News Column

Chuy's 2nd quarter revenue jumps 18 percent

August 5, 2014

By Gary Dinges, Austin American-Statesman

Aug. 05--

Diners eager to get their Tex-Mex fix helped boost second quarter revenue for Austin-based Chuy's Holdings Inc. by 18.4 percent, the company said Tuesday.

For the quarter, revenue was $63.3 million, rising from $53.4 million during the same three months in 2013.

The $9.9 million jump was in large part attributable to sales generated at newly opened restaurants, Chuy's executives said. A total of 13 new locations have come online in the past year.

Comparable restaurant sales were up, coming in 2.4 percent higher than last year. The average check increased by 1.5 percent and the average number of weekly customers grew by .9 percent.

"We maintained our top-line momentum in the second quarter," president and CEO Steve Hislop said in a written statement. "Our made-from-scratch, Tex-Mex-inspired menu, commitment to value and upbeat, irreverent atmosphere continue to clearly resonate with our guests."

Net income for the quarter was 21 cents per diluted share, compared to 19 cents per diluted share last year.

The company's shares closed down 1.9 percent Tuesday, at $26.01. The share price dropped another 3.8 percent in after-hours trading following the earnings release.

Challenges the company has faced in recent months, according to Hislop, include higher labor costs related to opening additional locations and increases in food prices for some beef, dairy and produce items. Hislop said he expects those issues to persist into the next quarter.

Chuy's, which started in 1982 with a single location on Barton Springs Road, currently has 56 restaurants in 14 states. The chain remains in expansion mode, Hislop said. Three Chuy's restaurants opened during the second quarter, located in Noblesville, Ind.; Jacksonville, N.C.; and Midlothian, Va.

Already during the third quarter, two additional locations have opened -- one each in San Antonio and Kennesaw, Ga.

"Our 2014 development plan, which now includes 11 new units -- versus a range of 10 to 11 units previously -- is on track," Hislop said. "Our development strategy will include opening 80 percent of our new units in 2014 through 2015 in markets with existing Chuy's restaurants. We believe this strategy will continue to drive awareness for the Chuy's brand and provide a solid geographic footprint for continued growth."

Locations under development include ones in Fairfax, Va.; Springfield, Va.; and Sugar Land, southwest of Houston.

For fiscal 2014, Chuy's Holdings said it is projecting diluted net income per share to range between 76 cents and 78 cents. Comparable restaurant sales are expected to increase between 2.3 percent and 2.6 percent.


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Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)

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