Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group Inc.’s restaurant brands saw a slight increase in same-store sales in the fourth quarter, ended Dec. 25, the company said late Thursday as it released preliminary results.
Blended same-store sales for the Irving, Texas-based company in the quarter were essentially flat, up 0.2 percent for all four brands combined.
Same-store sales rose 1.9 percent at Barcelona Wine Bar and increased 1.6 percent at Bartaco, but they were down 0.1 percent at the Del Frisco’s Double Eagle and down 0.8 percent at Del Frisco’s Grille.
The preliminary earnings were released in the wake of Del Frisco’s announcement in December that its board was looking at strategic alternatives, including a possible sale of all or part of the company. Activist investor Engaged Capital LLC has been pressing for changes at the casual-dining parent.
Norman Abdallah, Del Frisco’s CEO, said the fourth-quarter preliminary sales results reflected weaker trends in November than October and linked those to menu launches and reduced marketing support.
“An upswing in December has encouragingly carried over year-to-date in 2019 across all four brands,” Abdallah said in a statement.
The holiday season saw a private-dining sales rise 8.9 percent at the Double Eagle and 13.8 percent at Del Frisco’s Grille during the quarter, he noted.
Del Frisco’s is scheduled to report fourth quarter and full-year 2018 earnings by early March, a Del Frisco’s spokesman said.
The company said it expected to report revenues between $124.3 million and $124.7 million for the 13-week fourth quarter, compared to $100.4 million in the prior-year period. The increase reflected the June 27 acquisition of Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco.
In September, Del Frisco’s agreed to sell its 14-unit Sullivan’s Steakhouse brand to Romano’s Macaroni Grill.
In the third quarter ended Sept. 25, Del Frisco’s net loss, with special charges, widened to $67.1 million, or a loss of $2.43 a share, from $1.8 million, or 8 cents a share, in the same period a year ago. Revenues increased 73.7 percent to $105.3 million from $60.6 million in the prior-year quarter.
In the third quarter, the company’s total same-store sales slipped 1.9 percent. By brand, same-store sales in that quarter were down 2.4 percent at the Double Eagle, down 7 percent at Bartaco, down 0.4 percent at Del Frisco’s Grille and up 2.5 percent at Barcelona.
During the fourth quarter, Del Frisco’s said it opened a Double Eagle in San Diego, Calif., two Bartacos in Fort Point, Mass., and Dallas; and two Grilles in Philadelphia and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Del Frisco’s operates 73 restaurants in 16 states and Washington, D.C.
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