Fiesta Restaurant Group saw its net income rise 50 percent during the third quarter of 2012, which officials attributed to remodeled stores, a focus on good food and value, and increased foot traffic.
For the quarter ending September 30, the parent to the Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana chains reported net income at $3.6 million, or $0.16 per share, compared to $2.4 million, or $0.10 per share, a year earlier, for a $1.2-million increase.
Total revenue increased 5.8 percent to $128.2 million for the quarter, compared to $121.2 million in the year-earlier period.
During the same period, same-store sales rose 7 percent at Pollo Tropical restaurants, and 1.8 percent at Taco Cabana locations. The third quarter marked the twelfth consecutive quarter of increased same-store sales for Pollo Tropical and the ninth for Taco Cabana.
The increase in same-store sales at Pollo Tropical was directly related to a customer traffic increase of 5.9 percent during the quarter, Taft said. He also noted that this quarter's increase in same-store sales at Taco Cabana is due, in part, to the company’s focus on its under $5 menu and other marketing initiatives.
“We also rolled out a happy hour program geared toward boosting weekday traffic,” he said. “With half-price nachos and $1.50 margaritas from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., these efforts have resonated very well with our customers.”
In addition, the Addison, Texas-based company is focusing on remodeling Taco Cabana locations in San Antonio and Houston, adding flat-screen televisions, salsa bars, and a host who brings customers their food rather than making them come to the counter to pick it up.
Fiesta plans to open 14 to 17 company-owned restaurants in 2013. Two-thirds of those units will be Pollo Tropical restaurants and one-third of them will be Taco Cabana restaurants, Taft said.
“Next year, Pollo Tropical will mark its initial entry into the Nashville, Tenn. market, along with continued development in Atlanta and further penetration across Florida and an eye to the west,” he said. Taco Cabana, he said, will continue to focus on further development within Texas.
During 2013, Taft said Pollo Tropical will open its first franchised store in India, as well. “Interestingly, the brand already has years of experience with Persian preferences in our Trinidad franchise,” Taft said, adding that South Asian immigrants make up about 30 percent of the country’s population.
On May 7, Fiesta spun off from Syracuse, N.Y.-based Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., which is the nation’s largest Burger King franchisee.
As of Sept. 20, there were 166 Taco Cabana locations, six of which were franchised, and 125 Pollo Loco locations, 35 of which were operated by franchisees.