The 3 chains for sale, and 4 that could be next Joe's Crab Shack

Sales decline steeply at Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House

Parent Ignite blames 1Q declines on guest traffic

Ignite Restaurant Group saw sales decline steeply at both its Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap brands in its first quarter ended April 3, the company reported Tuesday.

The Houston-based casual-dining company, which in April announced it was looking for a buyer and considering bankruptcy protection, said performance at both full-service brands declined in quarter, with Joe’s reporting a 14.3 percent decline in same-store sales and Brick House booking a 12.6 percent drop. 

“The sales declines are primarily due to decreased guest traffic,” Ignite said in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings. “In order to reverse these negative trends, we have deployed many different operational strategies, but so far none have had a meaningful impact on sales or guest traffic.” 

The company said the biggest declines in sales and guest traffic continue to be on weekends.

“We will continue to evaluate our menu offerings and look for value offerings that could increase sales and traffic as well as improve the value proposition for our guests,” the company said. 

The company also warned that additional declines in operating performance “could cause us to close or sell more restaurants.”

The company has been working with a financial adviser since late 2016 to evaluate strategic alternatives, which Ignite said could include separate sales of Joe’s or Brick House. 

In the quarter ended April 3, Ignite swung to a loss of $3.3 million from a profit of $1.5 million in the same period a year ago. Revenues fell 19.3 percent to $95.1 million from $117.9 million in the prior-year period. 

As of April 3, Ignite had 112 Joe’s restaurants and 25 Brick House units in 32 states. It franchised three Joe’s restaurants in Dubai.

Contact Ron Ruggless at Ronald.Ruggless@Penton.com

Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

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