News Column

Food Costs, Sluggish Economy Hurt Famous Dave's

Feb 15, 2013

Jackie Crosby

High commodity prices and lackluster interest by diners resulted in a slow fourth-quarter for Famous Dave's of America Inc.

Revenue for the quarter ended Dec. 30 decreased by 3.2 percent to $36.3 million compared with a year earlier.

John Gilbert, who took over as CEO in October, said that while results fell short of expectations, the company is moving to cut costs and realign operations, including its capital budget, to better position it for future growth.

The Minnetonka-based company launched a digital services arm during the quarter, and said it plans to drive future results from smarter pricing decisions, data-driven promotions and improved cost management.

Sales dropped 4 percent at franchise-owned restaurants, which represent about a quarter of the 188 locations. Sales at company-owned restaurants opened at least a year dropped 6 percent.

Famous Dave's earnings benefited from a two-year cumulative tax credit adjustment. Earnings per share were 10 cents, on revenue of $750,000, but the benefit from the employment tax credit accounted for about 4 cents of the boost. Earnings for the same period in 2011 were 5 cents per share.

For the year, Famous Dave's saw profit plunge 21.4 percent, to $4.4 million, or 57 cents per share, including the noncash charge.

Famous Dave's is working on a new restaurant prototype to expand into new markets. During 2013, it plans to open 17 new locations, including its first in Puerto Rico. That will push its footprint to 200 locations.

During the quarter, it closed franchise-owned restaurants in Baxter, Minn., and Burnsville. The company plans to relocate the Burnsville restaurant in the coming months.

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Distributed by MCT Information Services



Source: (c) 2013 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis)


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