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Financials - December 2023


Independent restaurant owners and operators report lower profits amid an increase in business

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- The James Beard Foundation® announces today the findings of its 2023 Annual Industry Report, providing a data-driven look at the current state of the independent restaurant industry. The survey ran between October 23 and November 13, receiving more than 250 responses from chefs, representing independent restaurants and operators and 44 states throughout the country. Respondents collectively serve more than 14 million covers annually and have more than 3.2 million Instagram followers.

Despite the industry being at its most stable since 2019, customers being more educated and engaged around the issues impacting the food system, and massive strides made in creating sustainable and equitable conditions for staff, rising costs are greatly impacting both operations and the public's dining out frequency. While diners are paying more, chefs are making less.

The State of the Industry in 2023

Fluctuating Fortunes in 2023At a glance, the independent restaurant industry appears to have bounced back following tremendous challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over one-third (36%) of respondents reported more customers in 2023 than 2022, almost half (47%) reported higher check averages in 2023, a slight majority (51%) reported tracking better or the same as 2019, and almost three-quarters (72%) reporting increasing menu prices by 10-25% in the last year.

However, economic-driven external and internal challenges are proving margins are tighter than ever before, with 53% of respondents reporting lower profits in 2023. This is largely driven by:

  • Rising food and labor costs: Over half (52%) reported needing to raise wages 10-25%. Only 16% of respondents did not raise wages.

  • Inconsistent consumer behavior: While 36% of respondents saw an increase of customers, even more (37%) saw fewer customers in 2023 than in 2022.

"While we are encouraged to see the beginning of a return to pre-pandemic dining trends, we recognize the many headwinds restaurant owners and operators continue to face," says Clare Reichenbach, CEO, James Beard Foundation. "As the country's leading culinary nonprofit in support of the independent restaurant industry, the James Beard Foundation will continue to leverage its unique position within the chef-operator community to advance our recently announced policy priorities and mobilize for meaningful change on behalf of a more equitable and sustainable food culture."

El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. Announces $12.6 Million Repurchase Agreement

Total share repurchases of approximately $59 million in 2023 December 04, 2023 16:30 ET COSTA MESA, Calif., Dec. 04, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (“El Pollo Loco” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: LOCO), the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant chain, today announced that it has entered into a Stock Repurchase Agreement with FS Equity Partners V, L.P. and FS Affiliates V, L.P. (together, the “Sellers”) to purchase an aggregate of 1,500,000 shares of the Company’s common stock at a price of $8.40 for a total purchase price of $12.6 million. The repurchase was completed on December 4, 2023. In addition, as part of the agreement, the Sellers have agreed to refrain from selling any of the remaining common stock owned or controlled by the Sellers for a period of 60 days. This agreement represents a continuation of the Company’s confidence in the business and its dedication to stockholder value creation. In total, the Company has repurchased approximately $59 million in 2023. Following this agreement, the Company has $7.4 million remaining under the $20 million share repurchase authorization that expires on March 31, 2025.

About El Pollo Loco El Pollo Loco (Nasdaq:LOCO) is the nation’s leading fire-grilled chicken restaurant with a mission to bring people together around food, family, and culture in the communities it serves. El Pollo Loco is renowned for its handcrafted food, an innovative blend of traditional Mexican cuisine and better-for-you eating, that Los Angeles is known for. Since 1980, El Pollo Loco has successfully opened and maintained over 490 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Louisiana while remaining true to its Mexican-American heritage. El Pollo Loco continues to grow and evolve, nourishing connections to tradition, culture, and one another through fire-grilled goodness that makes us feel like familia. For more information, visit us at


Board declares $1.30 quarterly dividend per share LEBANON, Tenn., Nov. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. ("Cracker Barrel" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: CBRL) today reported its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2024 ended October 27, 2023. First Quarter Fiscal 2024 Highlights

  • The Company reported first quarter total revenue of $823.8 million. Compared to the prior year first quarter, total revenue decreased 1.9%.

    • Comparable store restaurant sales decreased 0.5%, while comparable store retail sales decreased 8.1%.

  • GAAP operating income for the first quarter was $11.4 million, or 1.4% of total revenue, and adjusted1 operating income was $19.0 million, or 2.3% of total revenue.

  • GAAP net income was $5.5 million, or 0.7% of total revenue, and Adjusted EBITDA1 was $45.7 million, or 5.5% of total revenue.

  • GAAP earnings per diluted share were $0.25, and adjusted1 earnings per diluted share were $0.51.

Commenting on the first quarter results, Cracker Barrel President and Chief Executive Officer Julie Masino said, "We were pleased that we delivered sequential monthly improvements in our comparable store traffic performance during the first quarter. This improved trend was largely driven by the actions we took to improve the effectiveness of our marketing and our emphasis on the guest experience. We will continue to focus on these initiatives along with operational excellence, and we believe these efforts will resonate with guests and will support improved performance in the remainder of the fiscal year and beyond. Additionally, during the quarter we launched our Cracker Barrel Rewards loyalty program. Guests have embraced the program, and we are pleased with the levels of enrollment to date, which have exceeded expectations. We remain excited about this program and are confident it will be a meaningful differentiator and traffic driver over the long term." First Quarter Fiscal 2024 Results Revenue The Company reported total revenue of $823.8 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2024, representing a decrease of 1.9% compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2023. Cracker Barrel comparable store restaurant sales decreased 0.5%, including total menu pricing increases of 6.8%. Comparable store retail sales decreased 8.1% from the prior year quarter.

FTC reportedly investigating Roark’s Subway purchase

The agency began an investigation this month, Politico reports. The FTC is concerned the deal could create a sandwich monopoly, as Roark also owns Arby’s, Jimmy John’s and related chains.

Julie LittmanSenior Reporter

Roark Capital entered a definitive agreement to buy Subway in August 2023.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is investigating Roark Capital’s proposed $10 billion buyout of Subway, according to Politico, which cited several anonymous sources. The investigation is reportedly evaluating whether Roark’s purchase would lead to a sandwich chain monopoly, since Roark also owns Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, McAlister’s Deli and Schlotzsky’s under Inspire Brands. 

Roark entered a definitive agreement to buy Subway in August after the sandwich chain was on the market for several months. Subway has deployed several strategies to help bolster sales and grow unit counts, including investing $80 million to install deli meat slicers in 20,000 restaurants as part of its fresh-sliced deli meats menu. It also shifted its focus from single-unit owner/operators to multi-unit franchisees, and has reinvented its menu. Roark, which has $37 billion in assets under management, would provide additional capital to support Subway’s growth plan, so an investigation will slow down the sales process. 

The investigation likely started early this month and a resolution could be months away, according to Politico. The FTC could “sue to block the merger, reach an agreement with the companies that alleviates its concerns, or take no action at all,” Politico reports. The FTC will review if segment competition will be harmed by this deal. Subway is the top sandwich chain in the country based on sandwich sales, but Jimmy John’s, Arby’s and McAlister’s Deli are also in the top 10

The FTC has been investigating other large deals of late, including the $24 billion-plus Kroger/Albertsons merger.  

Jack in the Box Inc. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full-Year 2023 Earnings

Jack in the Box same-store sales of +3.9% in Q4 2023, +7.3% for FY 2023 Del Taco same-store sales of -1.5% in Q4 2023, +1.7%(1) for FY 2023 Jack in the Box and Del Taco opened 34 restaurants in FY 2023, including net positive unit growth and a growing development pipeline for both brands Del Taco completed the refranchising of 111 restaurants in FY 2023, which included development commitments for 109 new restaurants Jack in the Box opened its first-ever restaurant in Louisville, with stronger-than-expected sales performance Since opening, all new market locations for Jack in the Box (Salt Lake City and Louisville) averaging over $100,000 in weekly sales per restaurant

November 21, 2023 04:04 PM Eastern Standard Time

SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ: JACK) announced financial results for the Jack in the Box and Del Taco segments in the fourth quarter, ended October 1, 2023. “We achieved several important milestones for our business in 2023 including positive unit growth, successful new market openings, accelerated Del Taco refranchising, strong same stores sales performance and improvements in restaurant-level profitability,” said Darin Harris, Jack in the Box chief executive officer. “Despite some industry headwinds, we are excited about our opportunity in 2024 to expand both brands into new markets and continue driving our transformational growth strategy.”

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