BJ's Restaurants, Inc. reported financial results for its fiscal 2014 third quarter that ended Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.
Total revenues increased 9.7 percent to $206.5 million, while total restaurant operating weeks increased 10.4 percent.
"The 2014 third quarter represented the third consecutive quarter of progress following the implementation of our initiatives aimed at reigniting sales and improving our operating performance," says Greg Trojan, president and CEO. "Our sales driving initiatives are focused around affordability, food quality, and innovation, speed and hospitality. Progress in each of these areas drove positive comparable restaurant sales for the first time in five quarters."
Comparable restaurant sales increased 0.3 percent, meanwhile, driven by a 0.7 percent increase in guest counts, partially offset by a lower average check.
"Importantly, our positive comparable restaurant sales were driven by a 0.7 percent increase in guest traffic, which more than offset a lower average check resulting from our sales building initiatives around affordability," Trojan says. "Our progress in increasing guest counts is particularly notable as we already have industry leading guest traffic levels in the casual dining sector. Continued success in building comparable restaurant sales should meaningfully improve our future financial performance given the operating leverage in our business model."
Net income increased 77.7 percent to $6.5 million, and 2014 restaurant development plan is on schedule, with three new restaurants opened in the quarter
"Our Project Q initiative, which is focused on improving kitchen productivity while enhancing our food quality and consistency, drove leverage in our restaurant labor despite a significant minimum wage increase in BJ's home state of California," Trojan says. "I am extremely proud of our operators who continually provide us with some of our best Project Q ideas and who continue to ensure that our guests enjoy a high quality dining experience and great service every time they visit one of our restaurants."
In the third fiscal quarter of 2014, BJ's opened three new restaurants in Oviedo, Florida; Denton, Texas; and Cedar Park, Texas, and earlier this month, in the fourth fiscal quarter, the company opened a new restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. All of these restaurants are the company's new 7,400-square-foot prototype and cost approximately $4 million, on a gross basis, which is approximately $1 million less than the company's prior prototype.
"With nine new restaurants opened year to date and an approximate 12 percent year-over-year increase in operating weeks, BJ's is on track to achieve another solid year of double digit operating week growth," Trojan says. "Additionally, by the end of fiscal 2014, we will have five restaurants opened in the mid-Atlantic, providing us a solid foundation for expansion into the northeast."
"Our development team is now focused on finalizing our planned fiscal 2015 restaurant openings and is building a solid pipeline for fiscal 2016," he adds. "We currently anticipate that the benefit of the new 2014 restaurant openings coupled with our planned opening of at least 15 new restaurants next year will further expand our operating weeks by approximately 10 percent in fiscal 2015."