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McAlister's Deli sales rise on revamped offerings

McAlister's Deli sales rise on revamped offerings

Customers purchased more entrees at the fast-casual chain in the fourth quarter

McAlister’s Deli reported a same-store sales increase of 9.2 percent at company-owned restaurants during the fourth quarter of 2012, a jump the company attributes to a 7.6-percent increase in entree sales.

At franchised locations, same-store sales increased 8.2 percent for the quarter ended Dec. 30, and combined same-store sales jumped 8.3 percent. The quarter marked the company’s 10th consecutive quarter of positive same-store sales, said McAlister’s president and chief executive Frank Paci.

“It was mainly, I think, just the momentum that we’ve been building from the menu changes we made through 2011,” Paci said. In 2011, he said, the Alpharetta, Ga.-based fast-casual brand revamped its offerings and began serving higher-quality ingredients, such as better meats, breads like ciabatta and baguettes, and upgraded salads. Customers have responded by purchasing more entrees, he said.

McAlister's Club was a popular item during the quarter.

“We also had some good limited-time offers during the fourth quarter,” he said, noting that a twist on the company’s high-selling McAlister’s Club — an extra-meat king club sandwich — was a very popular item.

“We have also seen a bump in our catering sales,” he added, in the “8-percent range.”

Systemwide sales reached $419 million during 2012, and the company also added 12 new locations during the year, six of which opened during the fourth quarter.

The fourth quarter is a typically steady time for McAlister’s, Paci said. The brand’s slowest month is usually January and its busiest, generally, is August. “December is usually a pretty good period for us,” he said.

Because of the recession, consumers are more discerning about where they spend their food dollars, Paci said. McAlister’s, he added, has benefitted from being in the growing fast-casual segment.

“We’re giving a very high level of service compared with most other fast-casual operators out there,” he said.

For the full year, same-store sales rose 8 percent, increasing 8.4 percent at company-owned restaurants and 7.9 percent at franchised locations.

Eighty-five percent of McAlister’s 310 locations are franchised, Paci said.

Because the company isn’t publically traded, Paci said the McAlister’s doesn’t report all of its financial data. McAlister’s is owned by Atlanta-based private equity firm Roark Capital Group, which also owns Arby’s and Focus Brands Inc.

Contact Erin Dostal at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @ErinDostal

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