BJ’s Restaurants Inc. reported Thursday a 10-percent increase in second-quarter profit, and the chain said it would expand the test of its first-ever television advertising campaign.
The Huntington Beach, Calif.-based casual-dining chain reported net income of $9 million, or 31 cents per share, for the July 3-ended quarter, compared with $8.2 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.
Results included pre-tax charges related to the settlement of a trademark lawsuit, and the write-off related to the closure of a small-format restaurant in Colorado that is relocating to a larger-format site.
Revenues increased 18 percent to $180.7 million on same-store sales that grew 4.4 percent for the quarter.
Jerry Deitchle, BJ’s chair and chief executive, said the 123-unit chain continues to be a “steady market share taker” driven by new restaurant expansion and increasing same-store sales.
“Our 4.4-percent increase in comparable restaurant sales represented our tenth consecutive quarter of increases on that metric,” he said. “At BJ’s, we are sales builders first and foremost, and we intend to continue executing our planned sales-building initiatives while, at the same time, working effectively to preserve our current high-quality four-wall restaurant operating margins as we execute our national expansion plan.”
The same-store sales increase consisted of a 3.2-percent increase in menu prices, as well as 0.8-percent traffic growth and an increase of 0.4 percent from the menu mix, indicating that higher-end entrees like steaks and seafood are selling well.
BJ’s also began testing TV advertising for the first time during a three-week campaign in Sacramento, where a cluster of six restaurants are located. Seeing positive results, the company said it plans to expand the trial to two or three more markets.
During the quarter, the company opened five new restaurants, including three in Texas and two in BJ’s home state of California. Another five are scheduled to open during the third quarter, including the Colorado relocation, and as many as four more are expected to open during the fourth quarter.
Deitchle said he envisions BJ’s could grow to 425 large-format locations domestically. “We believe that the majority of our growth remains well ahead of us,” he said.