Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. reported gains in first-quarter same-store sales and earnings based on the strength of traffic increases, solid sales at new locations and at units acquired from franchisees last year.
For the March 25-ended first quarter, the company reported net income of $18.2 million, or 98 cents per share, up 22.8 percent from $14.9 million, or 81 cents per share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 37.9 percent to $251.1 million, reflecting a same-store sales gain of 9.2 percent at company-operated restaurants and 7.3 percent at franchised locations.
“We are pleased with our solid start in 2012,” said Sally Smith, the company’s president and chief executive. “The combination of strong same-store sales, new restaurant performance and sales from franchised restaurants acquired in 2011 fueled our substantial revenue increase. We continued to invest in the infrastructure necessary to support our expansion in North America and internationally. Through leveraging expenses at the restaurant level, we limited the impact of higher wing costs.”
Restaurant analyst David Tarantino at Robert W. Baird & Co. estimated in a research note that Buffalo Wild Wings' 9.2-percent jump in same-store sales likely included 1.8 percent of increased menu pricing and an estimated 7.4 percent of traffic gains. He also noted that the company previously indicated first-quarter same-store sales had been running nearly 13 percent positive through the first six weeks of the period, including an estimated 3-percent benefit from greater redemption of gift cards.
Smith added that through the first four weeks of the second quarter, same-store sales are up 6.7 percent at company-operated restaurants and up 6.6 percent at franchised units.
Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings operates 319 restaurants and franchises another 498 locations in 46 states and Canada.