*Quarters ended closest to June 30, 2019, or from May 26 through July 14, 2019, with 68 of 73 tracked systems or divisions reporting as of Aug. 26
**Excludes Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen global results
With 1.5% same-store-sales growth for the fourth quarter ended June 26, Brinker International Inc.’s company-operated Chili’s Grill & Bar restaurants achieved overall fiscal 2019 improvement of 2.3% — its first positive annual comps in three years. Fiscal 2018, 2017 and 2016 saw comps declines of 1.1%, 2.3% and 2.6%, respectively. Chili’s has streamlined its menu, built takeout business, pursued a third-party delivery partnership and adjusted its discount meal bundle. Brinker CEO Wyman Roberts noted the “focus on improving the guest experience and providing everyday value is a long-term strategy that continues to deliver solid results.”
A 5.7% same-store sales decline in its June 30-ended quarter was evidence Papa John’s International Inc.’s North American system remained challenged in rebuilding sales following controversy around founder and former chief executive John Schnatter that began back in 2017. Though that decline was an improvement from the year-earlier 6.1% comps decrease and the first quarter’s 6.9% erosion, the company’s board, apparently impatient with the rate of progress, in late August appointed Rob Lynch president and chief executive. Lynch, most recently president of Arby’s, replaced Steve Ritchie, a carryover from Schnatter’s tenure who was named CEO in early 2018.