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BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse
By the end of this week, the company expects 208 BJ’s locations will be operating, with dining rooms open at more than 85% of the chain’s system.

BJ’s Restaurants to have 85% of restaurant dining rooms open this week

Sales trends improve as dine-in returns, despite impact of nationwide demonstrations

BJ’s Restaurants Inc. has reopened dining rooms in 178 restaurants across 24 states and is reopening restaurants that were temporarily closed, the company said Wednesday. By the end of this week, the company expects 208 BJ’s locations will be operating, with dining rooms open at more than 85% of the chain’s system.

Second quarter same-store sales through June 9 were down about 64%, which included the impact of both the pandemic-related closures and the recent demonstrations across the country that followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

For the week ended June 9, when protests were happening in big and small metro areas daily, comparable sales were down 42.6%, the company said, and average weekly sales were about $64,900 — including 41 restaurants that had closed or were operating on limited hours because of the demonstrations.

That’s an improvement over the week ended April 21, during the shutdown, when same-store sales were down 70%, despite a surge in takeout and delivery orders.

For restaurants with reopened dining rooms that were not impacted by curfews or closures, sales had recovered during the week ended June 9 to about 70% of prior year levels, with average weekly sales of about $75,000, the company said.

The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based casual dining chain said off-premise sales remain elevated, despite the dining rooms opening up.

Off-premise sales at restaurants not impacted by the demonstrations were also at about 70% of levels during the shutdown, when the restaurants were largely relying on delivery and takeout.

At current sales levels and with more dining rooms scheduled to reopen over the next few weeks, the company said it will return to generating positive cash flow.

“Early results from our reopened dining rooms are encouraging, with double-digit weekly sequential sales increases over the last four weeks,” said Greg Trojan, BJ’s CEO, in a statement, adding that guests appreciate the safety measures and precautions implemented, including touchless digital menus and mobile pay options. “As our dining rooms reopen, we continue to bring back furloughed team members and we look forward to bringing back even more as additional dining rooms open in the next several weeks.”

The chain had temporarily laid off about 16,000 hourly workers.

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Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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