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BJ’s boosts sales with low-cal dishes, more beer

Low-calorie menu items and offering more beer on tap helped boost sales in the second quarter for BJ’s Restaurants Inc., which Thursday reported a nearly 30-percent increase in profit.

For the quarter ended June 28, BJ’s posted net income of $8.2 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with $6.3 million, or 23 cents per share, for the same quarter a year ago.

Revenues grew 17 percent to $152.9 million on same-store sales that increased 6.9 percent.

The company recorded a pre-tax charge of about $1 million, or 3 cents per share, related to the settlement of employment practices lawsuits in California. The charge, however, was offset by a pre-tax gain of about $600,000, or 2 cents per share, related to a settlement agreement tied to the liquidation of its former auction rate securities portfolio.

During the quarter, BJ’s introduced a line of lower-calorie items called Enlightened Entrees, and expanded the number of beer taps in restaurants, said Jerry Deitchle, the chain’s chair and chief executive.

BJ’s has also successfully maintained its favorable unit economics as it grows, he said.

“At BJ’s, we continue to demonstrate our ability to grow from a small regional California restaurant company into a national restaurant company while preserving and expanding our four-wall restaurant level margins,” he said in a statement. “With only 108 restaurants open today in 13 states, we continue to believe that BJ’s’ best years are still well ahead of us.”

BJ’s has opened five new restaurants so far this year and the chain is on track for a total of 12 to 13 new locations before the year is out, Deitchle said.

Based in Huntington Beach, Calif., BJ’s operates 108 restaurants under the BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery, BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and BJ’s Pizza & Grill brand names.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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