfaction. For more information about East Coast Wings + Grill or its franchise opportunities, visit www.eastcoastwings.com or www.eastcoastwingsfranchise.com.

View source version at East Coast Wings


Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. Reports Q4 and Full Year 2018 Financial Results


– Fourth Quarter GAAP EPS of $0.49 –

– Full Year GAAP EPS of $1.38 –

– Company Announces 18% Increase in Quarterly Dividend to $0.13 per Share –


February 22, 2019 07:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

WINTER PARK, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc. (the “Company”) (NASDAQ:RUTH) today reported unaudited financial results for its 13-week fourth quarter and 52-week full year ended December 30, 2018. Highlights for the 13-week fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the 14-week fourth quarter of 2017 were as follows:

  1. Restaurant sales in the 13-week fourth quarter of 2018 increased 2.3% to $120.0 million compared to $117.4 million in the 14-week fourth quarter of 2017. Average unit weekly sales were $117.8 thousand in the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 0.4% compared to $117.4 thousand in the fourth quarter of 2017.

  2. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $14.9 million, or $0.49 per diluted share, compared to net income of $9.6 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2017.

  3. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2018 included $0.3 million in acquisition-related expenses associated with the acquisition of the six restaurants from our Hawaiian franchisee. Net income in the fourth quarter of 2017 included a $3.9 million non-cash charge related to the impairment of assets at one restaurant location, $0.6 million in acquisition-related expenses associated with the acquisition of our Hawaiian franchisee, and a discrete income tax charge of $1.2 million primarily related to the reduction of deferred tax assets from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

  4. Excluding these adjustments, non-GAAP diluted earnings per common share were $0.50 in the 13-week fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $0.44 in the 14-week fourth quarter of 2017. The Company believes that non-GAAP diluted earnings per common share provides a useful alternative measure of financial performance to improve comparability of diluted earnings per common share between periods. Investors are advised to see the attached Reconciliation of non-GAAP Financial Measure table for additional information.

  5. During the fourth quarter of 2018, the Company returned $28.9 million through its dividend program, debt repayment and the repurchase of 464 thousand shares of common stock for $12.6 million.

  6. One Company-owned Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurant, one new franchised restaurant and one restaurant operating under a contractual agreement opened in the fourth quarter. Cheryl Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ruth's Hospitality Group, Inc., stated, “I’m proud of all that our team accomplished in both the fourth quarter and the full year. For the full year, we grew revenue by 9%, expanded restaurant level margins to the highest levels in over 10 years, successfully integrated our six Hawaiian franchise locations, and opened 3 new Company-operated and 2 new franchise restaurants.” Henry added, “In addition, 2018 marked the 9th consecutive year of comparable restaurant sales and earnings growth. This success has been driven by our intense focus on operational excellence, and I’d like to thank all of our team members and franchisees for their incredible work each and every day.”

View full report at Ruth's Hospitality


Domino's Pizza® Announces Q4 and Fiscal 2018 Financial Results

Global retail sales growth of 6.5% for the fourth quarter; 10.6% for fiscal 2018

U.S. same store sales growth of 5.6% for the fourth quarter; 6.6% for fiscal 2018

International same store sales growth of 2.4% for the fourth quarter; 3.5% for fiscal 2018

Global net store growth of 560 for the fourth quarter; 1,058 for fiscal 2018

Diluted EPS up 25.4% to $2.62 for the fourth quarter; up 43.2% to $8.35 for fiscal 2018



Feb 21, 2019, 07:30 ET


ANN ARBOR, Mich., Feb. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Domino's Pizza, Inc. (NYSE: DPZ), the largest pizza company in the world based on global retail sales, announced results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2018, comprised of strong growth in global retail sales and earnings per share. Global retail sales increased 6.5% in the fourth quarter, or 9.5% without the negative impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates. U.S. same store sales grew 5.6% during the quarter versus the year-ago period, and 6.6% for the full year, continuing the positive sales momentum in the Company's U.S. business. The international division also posted positive results, with same store sales growth of 2.4% during the quarter and 3.5% for the full year. The fourth quarter marked the 100th consecutive quarter of international same store sales growth and the 31st consecutive quarter of U.S. same store sales growth. The Company had fourth quarter global net store growth of 560 stores, comprised of 125 net new U.S. stores and 435 net new international stores. In fiscal 2018, the Company opened 1,058 net new stores, comprised of 258 net new U.S. stores and 800 net new international stores, which included surpassing the 10,000th store mark in our international business. Fourth quarter diluted EPS was $2.62, up 25.4% over the prior year quarter; fiscal 2018 diluted EPS was $8.35, up 43.2% over the prior year. Fiscal 2018 diluted EPS, as adjusted, was $8.42, up 42.5% over the prior year diluted EPS, as adjusted, of $5.91. (See the Financial Results Comparability section on page four and the Comments on Regulation G section on pages five and six.) On February 20, 2019, the Board of Directors declared a $0.65 per share quarterly dividend for shareholders of record as of March 15, 2019 to be paid on March 29, 2019. This represents an increase of 18% over the previous quarterly dividend amount. "I am pleased with our fourth quarter, which capped a very strong 2018 for Domino's," said Ritch Allison, Domino's Chief Executive Officer. "Our long-game approach, driven by fundamentals and the finest franchisee base in QSR across the globe, continues to pace the industry – and we are excited to execute our global strategy in 2019 and beyond."

View full report at Domino's Pizza


Chicken Salad Chick Achieves 12th Consecutive Quarter Of Positive Growth In 2018

Leading fast casual concept opens 26 new restaurants and accelerates expansion across the U.S.



Feb 21, 2019, 10:19 ET


AUBURN, Ala., Feb. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Chicken Salad Chick, the nation's only southern inspired, fast casual chicken salad restaurant concept, is reporting significant growth in 2018, opening 26 new restaurants and signing 21 franchise agreements to expand its footprint throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Texas. Additionally, Chicken Salad Chick achieved its 12th consecutive quarter of positive growth, and reported more than $110 million in systemwide revenue and a 10 percent increase in average unit volume (AUV) year over year. "2018 was year of milestones for Chicken Salad Chick. We celebrated our 10-year anniversary, debuted in three new states and opened our 100th restaurant," said Scott Deviney, CEO of Chicken Salad Chick. "The efforts of our talented support team, dedicated franchisees and passionate store employees over the last several years have contributed to Chicken Salad Chick's rapid growth and ongoing success, none of which would be possible without our loyal fans. We're excited to build upon this momentum in 2019 as we grow the brand in new and existing markets and serve more communities and guests across the country." Chicken Salad Chick's ongoing success over the past decade has propelled its national expansion and positioned the brand for explosive growth in 2019. The company will continue to focus on developing franchise and company locations in and outside the Southeast this year, with plans to open 45 new restaurants throughout the Southeast, Midwest and Texas, including its first locations in Ohio and Illinois. In the last three years, Chicken Salad Chick has more than tripled in size, with a 238 percent increase in units open and operating and AUV growth of more than 30 percent. Chicken Salad Chick is actively seeking individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit who possess high energy and enthusiasm about the brand, marketing skills and the ability to manage a strong team. Restaurant experience is preferred. Interested candidates should have a minimum net worth of $600,000 and liquid assets of at least $150,000. Franchisees can expect the initial investment to be approximately $439,500 – $604,500 with a $50,000 initial franchise fee. The Chicken Salad Chick concept was established in 2008 by founder, Stacy Brown. With more than a dozen original chicken salad flavors as well as fresh side salads, gourmet soups, signature sandwiches and delicious desserts, Chicken Salad Chick's robust menu offers a variety of options suitable for any guest. In 2015, Eagle Merchant Partners purchased a majority stake in Chicken Salad Chick, and under the leadership of CEO Scott Deviney and team, the company now has more than 108 restaurants currently open in 13 states and remains a standout brand within the fast casual segment. About Chicken Salad Chick Founded in Auburn, Alabama, in 2008, Chicken Salad Chick serves full-flavored, Southern-style chicken salad made from scratch and served from the heart. With more than a dozen original chicken salad flavors as well as fresh side salads, gourmet soups, signature sandwiches and delicious desserts, Chicken Salad Chick's robust menu is a perfect fit for any guest. Today, the brand has 108 restaurants in 13 states and is continuing its rapid expansion with both franchise and company locations. Chicken Salad Chick has received numerous accolades including rankings in Franchise Times' Fast & Serious in 2019, Fast Casual.com's top Movers and Shakers, Nation's Restaurant News' Next 20 in 2017 and Inc.'slist of the 500 fastest-growing companies in the U.S. in 2016. See www.chickensaladchick.com for additional information.

View source version at Chicken Salad Chick


CEC Entertainment, Inc. Reports Financial Results for the 2018 Q4


Feb 21, 2019, 19:08 ET


IRVING, Texas, Feb. 21, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- CEC Entertainment, Inc. (the "Company") today announced financial results for its fourth quarter ended December 30, 2018. Fourth quarter Results (1) Comparable venue sales increased 3.3% in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, and total revenues increased $6.2 million or 3.1% to $202.9 million in the fourth quarter. The increase in comparable venue sales was offset by a $0.7 million decrease in revenue due to temporary store closures. The Company reported a net loss of $14.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to net income of $52.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2017. Fourth quarter 2017 net income was positively impacted by a $66.6 million adjustment to our deferred income tax liability related to the tax law changes enacted in December 2017. Before the impact of this adjustment, our fourth quarter 2017 net loss was $13.7 million, compared to our net loss of $14.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2018.  The net loss for the current quarter was positively impacted by the increase in Company-operated venue sales and lower food and beverage costs driven by the favorable impact of commodity prices and volume. These favorable impacts were partially offset by higher labor expenses from wage inflation, and increased entertainment and merchandise costs related to the All You Can Play and More Tickets initiatives we launched nationally in the third quarter of 2018. Additionally, the net loss was impacted by a $2.0 million increase in interest expense driven by the impact of the increase in LIBOR rates on our variable rate debt. "In the fourth quarter, we continued to make great progress in advancing our brand and enhancing the experience we deliver to our guests, leading to our third consecutive quarter of comparable store growth," said Tom Leverton, Chief Executive Officer. "We are excited by the positive impact of the new All You Can Play game packages and More Tickets initiatives we launched nationally in the third quarter, and we are optimistic about our venue remodel program and additional planned initiatives and tests to drive even more improvements to the business and improve profitability." Adjusted EBITDA(1) for the fourth quarter of 2018 was $30.9 million, an increase of $4.1 million from the fourth quarter of 2017.

View full report at CEC Entertainment


Jack in the Box Inc. Reports Q1 FY 2019 Earnings

February, 21 2019

Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) yesterday reported financial results for the first quarter ended January 20, 2019. The company completed the sale of Qdoba Restaurant Corporation ("Qdoba") on March 21, 2018. Qdoba results are included in discontinued operations for all periods presented. Earnings from continuing operations were $31.1 million, or $1.19 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with $12.9 million, or $0.43 per diluted share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2018. Operating Earnings Per Share(1), a non-GAAP measure, were $1.35 in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with $1.23 in the prior year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA(2), a non-GAAP measure, was $83.0 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 compared with $85.4 million for the prior year quarter. Lenny Comma, chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Same-store sales improved throughout the first quarter after we pivoted to a more value-oriented approach. While our strategy around value continues to avoid deep discounting which we believe is not in the best interests of the long-term health of the brand, adding value with a bundled offer at an attractive price point allowed us to compete more effectively in this value-centric environment. "Our long-term goals are centered around meeting evolving consumer needs, with emphasis on improving operations consistency and targeted investments designed to maximize our returns. We remain focused on balancing the interests of all our stakeholders, including our franchisees, customers, employees and shareholders." The company’s Board of Directors and management team, with the support of legal and financial advisors, continue to explore a range of strategic and financing alternatives to maximize shareholder value. Potential alternatives could include, among other things, a sale of the company or executing on the company’s previously announced plans to increase its leverage. The company’s Board has not set a timetable for the conclusion of this process nor has it made any decision related to any strategic or financing alternative at this time. The company has had discussions with potential buyers; however, there can be no assurance that the exploration of strategic and financing alternatives will result in a transaction. That said, in the absence of a strategic transaction, the company remains committed to implementing a new capital structure as soon as practicable. That capital structure could include, among other things, a securitization or bond issuance. The company does not intend to comment further regarding the review unless or until it determines that further disclosure is appropriate or required by law.

See full report at Jack in the Box


The Cheesecake Factory Reports Results for Q4 of Fiscal 2018

February, 21 2019

The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ: CAKE) today reported financial results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, which ended on January 1, 2019. Total revenues were $585.2 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to $571.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. Net income and diluted net income per share were $16.2 million and $0.35, respectively, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. The Company recorded a pre-tax charge of $15.0 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, including $13.9 million in non-cash impairment primarily related to one restaurant in each of the Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe and RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen brands. Excluding the after-tax impact from this item, net income and diluted net income per share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 would have been $27.3 million and $0.60, respectively. Please see the Company’s reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures at the end of this release. Comparable restaurant sales at The Cheesecake Factory restaurants increased 1.9% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018. “Our key financial metrics, including Cheesecake Factory comparable restaurant sales, adjusted operating margin and adjusted earnings per share, met or exceeded our expectations during the fourth quarter,” said David Overton, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Solid operational execution, illustrated by year-over-year increases in labor productivity and food efficiencies, contributed to these results.” Overton continued, “We are also honored to be recognized as one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For®’ by FORTUNE magazine for the sixth consecutive year. Our people are our greatest resource and enable us to deliver delicious, memorable experiences for our guests every day. This accolade is a testament to our strong culture, industry-leading training and tangible career advancement we provide for our staff members and managers. We believe these attributes will continue to differentiate us as an employer of choice, a position that is even more critical today to support continued success in the restaurant industry.” Overton concluded, “During fiscal 2018, we generated over $290 million in operating cash flow, which coupled with our strong balance sheet, enables us to make investments to support the Company’s growth trajectory, while continuing to return meaningful capital to our shareholders via our dividend and share repurchase program.” Development The Company opened three Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the fourth quarter, meeting its objective to open five restaurants in fiscal 2018. Two restaurants opened internationally under licensing agreements during fiscal 2018. Capital Allocation The Company’s Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.33 per share of the Company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on March 19, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 4, 2019. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, the Company repurchased approximately 1.0 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $48.4 million. In fiscal 2018, the Company repurchased approximately 2.3 million shares of its common stock at a cost of $109.3 million. About The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated created the upscale, casual-dining segment in 1978 with the introduction of its namesake concept. The Company, through its subsidiaries, owns and operates 217 full-service, casual-dining restaurants throughout the United States, including Puerto Rico, and Canada, comprised of 201 restaurants under The Cheesecake Factory® mark; 14 restaurants under the Grand Lux Cafe® mark; and two restaurants under the RockSugar Southeast Asian Kitchen® mark. Internationally, 21 The Cheesecake Factory® restaurants operate under licensing agreements. The Company’s bakery division operates two bakery production facilities, in Calabasas Hills, CA and Rocky Mount, NC, that produce quality cheesecakes and other baked products for its restaurants, international licensees and third-party bakery customers.

See full report at Cheesecake Factory



Dine Brands Global, Inc. Reports Strong Q4 and Fiscal 2018 Results

February, 21 2019

Applebee’s Fourth Quarter Same-Restaurant Sales Increase 3.5% - IHOP Fourth Quarter Same-Restaurant Sales Increase 3.0%

Dine Brands Global, Inc. (NYSE: DIN), the parent company of Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar® and IHOP® restaurants, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2018. “Dine Brand’s strong performance in the fourth quarter and throughout 2018 is the result of a clear strategic vision and unwavering commitment to sustainable growth. Both Applebee’s and IHOP have outperformed their respective categories by delivering on comprehensive efforts to drive their businesses and delight guests. The momentum we are seeing is bolstered by meaningful improvements in the in-restaurant experience, ongoing investment in guest-facing technologies, breakthrough marketing and further extending our off-premise platforms for both brands. I am very proud of the Dine teams, our franchisees and their operators and team members for their contributions, hard work and commitment to a multi-pronged strategy and our collective success,” said Steve Joyce, Chief Executive Officer of Dine Brands Global, Inc. Mr. Joyce continued, “As we head into 2019, we are very encouraged by our outlook and growth opportunities. We have the right strategies in place to drive long-term momentum and create additional value for our shareholders.” Key Highlights

  1. Applebee’s comparable same-restaurant sales increased 3.5% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, achieving the fifth consecutive quarter of sales growth.

  2. IHOP’s comparable same-restaurant sales increased 3.0% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, achieving the fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth.

  3. IHOP’s reported system-wide sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 4.5% year-over-year to $863.7 million.

  4. Gross profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 41.9% year-over-year to $98.4 million.

  5. GAAP earnings per diluted share of $1.47 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compares to $3.82 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. The decline was primarily due to a tax benefit of $58.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017, partially offset by a $29.0 million increase in gross profit.

  6. Adjusted earnings per diluted share increased to $1.70 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to $0.48 in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. (See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” below.)

  7. GAAP net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 was $27.0 million.

  8. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 66.7% year-over-year to $65.0 million (See “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” and reconciliation of GAAP net income to consolidated adjusted EBITDA.)

  9. IHOP franchisees and area licensees developed 34 net new domestic restaurants in fiscal 2018, marking at least a decade of consecutive net domestic development.

  10. For the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2018, the Company repurchased 478,839 shares of its common stock for a total cost of approximately $34.9 million and paid quarterly cash dividends totaling approximately $51.1 million.

See full report at Dine Brands


Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery Merge



Feb 20, 2019, 13:49 ET


LOS ANGELES and DENVER, Feb. 20, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Lemonade Restaurant Group ("Lemonade") and Modern Market Eatery today announced they have reached an agreement to merge and form Modern Restaurant Concepts, the nation's leading better-for-you restaurant platform. Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery are portfolio companies of Butterfly, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector. As part of the transaction, global investment firm KKR will contribute its investment in Lemonade to the merger and become a shareholder in Modern Restaurant Concepts alongside Butterfly and the management team. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.


With a combined footprint of 58 restaurants across 10 markets including Denver, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County, Modern Restaurant Concepts has a national presence with significant room for expansion. The Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery brands will each continue to operate and expand both in existing and new markets via corporate growth in addition to franchising and licensing.

Modern Restaurant Concepts will be led by Anthony Pigliacampo and Rob McColgan, Co-Founders and Co-CEOs of Modern Market Eatery, while Larry Kurzweil, most recent CEO of Lemonade, will resume his role as Operating Partner of Butterfly and advisor to the company. Modern Restaurant Concepts today also announced that it has hired seasoned restaurant executive Jim Sullivan, former Chief Development Officer of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent CKE Restaurant Holdings, as Chief Development Officer. Sullivan brings deep experience in corporate and franchised development and will lead the company in accelerating growth including the initiation of broad franchising and licensing efforts for both concepts. "We are thrilled to partner with Lemonade in the continued pursuit of fulfilling our mission of serving delicious, healthy food to as many people as possible," said Pigliacampo, Co-CEO of Modern Restaurant Concepts. "This merger creates a platform with the scale necessary to truly disrupt the restaurant landscape." "Lemonade's merger with Modern Market Eatery is a major inflection point in the development of both brands, and we look forward to joining forces with the Modern Market Eatery team," said Lemonade Co-Founder Ian Olsen. "After working extensively with Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery over the last few years, we are confident that this merger will combine two powerful brands with an incredible team," said Butterfly Co-Founder Adam Waglay. "We're excited to continue to work alongside these two highly-differentiated concepts to expand their footprint throughout the country and internationally," added Dustin Beck, Butterfly's other Co-Founder. "With Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery under one roof, we will have an offering that will thrive in more markets and non-traditional foodservice outlets across the U.S. than any comparable single-concept company," said Sullivan. "We look forward to partnering with franchisees and landlords across the country to bring these great concepts to their markets and customers." Kirkland & Ellis acted as legal advisor to Butterfly and Lemonade, while Davis Wright Tremaine acted as legal advisor to Modern Market Eatery. About Modern Restaurant Concepts: Modern Restaurant Concepts is a national multi-concept restaurant platform focused on better-for-you concepts. The company currently owns and operates two fast casual restaurant brands, Lemonade Restaurant Group and Modern Market Eatery. With a combined footprint of 58 restaurants across 10 markets including Denver, Austin, Dallas, Phoenix, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Orange County, Modern Restaurant Concepts has a national presence with significant room for expansion. Lemonade is a California-based modern cafeteria-style fast casual concept serving a colorful bounty of seasonal, California comfort food. Raising the standard of quality and freshness in the industry, Lemonade entices time-crunched but food-savvy individuals with the simple allure of beautifully prepared salads, hearty braised meats, satisfying sandwiches, decadent desserts, and thirst-quenching, cold-pressed lemonades.  Modern Market Eatery is a food forward, sustainable fast casual restaurant concept that operates in Colorado, Texas, Arizona, D.C. and Maryland. Delivering the freshness and flavors of the market in a modern dining format and environment, Modern Market Eatery's menu of protein-centric bowls, garden fresh salads, toasted sandwiches and brick oven pizzas redefine what it means to eat well at a reasonable price. For additional information about Lemonade and Modern Market Eatery, please visit www.lemonadela.com and www.modernmarket.com. About Butterfly: Butterfly Equity ("Butterfly") is a Los Angeles, California based private equity firm specializing in the food sector, spanning the entire food value chain from "seed to fork" via four target verticals: agriculture & aquaculture, food & beverage products, food distribution and foodservice. Butterfly aims to generate attractive investment returns through deep industry specialization, a unique approach to sourcing transactions, and leveraging an operations-focused and technology-driven approach to value creation. For additional information about Butterfly, please visit its website at www.butterflyequity.com. About KKR: KKR is a leading global investment firm that manages multiple alternative asset classes, including private equity, energy, infrastructure, real estate and credit, with strategic partners that manage hedge funds. KKR aims to generate attractive investment returns for its fund investors by following a patient and disciplined investment approach, employing world-class people, and driving growth and value creation with KKR portfolio companies. KKR invests its own capital alongside the capital it manages for fund investors and provides financing solutions and investment opportunities through its capital markets business. References to KKR's investments may include the activities of its sponsored funds. For additional information about KKR & Co. Inc. (NYSE: KKR), please visit KKR's website at www.kkr.com and on Twitter @KKR_Co.

View source version at Lemonade and Modern Market Merger


Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. Enters into Definitive Agreement to Acquire 221 Restaurants and Expand into Popeyes Brand Through Merger with Cambridge Franchise Holdings, LLC


Expands Burger King Acquisition Right of First Refusal, Adds Popeyes Right of First Refusal Company Pre-Releases Select 2018 Financial Results Investor Conference Call and Webcast Scheduled for 8:30 AM ET Today


February 20, 2019 07:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

SYRACUSE, N.Y.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (“Carrols” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq:TAST), the largest Burger King franchisee in the U.S., today announced that it has entered into a definitive Agreement and Plan of Merger to acquire 166 Burger King® and 55 Popeyes® restaurants from Cambridge Franchise Holdings, LLC (“Cambridge”) in 10 Southeastern and Southern states. In addition to its strong restaurant portfolio in these attractive geographies, Cambridge has an established track record of developing both new Burger King and new Popeyes restaurants that the Company believes will benefit Carrols’ stockholders and broaden its capital allocation and growth opportunities. The transaction will be structured as a tax-free merger. Cambridge, which is controlled by Garnett Station Partners’ Managing Partners Matt Perelman and Alex Sloane and owned by some large and highly respected family office investors, will receive approximately 7.36 million shares of Carrols common stock, and at closing will own approximately 16.6% of Carrols’ outstanding common shares. Cambridge will also receive shares of 9% PIK Series C Convertible Preferred Stock that will be convertible into approximately 7.45 million shares of Carrols common stock at $13.50 per share (a 44% premium to the $9.35 closing share price on February 19, 2019). The conversion of the preferred stock received by Cambridge will be subject to a vote of Carrols’ stockholders which will occur at the Company’s 2019 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, and will automatically convert into common stock upon stockholder approval of such conversion. All shares issued to Cambridge are subject to a two year restriction on sale or transfer subject to certain limited exceptions. As part of the transaction, Cambridge will have the right to designate up to two director nominees and Perelman and Sloane will join the Carrols Board of Directors upon completion of the merger. Including approximately $100 million of net debt assumed from Cambridge, the transaction value of $238 million based on the Company’s February 19, 2019 closing share price, values Cambridge at approximately 5.0 to 5.5 times pro forma restaurant-level EBITDA (based on September 30, 2018 results, with pro forma adjustments for acquisitions completed in 2018 and the assumed sale-leaseback of approximately $25 million of fee owned property). On a fully-diluted, as-if converted basis after giving effect to both the conversion of the Cambridge and Burger King Corporation (“BKC”) convertible preferred stocks to common stock, Cambridge would hold an approximate 24% equity interest in the Company. There is no cash consideration as part of the transaction. Carrols expects to refinance the existing Cambridge debt assumed as part of the transaction, along with the Company’s existing debt, through a new senior secured credit facility providing for term loan and revolving credit borrowings under a fully committed financing provided by Wells Fargo Bank, National Association and arranged by Wells Fargo Securities, LLC. The closing of the merger with Cambridge is not, however, conditioned on financing. After giving effect to the transaction and the refinancing, the Company expects that total debt will be under 3.0 times Adjusted EBITDA, and believes that along with an expanded revolving credit facility, it will have sufficient liquidity to fund its investment and growth plans. Under Carrols’ existing agreement with BKC, it is currently pre-approved for expansion and holds assignment rights to BKC’s Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”) in 20 states until it reaches 1,000 restaurants. In conjunction with the merger, Carrols has entered into a new Area Development and Remodeling Agreement with BKC (which will be effective upon the closing of the transaction with Cambridge) that expands the assignment of BKC’s ROFR for the acquisition of up to 500 additional Burger King restaurants (excluding the Cambridge restaurants) and also expands the Company’s ROFR territory to include most of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. The Company has agreed to relinquish its right to BKC’s ROFR in certain states where it is not currently expanding (Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia). As part of the agreement with BKC, Carrols has also agreed to develop 200 new Burger King restaurants over the next six years and to remodel or upgrade certain of its restaurants (or restaurants to be acquired) to the Burger King of Tomorrow image over the same period. The acquisition and the new Area Development and Remodeling Agreement with BKC will expand Carrols’ capital allocation alternatives and growth opportunities to include: (i) Burger King acquisitions (expanded ROFR cap permits acquisition of another 500 Burger King restaurants), (ii) Burger King new restaurant development, (iii) Popeyes acquisitions including a ROFR for Popeyes in Tennessee and Kentucky and (iv) Popeyes new restaurant development. “This is a transformational transaction for our Company,” said Dan Accordino, Chairman and CEO of Carrols. “It further strengthens our position in the Burger King system and provides us the opportunity to continue executing our Burger King acquisition and expansion strategy. Cambridge also brings a strong, growing second brand in Popeyes to Carrols’ portfolio, and they have demonstrated strong returns on new restaurant development in their geographies. We look forward to partnering with them as we work to improve returns for our stockholders through additional, diversified alternatives for future growth and effective capital allocation.” The Company believes that Cambridge will provide Carrols with a platform and relationships to grow within the Popeyes brand. Cambridge has already built a Popeyes business with 55 Popeyes restaurants in Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee and has additional growth opportunities through both acquisitions and new restaurant development. As part of the transaction, the Company will assume Cambridge’s existing Development Agreement with Popeyes, which provides for an acquisition ROFR in Tennessee and Kentucky and the development of approximately 70 new Popeyes restaurants over the next six years. Accordino added, “We are excited about the opportunity to grow with Popeyes which is a strong brand. As a second, complementary brand to our considerable Burger King holdings, it provides Carrols with another avenue for growth including new restaurant development given Cambridge’s development pipeline, and expansion through the opportunity to acquire additional Popeye’s restaurants in the future. Adding Popeyes to our restaurant portfolio also offers diversification to our commodities exposure and geographic footprint.” Matt Perelman, a Garnett Station Managing Partner, commented, “Carrols has an incredible track record of operating Burger King restaurants over more than four decades. We are excited to partner with the Carrols management team and look forward to adding value to the combined company as engaged board members focused on effective capital allocation and continued growth.”

View full version at Carrols Restaurant Group

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