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ORLANDO-The third quarter was exciting for Ruth’s Chris Steak House Inc. The restaurant operator went public in August and hastily and temporarily relocated its corporate headquarters from flooded New Orleans to suburban Orlando.

Despite those momentous events, the company was able to keep its focus on operations and achieved a 9.3% increase in restaurant sales, which totaled $43.8 million, and a 10.6% increase in comp-store sales–the seventh consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth.

“Our company has been inconvenienced,” said president and CEO Craig Miller during a presentation at RBC Capital Markets Consumer Conference. “We had to make some quick decisions to keep our business running.” However, he added that the company’s 90-plus restaurants overall were impacted very little by Hurricane Katrina. Ten restaurants in New Orleans remained closed today.

During the third quarter, Ruth’s Chris Steak House opened one company-owned restaurant in Roseville, CA and one franchised restaurant in Atlantic City, NJ. The restaurant operator plans to open two additional company-owned locations and one franchised location. The company’s expansion plans for the next few yearsare more robust, Miller said. “We’re growing,” he pointed out, adding that the company will build 15 new restaurants per year for the “foreseeable future.”

Miller noted that Ruth’s Chris is targeting expansion in three regions–California, the Southeast and Northeast. “That’s where a lot of our customers are, particularly in California,” he said.

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