Cracker Barrel Old Country Store reported a slight drop in second-quarter fiscal 2014 revenues, citing severe winter weather as the culprit. The company posted a profit of $37.1 million, a 5.4 percent gain over a year ago.
The second quarter of fiscal 2014 ended Jan. 31, 2014.
“Overall, we estimate that weather impacted our traffic, restaurant, and retail sales by approximately 2.5 percent with the greatest impact during the months of December and January,” says Sandra B. Cochran, Cracker Barrel president and CEO.
After dipping 0.4 percent during November, same-store restaurant traffic dropped 4.8 percent in December and 3.7 percent in January, for an overall quarterly decline of 2.9 percent. Restaurant sales climbed 2.5 percent in November, but fell 2.7 percent in December and 1.6 percent in January, with the quarter as a whole down 0.6 percent.
Revenue in the quarter was $698.5 million, a 0.6 percent decrease over the $702.7 million in the prior-year second quarter. Restaurant revenues were $528.4 million, and retail revenues were $170.1 million.
Menu price increases of 1.8 percent helped drive the average restaurant check for the three months, resulting in a 2.3 percent increase for the quarter. Popular new menu options, such as healthier offerings and Wholesome Fixin's, bolstered the average check.
Also helping to boost the bottom line were a new labor management system that lifted productivity for the restaurant chain.
“I am pleased with the performance of our field teams, who helped preserve our operating margins by controlling costs during periods of unpredictable customer traffic,” Cochran says. “I am also pleased that we outperformed the traffic and sales of our peers in the Knapp-Track casual dining index during this time of continued economic uncertainty and severe weather."
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store operates 626 company-owned locations in 42 states.
By Joann Whitcher