BJ’s profits up 14% in 3Q despite lawsuit

BJ’s profits up 14% in 3Q despite lawsuit

The cost of settling a class action lawsuit related to employment practices nipped profits for BJ’s Restaurants Inc. in the third quarter, the company said Thursday.

Net income for the quarter ended Sept. 27 increased 14.3 percent to $6.3 million, or 22 cents per share, compared with $5.5 million, or 20 cents per share, for the same quarter last year.

Results included a pre-tax charge of about $1 million related to the cost of settling a class-action lawsuit about employment practices that began in 2009. Excluding the charge, the company said net income for the quarter would have been $7.1 million, or 24 cents per share.

Revenue was up 17.6 percent to $151 million. Same-store sales increased 6.5 percent, lapping a 6.7-percent increase in the prior year, “which is an impressive accomplishment for any casual-dining restaurant company in this difficult operating environment,” Jerry Deitchle, BJ’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

Deitchle added that BJ’s will “continue to prudently invest in our menu offerings, restaurant management talent base, technology and facilities with the goal to further improve our four-wall sales productivity and operating efficiency.

“While we believe BJ’s has achieved some solid success in each of those respects in recent years, we have much more yet to accomplish,” he said.

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The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based BJ’s opened four restaurants during the third quarter, and another four are expected to open in the fourth quarter for a total of 13 new locations this year.

“At the end of this year, we will only have 115 restaurants open in 13 states,” said Deitchle, “and we believe there are many years of high quality, profitable expansion for the BJ’s concept ahead of us.”

For 2012, as many as 15 are planned.

The company said it will relocate one of its older, smaller format “pizza and grill” restaurants to a new site as a larger-format Brewhouse prototype next year, more than doubling its square footage.

At the end of the third quarter, BJ’s operated 113 restaurants under the BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse or BJ’s Pizza & Grill brands.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected] [3].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout [4]