Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group reported a third-quarter profit of $1.8 million Tuesday as the Southlake-based restaurant operator projected a strong holiday season and further expansion in 2015.
Revenue for the three months that ended Sept. 9 totaled $61.9 million, up 14.3 percent, but that was shy of analyst estimates of $62.5 million, according to Bloomberg News. Earnings per share of 8 cents met expectations and compared with a net loss of 2 cents a share a year ago.
The company maintained its guidance for the full year, with annual earnings per share in a range of 90 to 94 cents and comparable-restaurant sales growth of 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent. Del Frisco’s board approved a plan to repurchase up to $25 million in stock over the next three years. The company operates 44 Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille locations.
Shares of Del Frisco’s (ticker: DFRG) moved up 63 cents, or more than 3 percent, to $20.31 on Tuesday.
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CEO Mark S. Mednansky said Del Frisco’s core Double Eagle steakhouse chain recorded its 19th consecutive quarter of positive comparable-restaurant sales, with increases in average check and traffic counts.
Mednansky said executives “remain very optimistic with the overall performance, progress and growth potential” of its Del Frisco’s Grille chain, which has 14 locations, including in Fort Worth and Southlake, and is rapidly expanding.
During a conference call with analysts, Mednansky said he is optimistic about the holiday season, with bookings running ahead of normal. In response to a question about potential fallout from the Ebola outbreak, Mednansky said he has seen no impact.
“I’m flying every week and I haven’t seen any pullback on travel personally, and I can tell you we’re not seeing it in the restaurants,” he said.
Del Frisco’s recently opened a Double Eagle Steak House in Washington, D.C., and a Grille in North Bethesda, Md. It expects to open two Grille locations in the fourth quarter in Tampa, Fla., and Pasadena, Calif. Over the long term, Del Frisco’s believes it can open up to 170 Grilles.
In 2015, Del Frisco’s expects to open six to eight restaurants, including a Double Eagle Steak House near the Orlando Convention Center in Florida and five to seven Grilles, including one in Plano near Toyota’s new U.S. headquarters.