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BJ's Expands Further in Florida

Zacks Equity Research

In an attempt to expand its presence in the market of Florida, popular casual dining restaurateur BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (BJRI), recently unveiled a BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse outlet in Coral Springs, Fla. Apart from this unit, BJ's  operates two other restaurants in South Florida.

The restaurant, positioned at a pad site on North University Drive, marks BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse’s debut in Coral Springs. The 8,500 square feet restaurant accommodates around 280 diners at a time.

We believe that the spacious new unit with its signature food offerings including deep-dish pizza, handcrafted beer and famous Pizookie(R) dessert and contemporary ambience will add to the company’s sales.

In the past few years BJ’s strengthened its presence in the markets of California and Texas. However, it is now venturing into other potential markets that offer plenty of growth opportunities. Florida is a relatively newer market for the company with only 13 restaurants compared to 62 units in California.

The restaurant industry in Florida is considered as one of the largest in the U.S. According to the National Restaurant Association, the state’s restaurants are expected to record $33.3 billion in sales in 2013. We consider this opening favorable for BJ’s further expansion plans in the state.

Among the casual dining chains, BJ’s Restaurants is one of the few chains that have been expanding in an uncertain economy. The latest opening marks the ninth of the company’s targeted 17 new openings in 2013. In the long run, there still exists the possibility of opening at least 425 outlets in the U.S.

BJ’s currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Some other players in the restaurant industry which are expected to perform well, going ahead, include Burger King Worldwide, Inc. (BKW), Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD) and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (CBRL). All these companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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