SYRACUSE, NY—In spite of slow and declining comp store sales at its Hispanic Brands units, Carrols Restaurant Group remains committed to expanding Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana, executives said at its second quarter conference call on Friday. The company plans to expand those brands by approximately 10% annually, opening a total of 16 to 20 new units this year. That is a slight drop from original estimates, as some openings have shifted into 2008 due to construction delays, the executives said.

“The underlying fundamentals of our Hispanic Brands business are strong, and we can withstand near-term challenges,” said Alan Vituli, chairman and CEO. For the year, the company expects to open seven to nine Pollo Tropical restaurants, nine to 11 Taco Cabana restaurants and two to four new Burger King restaurants (actually existing units to be relocated). The company also plans to close three Burger King restaurants in addition to the relocations and three Taco Cabana restaurants. During the quarter, Carrols opened three Pollo Tropicals, one Taco Cabana and closed one Burger King.

Total revenues increased 5.2% to $200.4 million from $190.6 million, including a 6.5% increase for the company’s Hispanic Brands. Comparable-restaurant sales rose 5.3% over the previous year at Burger King and 1.2% at Pollo Tropical, and declined 0.5% at Taco Cabana. Net income was $5.1 million, compared to net income of $3.1 million last year.

As of June 30, the company operated a total of 548 restaurants, including 326 Burger King, 80 Pollo Tropical and 142 Taco Cabana restaurants.

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