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Famous Dave’s shuttered 13 units since July

Famous Dave’s shuttered 13 units since July

The barbecue chain says it’s shifting focus to a franchise-only model

Struggling barbecue chain Famous Dave’s of America Inc. has closed at least 13 locations since July, according to the company’s published unit counts.

The Minneapolis-based casual-dining chain currently operates 154 locations, including 25 company units and 129 franchisee restaurants, according to its most recent release.

That’s down from 167 in July, when Dave’s operated 32 locations and franchisees 135. The numbers suggest Famous Dave’s closed seven units and franchisees shuttered another six. 

The company did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday. But executives have said in the past that they plan to get more aggressive about unit closures in the coming months, amid intense sales and profit pressure.

The company has also said it plans to sell all of its company units to franchisees.

“We simply cannot sustain the corporate structure required to effectively manage both our company owned and franchised operations,” CEO Mike Lister said on an earnings call in August. “We believe it is imperative that we shift our focus and attention to supporting our talented franchisees.”

Famous Dave’s has struggled in recent years amid a weak restaurant environment, numerous management changes and rising costs. In the second quarter ended July 2, for instance, the company reported a net loss of $1.3 million on $111 million in revenues.

The chain’s same-store sales have fallen each quarter since the second quarter of 2013. That includes a 3.2-percent decline at franchised units in the second quarter ended July 2.

Unit count, meanwhile, has been steadily declining. At the end of 2013 the system operated 194 locations.

That included 50 company-operated shops. While many of those company shops closed, Dave’s refranchised at least 12 of those locations.

It’s uncertain where the latest closures have come from. But based on local reports, Famous Dave’s closed a location in Bel Air, Md., in August and another near Fredericksburg, Va., closed last week.

Contact Jonathan Maze at [email protected]

Follow him on Twitter: @jonathanmaze

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