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BJ's Restaurants Expands in Arkansas

Zacks Equity Research

Casual dining restaurateur, BJ's Restaurants, Inc. (BJRI) remains committed to expand its footprint in the U.S. The company recently opened another restaurant in Little Rock, AR — the second restaurant opening this year. The restaurant, opened under the company’s popular brand name BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, is spread over an area of 8,500 square feet.

Located in the heart of Shackleford Crossing shopping center, the restaurant can accommodate 280 guests and serves the popular BJ's menu including pizzas, beers, appetizers, entrees, pastas, sandwiches, salads and desserts.

Among the casual dining chains, BJ’s Restaurants is one of the few that have been expanding amid a sluggishly recovering economy. With the resurgence of consumer confidence, management accelerated its unit openings. Earlier, a BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse outlet was unveiled in Gainesville, VA. The company plans to open 425 restaurants with the next opening scheduled for mid-April in Texas.

The Arkansas economy is expected to modestly grow in 2014 and BJ's Restaurants is seeking to capitalize on the demand. BJ’s Restaurants plans stay afloat in the highly competitive restaurant market in the state (particularly in the Little Rock region) with extensive menu offerings and innovative pricing.

BJ’s Restaurants, which currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell), reported disappointing fourth-quarter 2013 adjusted earnings of 6 cents per share, down 77.7% year over year due to higher cost and expenses. A shortened holiday shopping season and the impact of a severe winter, also led to deteriorating comps, which affected the company’s results. However, we believe the restaurateur will be able to offset the declining comps with robust expansion strategies.

Investors interested in the restaurant industry may consider other better-ranked stocks such as The Wendy's Company (WEN), Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc. (IRG) and Buffalo Wild Wings Inc. (BWLD). While Wendy’s and Ignite Restaurant carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Buffalo Wild Wings has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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Read the Full Research Report on WEN
Read the Full Research Report on IRG

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