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Frisch’s profits fall in 2nd Q

CINCINNATI Frisch’s Restaurants Inc. reported Tuesday that higher food costs and soft sales, particularly within its Golden Corral buffets, lowered the company’s net earnings for the second quarter ended Dec. 11 by 22.8 percent, to $2.2 million, compared with a year earlier. Revenues rose 1.4 percent, to $69.2 million, the company said.

For the same quarter of a year ago, Frisch’s had reported a 66.9-percent jump in net earnings, to $2.8 million, on a 2-percent rise in revenues, to about $68.3 million.

Frisch’s operates 35 Golden Corral franchised outlets and 89 Frisch’s Big Boy full-service restaurants, and franchises another 28 Big Boys.

Same-store sales for the 12-week period rose 0.4 percent at the company’s Big Boy units and slipped 1.8 percent at Golden Corral stores, compared with year-ago same-store sales gains of 0.9 percent and 0.6 percent, respectively.

“We are still looking for the key to reverse the sales trends in Golden Corral,” said Craig Meier, Frisch’s president and chief executive.

Citing the “modest” comparable gains for Big Boy, Meier said that “higher gasoline costs and the sluggish Midwest economy continue to impact our customers.”

Most of the Golden Corrals are located in urban areas of Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania. The Big Boys units are located in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

The company did not open any new restaurants during the most recent quarter, but had two more Big Boys in operation because of openings during the first quarter of fiscal 2008.

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