Sales at BJ’s Restaurants, the brewhouse-oriented casual-dining concept, recovered nicely despite COVID variant surges late in the year.
The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based concept saw a 38% increase in sales, from $786 million in 2020 to $1.085 billion in 2021, according to NRN’s Top 500.
“Despite the challenges, the passion and determination of our team members allowed BJ’s to generate average weekly sales of more than $125,000 the week before Christmas, which was our highest sales week of the year,” said Greg Levin, BJ’s CEO, in a year-end fourth quarter call. In the fourth quarter ended Dec. 28, total revenues increased 47.8% to $291.3 million.
Staffing was a challenge in 2021, but Levin noted that “fully staffed restaurants generated 4.4% positive comparable restaurant sales in the fourth quarter, compared to the same period in 2019, which was more than 10 percentage points better than restaurants still in the process of rebuilding their teams.”
Levin said the BJ’s concept, with in-house brewing capabilities, was differentiated in the casual-dining industry and would help it return to expansion.
“We are excited to accelerate new restaurant openings and continue to target as many as eight new restaurants in fiscal 2022,” he said. “We are also planning to remodel several existing locations to increase capacity to address guest demand, while further refining the polished-casual energy and excitement that appeals to a wide range of demographics and occasions based on our learnings from our guest research.”
BJ’s, founded in 1978, ended 2021 with 211 casual-dining restaurants in 29 states.
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