GREENWOOD VILLAGE, CO-After cutting back its restaurant openings in 2007, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers will accelerate its growth again in 2008, executives said at the company’s second quarter conference call.

In fiscal 2007, the company will open 25 to 26 new company-owned units, while franchisees are expected to open 14 to 15 new restaurants. The company opened 32 company-owned and 16 franchised restaurants last year. For 2008, Red Robin expects to open 30 to 33 new company-owned restaurants, with franchisees opening 13 to 15 new franchised restaurants.

“The pipeline is in very good shape,” said Dennis B. Mullen, chairman and CEO. More than half of the new openings next year will be in existing markets, and the company is now looking at endcap locations. However, the general ratio of 80% mall units to 20% non-mall should remain the same.

About 75% of the 2008 restaurants will be in Red Robin’s new prototype, created to save construction costs. The new design averages about 5,600 sf, and cuts back on lobby and kitchen space to allow more seating. Three units in the format already are open, with four more under construction.

In the second quarter, total revenues (including sales from company-owned restaurants, as well as franchisee royalties and fees) were $178.6 million, up 31.5% from 2006. Restaurant revenues were $174.9 million, up 32.4% from the same quarter last year. Comparable restaurant sales at company-owned restaurants rose 3.1%.

Net income for the quarter was $4.9 million, compared with $7.2 million last year. Earnings in 2007 were affected by several charges, including costs related to the acquisition of 15 restaurants from California franchisees, and to the settlement of California wage and hour litigation.

At quarter end, there were 240 company-owned and 133 franchised Red Robin restaurants.

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