Fiesta Restaurant's profit up 8 percent in 2Q

Fiesta Restaurant's profit up 8 percent on stronger sales, cost management

Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) -- Fiesta Restaurant Group Inc., which owns Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana fast-casual chains, said Wednesday that its net income rose 8 percent in the second quarter as sales increased and it kept expenses in check.

Sales at Pollo Tropical restaurants open at least 18 months rose 7. 8 percent, while the figure rose 4.5 percent at Taco Cabana restaurants. The gains were driven primarily by an increase in customer traffic at Pollo Tropical. At Taco Cabana, the increase was driven primarily by increased spending per visit.

Revenue at established restaurants is a key metric because it strips out the impact of newly opened or closed locations.

During the quarter, the Miami-based chain completed its tax-free spinoff from Carrols Restaurant Group Inc., Burger King's biggest franchisee. Carrols had spun off the unit to help fund its purchase of 278 additional Burger King locations.

For the three months ended July 1, Fiesta Restaurant Group earned $3.9 million, or 17 cents per share. That's compared with $3.6 million, or 16 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

Total revenue rose 6.3 percent to $128.8 million. The cost of sales improved to 32.2 percent, from 32.9 percent, in part because of menu price hikes.

The company owns and franchises about 300 Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana restaurants in the U.S and South America.

Shares of Fiesta closed down $1.05, or 6 percent, at $15.31.

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