Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. swung to a loss in its first quarter ended March 31, with weather impacting sales at its Joe’s Crab Shack concept, the company reported Wednesday.
The Houston-based casual-dining operator said winter weather hit coastal-themed Joe’s especially hard, denting sales by between 5 percent and 6 percent compared with last year. Joe’s revenue was $105.3 million during the first quarter, versus $106.6 million in the prior year. Same-store sales fell 6 percent.
“Of our three brands, Joe’s Crab Shack not only felt the greatest impact from weather, but was also most impacted by the Easter calendar shift,” Ray Blanchette, Ignite’s chief executive, said in a statement. “Still, we believe Joe’s long-term fundamentals remain intact and the onset of warmer weather provides our guests the ability to enjoy our surfside décor, outdoor patios and new summer Beach Bakes.”
During the first quarter, Ignite closed two Romano’s Macaroni Grill locations. It acquired the brand last April. In 2014, Ignite expects to open as many as three new Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants and convert as many as five Macaroni Grill locations to its Brick House Tavern + Tap brand.
Ignite had 333 restaurants as of March 31, including 177 Macaroni Grill locations, 136 Joe’s Crab Shack outlets and 20 Brick House units.
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