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First Watch has been keeping a steady pace of growth.

First Watch surpasses $1 billion sales milestone

The Florida-based breakfast and brunch chain also reported 5% same-store sales growth despite traffic declines for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31

First Watch Restaurant Group continues to reach fiscal milestones for the growing breakfast and brunch chain. The Bradenton, Fla.-based company announced it had surpassed $1 billion in sales by the end of the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, nearly doubling its sales total since 2019. First Watch also reported 5% same-store sales growth amid 1.3% in-store restaurant traffic declines related to an expected decline in off-premises sales. Traffic growth overall was up 7.5% for the year, despite the dip in traffic toward the end of the year.

“Having grown to 524 restaurants, we recognize and embrace our leadership position in daytime dining,” CEO Chris Tomasso said during Tuesday’s fourth quarter earnings call. “We were an early pioneer and first mover in this now well-established segment. We'll continue to maximize our first-mover advantage, leverage our significant scale and lean on our 40-year operating history of focusing on superior execution and quality strategic growth to widen our competitive moat.”

In addition to fiscal milestones for both the quarter and 2023 year to date, Tomasso also announced First Watch’s foray and expansion into two new markets: Las Vegas and New England. He added that the company is “deep into negotiations” for stores in these markets.

Thus far this quarter, First Watch announced the completion of its rollout of tableside payment technology through a QR code on receipts.

“Last week alone, more than 125,000 customers elected to use this new feature,” Tomasso said. “Assuming 30 seconds saved per transaction at the register, we saved over 1,000 customer and employee hours. Pay-at-the-table is yet another initiative, along with back-of-house technology like KDS and front-of-house technology like our waitlist functionality that positions us to serve more demand.”

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, First Watch reported total revenues of $244.6 million, up 31.7% from $185.7 million. Net income increased to $2.7 million, or $0.04 earnings per share, as compared with a loss of $0.5 million, or $0.01 per share the same quarter the year prior.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]m

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