Smile and Say Cheese-cake
CALABASAS HILLS, CA—Look for The Cheesecake Factory to spread its million-calorie desserts (okay, I exaggerate, but not by much) around the United States and the world even faster next year, according to its second quarter conference call.
“I certainly think it’s possible,” Chairman and CEO David Overton said. “We can do more next year than last, and we’d like to.”
Plans call for up to 10 new company-owned restaurants this year, as well as international expansion. The first Cheesecake Factory just opened in Mexico and the company has signed a franchise agreement with Hong Kong-based Maxim’s Caterers Limited with the expectation of opening at least 14 restaurants in Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and China.
The chain downsized its prototype from 10,000 square feet to 7,500 square feet to 8,000 square feet in recent years to permit it to enter smaller markets, all with a goal of 300 restaurants.
“While we are positioned to open restaurants at a faster pace, we remained focused on A+ premier sites that can hit targeted returns,” Overton said.
The company posted a 1.2 percent comp-store sales increase, but continued to gain market share while opening new restaurants in Metairie, LA, and a relocated unit in Atlanta. Net income per share was $0.61, up from $0.54 last year.
The one less-than-bright note remains the Grand Lux Café brand, which has not posted consisted positive comps, declining 2.7 percent in the last quarter. Still, a new unit will open next year and Overton said the company “hopes to grow it.”
After writing about closures lately, it’s good to see growth.