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Chilis' Grill & Bar parent Brinker International withdrew its 2nd quarter guidance as more of its dining rooms close

Brinker International Inc., parent of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy, withdraws Q2 guidance as comps plunge amid dining room closures

Chili’s continues to outperform overall casual-dining segment

Tightened restrictions on dining room occupancy rates in much of the country have negatively affected the sales at casual-dining chains Chili’s Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy, parent company Brinker International Inc. said Wednesday as it withdrew its guidance for the second quarter of its 2021 fiscal year and reported a pretty steady decline in same-store sales at company-owned restaurants since late October.

Year-over-year same-store sales at company-owned Chili’s units declined from negative 1% in the week ended Oct. 28 to negative 13.8% in the week ended Dec. 2 before rebounding somewhat to negative 12.3% in the week ended Dec. 9.

Maggiano’s same-store sales for company-owned restaurants closed out the week ended Oct. 28 were down 34% and then waffled between negative 44.5% and 39.4% in November before plunging to negative 53.8% in the week ended Dec 2., and further falling to negative 63.9% the following week.

The guidance had projected same-store sales declines in the mid-single digits.

"While positive Chili's traffic in October generated a strong start to the quarter, the recent rise in COVID-19 cases has resulted in dining room closures and capacity limitations that will prevent us from achieving our plans for the second quarter," Brinker International CEO Wyman Roberts said in a press release. "As we work through this short-term change in the operational environment, we are confident in our continued ability to outperform the sector and the ability of our strategies to deliver long-term growth."

Brinker said same-store sales at Chili’s were on average 12% better than the casual-dining segment as a whole.

As of Oct. 28, around 92% of Chili’s restaurants and 90% of Maggiano’s had open dining rooms. Those figures declined as of Dec. 9 to around 77% of Chili’s and 69% of Maggiano’s.

There are a total of 1,607 Chili’s and 53 Maggiano’s restaurants worldwide.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

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