BJ's Restaurants Inc. posted Thursday a 19.7-percent increase in profit for the first quarter, and executives looked forward to a new menu introduction in May and the debut of a new guest loyalty program in July.
The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based casual-dining operator said income rose to $8.6 million, or 31 cents a share, in the first quarter, which ended April 3, up from $7.2 million, or 26 cents a share, in last year’s quarter. Revenues were up 15.7 percent, to $167.6 million from $144.9 million in the prior-year period.
The company said it will roll out of several sales-building initiatives this year, including a new menu in May and a “state-of-the-art” guest loyalty program in July. The company will also launch its first television advertising in the Sacramento, Calif., market in May.
Jerry Deitchle, BJ’s chairman and chief executive, said in a prepared statement: “Our double-digit increase in total revenues was the result of the continued successful execution of our new restaurant expansion program in a high-quality manner, coupled with our ninth consecutive quarter of growth in comparable restaurant sales.”
BJ’s reported same-store sales increased 3.3 percent in the first quarter, compared to a 7.8-percent increase last year.
Deitchle attributed that same-store sales increase “to the steadily increasing popularity of the BJ's restaurant concept with consumers, combined with the productive and efficient execution of the concept by our restaurant operators in driving guest traffic during the quarter.”
BJ’s opened two new restaurants during the quarter: One in Clearwater, Fla., and another in Salinas, Calif., bringing the total to 118.
"Our 2012 new restaurant development pipeline remains in excellent shape as of today,” Deitchle said, “and we are now focusing on building a solid pipeline of high-quality locations for potential 2013 and 2014 restaurant openings.” BJ’s plans to open five new restaurants in the second quarter, one of which has already opened in Dublin, Calif. In addition, the company will open as many as six new restaurants in the third quarter, including a relocation of a smaller-format unit, and three in the fourth quarter.
BJ's Restaurants operates its 118 restaurants under the BJ's Restaurant & Brewery, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, BJ's Pizza & Grill and BJ's Grill brands. While its home state of California remains its most-penetrated market with 58 units, it also has 24 units in Texas, nine in Florida and half a dozen or fewer units in 10 other states.