Denny’s Corporation reported results Monday for its second quarter, which ended July 1.

Domestic system-wide same-store sale growth was 7.3 percent—7.9 percent at company restaurants and 7.2 percent at domestic franchised restaurants.

“We generated another quarter of strong same-store sales growth at both franchised and company restaurants, including our third consecutive quarter of growth in system-wide guest traffic,” says John Miller, president and chief executive officer. “We are benefitting from the investments we have made in our brand revitalization strategy to enhance our food, service, and atmosphere. Our success in driving profitable guest traffic growth and increasing guest satisfaction scores confirm that the improvements we have made are resonating with our guests, franchisees, and employees. Going forward, we will remain focused on executing our strategies to elevate the Denny’s experience and are still in the early stages of the revitalization process as our Heritage remodel program has penetrated nearly 25 percent of the system.”

Other notes included: The opening of 13 system restaurants, including four international location; the completion of 77 remodels, including 17 at company restaurants; Adjusted EBITDA of $24.4 million, or 19.8 percent of total operating revenue, increased 15.9 percent; Net Income of $9.7 million increased 17.7 percent with Diluted Net Income per Share of $0.11 growing 20.8 percent; Adjusted Net Income of $9.8 million grew 18.1 percent with Adjusted Net Income per Share of $0.11 increasing 21.2 percent; Generated $9.6 million of Free Cash Flow after remodel investments at company restaurants and the purchase of one parcel of real estate; Allocated $16.1 million to repurchase 1.5 million shares during the second quarter.

Denny’s total operating revenue grew 7.6 percent to $123.3 million, resulting from an increase in both company restaurant sales along with franchise and license revenue. 

Franchise and license revenue of $34.7 million increased $1.2 million, or 3.6 percent, primarily due to higher royalty revenue resulting from an increase in same-store sales. 

Company restaurant sales of $88.6 million grew $7.5 million, or 9.2 percent, primarily due to the increase in same-store sales and the reopening of the Las Vegas Casino Royale restaurant in November 2014.

In the second quarter, Denny’s opened 13 franchised restaurants, including four international locations, and closed 11 system restaurants, including one company restaurant, bringing the total number of restaurants to 1,696. 

Domestic system-wide same-store sales grew 7.3 percent, including a 7.9 percent increase at company restaurants and 7.2 percent increase at domestic franchised restaurants.

Franchise operating margin was $23.5 million, or 67.7 percent of franchise and license revenue. 

This improvement was primarily due to an increase in royalties, partially offset by a rise in direct costs. 

Company restaurant operating margin of $16.3 million, or 18.4 percent of company restaurant sales, increased $4.8 million, or 4.2 percent. The improvement in company margin was primarily driven by the leveraging effect from the growth in same-store sales.

Total general and administrative expenses were $16.8 million compared to $14.1 million in the prior year quarter primarily due to higher incentive and share-based compensation expenses, along with higher payroll and benefits expenses. 

Depreciation and amortization expense was flat at $5.3 million, as was interest expense at $2.3 million. 

In the second quarter, the provision for income taxes was $5.5 million, reflecting an effective tax rate of 36.1 percent. 

Due to the use of net operating loss and tax credit carryforwards, the company paid $3.9 million in cash taxes during the second quarter.

Denny's second quarter net income of $9.7 million increased 17.7 percent compared to prior year quarter net income of $8.3 million, with net income per diluted share of $0.11 growing 20.8 percent compared to $0.09 per diluted share in the prior year quarter. 

Adjusted Net Income of $9.8 million grew 18.1 percent compared to prior year quarter Adjusted Net Income of $8.3 million. 

Adjusted Net Income per Share of $0.11 increased 21.2 percent compared to prior year quarter Adjusted Net Income per Share of $0.09.

Denny’s generated $9.6 million of Free Cash Flow in the second quarter, after investing $9 million on capital expenditures primarily used to remodel 17 company restaurants and to acquire a parcel of real estate, which is leased to a franchisee. 

During the quarter, the company repurchased 1.5 million shares for $16.1 million. 

At the end of the second quarter, the company had approximately 10.5 million shares authorized under its ongoing repurchase programs based on the closing share price on July 31. 

Denny’s ended the second quarter with $160.6 million of total debt outstanding, including $142 million of borrowings under its revolving credit facility.

Mark Wolfinger, Denny's executive vice president, chief administrative officer and chief financial officer, comments, “Our second quarter same-store sales growth and operations execution helped drive another quarter of margin expansion at our company operated restaurants leading to 21 percent growth in Adjusted Net Income per Share. We are focused on driving long-term shareholder value through our highly franchised business while balancing our Free Cash Flow allocation between reinvesting in our brand and company restaurants and returning value to our shareholders through our share repurchase program.”

Casual Dining, Chain Restaurants, Industry News, Denny's