The brand opened its first line-service model in Las Vegas in August.

Famous Dave’s numbers present a tale of a company on an upward trajectory.

On the corporate side, the chain’s Q2 same-store sales grew 35.2 percent compared to 2020 and 14.5 percent versus 2019. Franchise-operated restaurants also felt the impact of lessened restrictions and jumped 42.7 percent over 2020 and 4.4 percent against 2019.

Consumers are also continuing to switch up their dining habits. In the period, company-run Famous Dave’s restaurants saw to-go sales mix 49.1 percent. Off-premises orders decreased 16.4 percent, year-over-year, but the loss was easily made up by a hefty rise in dine-in and catering sales at 240.9 percent and 205.4 percent, respectively. 

With pandemic restrictions fading in Q2, Granite City restaurants jumped 197.8 percent in dine-in sales compared to 2020. The brand’s comps lifted 138.6 percent against 2020, but decreased 10.4 percent versus 2019. In February 2020, BBQ Holdings agreed to acquire Granite City out of bankruptcy. Since then, Famous Dave’s has installed eight corporate ghost kitchens within Granite City locations. The move is part of a larger path in ghost kitchen exploration; 17 Famous Dave’s franchisee ghost kitchens operate out of another restaurant or shared kitchen space. 

BBQ Holdings ended Q2 with 147 restaurants systemwide—including 100 franchises and 47 company-run stores. 

Growing sales come as the company welcomed Village Inn and Bakers Square into the fold. The legacy brands were purchased for $13.5 million, with the deal finalizing at the end of July. This added 114 franchise and 21 corporate Village Inn units and 12 Bakers Square corporate locations, pushing the company’s total portfolio to 299 brick-and-mortar locations. Village Inn, a chain founded in 1958, is a breakfast-focused Rocky Mountain region staple. Bakers Square meanwhile serves soups, sandwiches and pies. These two brands joined Famous Dave’s, Granite City, Real Urban Barbecue, and Clark Crew BBQ in BBQ Holdings’ expansive enterprise.

“With the recently completed acquisition of Village Inn and Bakers Square, we look forward to working collaboratively to improve, reinvigorate, and leverage our infrastructure as a launch pad for growth,” CEO Jeff Crivello said in a statement. “Our ability to drive cash flow throughout the year has been a huge step towards building a very strong balance sheet.”

Model-wise, Famous Dave’s opened its first line-service model in Las Vegas in August. The chain designed the prototype to create faster service and lower operating costs. The store is operated by franchise partner Alejandro Orozco, who operates 10 Famous Dave’s restaurants. 

“The Quick ‘Que model is a huge leap forward for us. A year after the arrival of COVID, we’re proud to continue finding new ways to evolve and better serve both our customers and our franchisees,” Crivello said in April. “Not only will this model provide a more convenient experience for customers without compromising the quality of the food, but its build-out should also prove to be more affordable and profitable for franchisees.”

Parent company BBQ Holdings total revenues grew 64 percent in Q2 to $45.5 million. Restaurant level margins were 12.7 percent compared to 0.4 percent a year ago. Margins were up mainly because of lower labor and food costs as restaurant operators adjusted to continuing shifts toward off-premises orders.

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Feature, Famous Dave's