Steak fajitas at Chuy’s Tex-Mex.

Chuy’s Tex-Mex

Current sales show a substantial improvement compared to late March.

Chuy’s Opens Nearly All of its Dining Rooms

Through May 24, comp sales are down 49.8 percent.

More than 85 percent of Chuy’s restaurants have reopened dining rooms in a limited capacity as weekly same-store sales see sequential improvement.

As of Monday, 87 stores have reopened dining rooms, while five are operating off-premises only. Nine units remain temporarily closed. The increase in operations is certainly good news for Chuy’s, which was forced to furlough 80 percent of hourly employees, 40 percent of store management, and 40 percent of corporate and administrative staff amid the pandemic.

Through May 24 in Q2, comp sales are down 49.8 percent.

Here’s a look at how Chuy’s average weekly sales have progressed in April and May:

  • Week ending April 5: $33,873, –60.8 percent (year-over-year)
  • Week ending April 12: $36,440, –57.4 percent
  • Week ending April 19: $42,660, –50.2 percent
  • Week ending April 26: $42,300, –52.7 percent
  • Week ending May 3: $40,200, –61 percent
  • Week ending May 10: $57,500, –39.4 percent (seven dining rooms open, Cinco de Mayo impact)
  • Week ending May 17: $48,500, –45.4 percent (53 dining rooms open)
  • Week ending May 24: $61,630, –31.3 percent (74 dining rooms open)

Current sales show a substantial improvement compared to late March, when the effects of the pandemic began to take shape. In the week ending March 22, Chuy’s plummeted to a low of $27,900 in average weekly sales, down 67 percent year-over-year.

While dining rooms were closed, off-premises more than tripled compared to pre-COVID sales, rising from the 14-15 percent range to around 45-50 percent. The company reported that even with open dining rooms, off-premises sales are still more than double what they were prior to the COVID outbreak.

In the eight-week period ending May 24, Chuy’s estimated that it achieved positive EBITDA with more than $43,000 in average weekly sales after considering operating costs, including rent and G&A expenses.

The brand said that as it increases dine-in capacity and reduces the off-premises model, more operating and G&A expenses are expected. With the expanded operations, Chuy’s estimates a positive EBITDA with average weekly sales around $54,000.

Chuy’s ended Q1 down 9.7 percent and saw revenue drop 7.4 percent to $94.5 million.

The chain has $32 million in cash on hand. The brand canceled nonessential capital expenditures and temporarily suspended rent payments on operating leases and has continued to work with landlords to negotiate rent concessions, abatements, and deferral.