Frisch's reports 3rd-Q earnings decline of 13.2%

CINCINNATI Ohio Frisch's Restaurants Inc., owner of the 117-unit Frisch's Big Boy chain and franchisee to 34 Golden Corral grill buffet restaurants, said winter weather in its fiscal third quarter ended March 6 reduced sales and earnings from the same period a year ago.

Net earnings declined 13.2 percent to $1.9 million, or 37 cents per share, compared with earnings of $2.2 million, or 43 cents per share, in the third quarter of the prior fiscal year. The year-earlier third quarter also included a 5-cents-per-share gain from the disposal of property, the company reported.

Latest-year third quarter revenues declined 2.7 percent to $65.5 million. Same-store sales at corporate Big Boy restaurants fell 0.8 percent, which the company blamed on "the snow and ice [that] more than erased the sales gains we saw in December and early January." The harsh weather also impacted Golden Corral restaurants, Frisch's reported, which posted a same-store sales drop of 5.8 percent during the third quarter. Still, lower food cost and payroll expenses led to "modest earnings" in the Golden Corral restaurants, Frisch's said.

For the first nine months of the current fiscal year, Frisch's is ahead of the year earlier. Earnings increased 7.8 percent to $7 million, or $1.35 per share, on revenues that rose 0.6 percent to $222 million.