Luby’s Inc. narrowed its loss in the first quarter ended Dec. 16 on increased sales at its cafeteria, and its Fuddruckers and Cheeseburger in Paradise brands, the company reported Thursday.

The San Antonio-based multi-concept and contract services provider reported a net loss of $1.6 million, or 6 cents per share, compared with a loss of $4.4 million, or 11 cents per share, in the same period last year. Revenue increased 39 percent, to $120.7 million, from $86.9 million in last year’s quarter.

The company said total same-store sales increased 1.4 percent, including 1.2 percent at its Luby’s Cafeterias, 1.3 percent at Fuddruckers and 5.5 percent at the eight-unit Cheeseburger in Paradise concept. The two combination Luby’s-Fuddruckers locations in the comparison base logged a 1.3-percent decline in same-store sales, the company said.

“We’re pleased with the positive momentum and the increased operational performance at all of our brands,” Chris Pappas, Luby’s president and CEO, said in an earnings call Friday morning with analysts. “Our teams are executing better at the store level.”

Pappas reiterated the company’s emphasis on operational improvements, which it was executing with investments in coaching training and leadership building.

“Our strategy is to drive value by achieving operational excellence through our leadership development and training, and to realize efficient cost management,” Pappas said.

In the first quarter, the company opened two owned Fuddruckers units in Wisconsin and Indiana, and franchisees opened six Fuddruckers locations.

The company is looking for two more combo sites in the Southern markets, Pappas said. In the first quarter, combo-location sales grew to $7 million, representing 6.2 percent of the company’s total restaurant sales

As of Dec. 16, Luby’s owned and operated 179 restaurants, including 93 Luby’s Cafeteria units, 77 Fuddruckers locations, eight Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurants and one Bob Luby’s Seafood Grill unit. The company franchises 111 Fuddruckers units and licenses another 35 locations of that brand.

Luby’s Culinary Contract Services provides food service management to 27 healthcare, higher education and corporate-dining locations.

Contact Ron Ruggless at ronald.ruggless@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless