Five restaurant companies updated same-store sales guidance Monday, indicating improvements in the past quarter and improved outlooks into this year.
Quarterly same-store sales increases of between 3.1 percent and 6.2 percent were reported in preliminary updates from Austin, Texas-based Chuy’s Holdings Inc., Spartanburg, S.C.-based Denny's Corp., Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kona Grill Inc. and Atlanta-based Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc.
The five brands issued guidance ahead of presentations Monday and Tuesday at the ICR XChange conference in Orlando, Fla.
Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder said global same-store sales for 2014 rose 6.2 percent, an increase from earlier guidance of 5 percent to 5.5 percent, through a combination of “menu innovation, media and messaging.”
In the fourth quarter, 2,379-unit Popeyes said global same-store sales increased 9.8 percent, compared with a 0.8-percent increase in the same period last year.
“We also continued expansion of our global footprint with the opening of 201 new Popeyes’ restaurants, a new milestone for the Popeyes system,” Bachelder said in a statement, compared with 194 new restaurants opened last year.
Popeyes closed 53 restaurants in fiscal 2014, resulting in net unit growth of 148 restaurants, compared with 126 net new restaurants in 2013.
In guidance, Popeyes said it plans to add 180 to 200 restaurants in fiscal 2015. The company will report earnings for the fiscal year ended Dec. 28, 2014, before the market opens Feb. 25.
Denny's, with 1,702 units, said domestic systemwide same-store sales for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 grew 4.7 percent, rising 4.6 percent at domestic franchised restaurants and increasing 5.8 percent at company-owned restaurants.
For the full year, the family-dining operator said systemwide same-store sales rose 2.8 percent, with an increase of 2.5 percent at franchised units and 4.2 percent at company-owned restaurants.
In fiscal 2014, Denny's said it opened 38 restaurants, including six international locations.
Based on preliminary results, Denny's increased its full-year 2014 guidance for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization to between $80 million and $82 million.
Denny’s will report earnings after markets close on Feb. 18.
Dunkin' Brands, parent to Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, said in a presentation filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange commission that while “comp-store sales growth was more challenging than expected” in 2014, it was still able to report positive results.
David Tarantino, an analyst with Baird Equity Research, said in a note to investors that Dunkin’s fourth-quarter same-store sales were “slightly better than recent expectations.” Dunkin' Donuts’ domestic same-store sales increased 1.6 percent for 2014, an increase from guidance of 1.4 percent offered in December.
“The positive variance versus the mid-December pre-announcement suggests a solid finish to the quarter,” Tarantino noted, adding that Baskin-Robbins' domestic fourth-quarter same-store sales showed “an impressive” 9.3-percent increase.
Dunkin’ said it expected 2015 same-store sales growth at its Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins units to range between 1 percent and 3 percent.
At the end of fiscal 2014, Dunkin' Brands had more than 11,300 Dunkin' Donuts units and more than 7,500 Baskin-Robbins locations.
“Dunkin' Donuts franchisees opened 405 net new domestic restaurants in 2014, including our much anticipated restaurants in Southern California, and remodeled another nearly 500 locations. Baskin-Robbins franchisees opened 17 net new locations,” said Nigel Travis, Dunkin’ Brands chairman and CEO, in a statement.
In 2015, the company expects to open between 410 and 440 Dunkin' Donuts restaurants and between five to 10 net new Baskin-Robbins locations.
Chuy's, Kona Grill
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Casual-dining Mexican concept Chuy’s said preliminary results indicated that same-store sales increased 3.8 percent in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, and 3.3 percent for fiscal 2014.
The 59-unit company said revenue in the quarter was $61.8 million, a 21.6-percent increase from $50.8 million reported in the same quarter of 2013. For the fiscal year, Chuy’s said preliminary results showed revenue of $245.1 million, an increase of 19.9-percent from $204.4 million in the same period a year ago.
Chuy’s said it expected to release full financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2014 in early March.
Kona Grill, a 30-unit American grill and sushi bar, said same-store sales in its fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 rose about 3.1 percent, compared with a 3.5-percent increase in the same quarter a year ago.
The company also reported that preliminary restaurant sales increased in the fourth quarter to $31.5 million, about 29-percent more than $24.5 million in the same quarter of last year.
For fiscal 2014, Kona Grill said restaurant sales increased about 21.2 percent, to $119.1 million, compared with $98.3 million for fiscal 2013.
The fiscal-year increase was driven by same-store sales of 3.8 percent and incremental sales from the opening of seven new Kona Grill restaurants since October 2013, the company said. Three of those units opened in the fourth quarter.
“For the fourth quarter of 2014, average weekly sales of our non-comp-base restaurants exceeded the average weekly sales of our comp-base restaurants, which is further evidence that our new design and real estate efforts are generating strong interest from our customers,” said Berke Bakay, Kona Grill president and CEO, in a statement.
Kona Grill has restaurants in 19 states.
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