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Edited Transcript of RRGB earnings conference call or presentation 25-Feb-20 10:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc Earnings Call

GREENWOOD VILLAGE Mar 7, 2020 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, February 25, 2020 at 10:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Lynn S. Schweinfurth

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer

* Paul J. B. Murphy

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director

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Conference Call Participants

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* Alexander Russell Slagle

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst

* Brian M. Vaccaro

Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - VP

* Christopher Thomas O'Cull

Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst

* Gregory Ryan Francfort

BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Associate

* Jon Michael Tower

Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good afternoon, everyone, and welcome to the Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. Fourth Quarter 2019 Earnings Call. Please note that today's call is being recorded.

During the course of this conference call, management may make forward-looking statements about the company's business outlook and expectations. These forward-looking statements and all other statements that are not historical facts reflect management's beliefs and predictions as of today, and therefore, are subject to risks and uncertainties as described in the safe harbor discussion found in the company's SEC filings. During the call, the company will also discuss non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP measures are not prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, but are intended to illustrate an alternative measure of the company's operating performance that may be useful. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in the earnings release. The company has posted its fiscal fourth quarter 2019 earnings release and supplemental financial information related to the results on its website at www.redrobin.com in the Investor Relations section.

Now I would like to turn the call over to Red Robin's CEO, Paul Murphy.

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [2]

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Good afternoon, and thank you for being with us today. I'm joined by Lynn Schweinfurth, our Chief Financial Officer; who will review our quarterly financial results and annual guidance.

Let me begin by briefly addressing Q4 within the context of our strengthening business. We were encouraged to see our second consecutive quarter of positive comparable restaurant revenue. As anticipated, we achieved this top line performance while intentionally unwinding discounting and with reduced year-over-year marketing spend. You may recall that we allocated more of our annual marketing spend to the third quarter in 2019, when we launched our new omnichannel creative campaign. You can see from our Q4 results that the campaign continues to resonate and drive sales momentum.

Importantly, the sales momentum has continued into 2020. We also believe our core business and turnaround process is taking shape as evidenced by improvements in key performance indicators, such as staffing, retention, ticket times and ultimately, our guest satisfaction scores.

2019 was a period of diagnosis, change and setting the foundation. In 2020, we are executing our 4-point plan to accelerate our turnaround and drive long-term value creation for all constituents. The elements of this plan are as follows: one, recapturing the soul of the Red Robin brand; two, delivering the brand promise; three, telling our story to reinforce emotional connections and core brand equities; and four, accelerating profitable growth.

Recapturing the soul of our brand is about clarifying Red Robin's positioning and ensuring that our guest experience aligns with why guests choose Red Robin for their meal occasion. What we learned in Q4, through our research, is that our guests defined a Red Robin experience through 4 criteria that enable them to create memorable moments of connection.

These are: one, the flavor of Americana on the menu through gourmet burgers and other favorites; two, the family-friendly and playful atmosphere that connects people not only around the table but also with team members; three, the spirit of sharing brought to life by our Bottomless Steak Fries, Towering Onion Rings and more recently, in test markets, with Donatos pizza; and four, engaged service that offers the gift of time where guests have the ability to determine their pace of experience during their Red Robin visit.

Importantly, these are all actionable items, which we are emphasizing to our general managers and field leadership must be delivered to our guests. When these items are executed consistently at a high level, our guests become our strongest brand advocates and, in turn, increase their frequency of dining at Red Robin.

In delivering the brand promise and moments of connection, we are implementing a new service model in 2020, which is designed to improve the functionality of our service while elevating our hospitality. SAMs, the handheld POS terminals, are a foundational element of the new service model. In combination with the new service model, we are receiving positive feedback from our operators in test locations, including a reduction in ticket times and increasing our top line sales performance.

Turning to menu rationalization. We believe that by rationalizing our menu size, we can improve both ordering experience and overall guest satisfaction through reduced ticket times and consistent high-quality execution in the heart of the house. Our investments in technology are critical to us connecting with our guests, both in and outside of our restaurants, and strengthening our ability to leverage Red Robin royalty, which is already one of the largest loyalty programs in casual dining with more than 9 million members.

In Q4, we began testing marketing automation as part of our loyalty platform upgrade initiative with e-mail offers targeted by visit frequency and purchase behavior. Initial results are very encouraging, and we continue to optimize the effectiveness and profitability of this functionality through testing.

Finally, restaurant manager staffing remains above 98%. General manager, manager and hourly turnover are consistently trending downwards, and both general manager and manager turnover are now exceeding our best-in-class target benchmarks. These metrics correlate positively to guest satisfaction as retention and staffing improves, guest satisfaction rises.

Telling our story to reinforce emotional connections and core brand equities, the third part of our plan is about aligning our messaging with the brand. In Q3 last year, we launched the All the Fulls omnichannel campaign, which is driving guest engagement and an emotional connection with Red Robin, as it showcases the Americana aspect of our menu, coupled with our family-friendly and playful atmosphere.

Previous to this campaign, our message was largely price-driven. Yet in research, guests told us it was moments of connection that activated their use of Red Robin, not just price. When we corrected this messaging misalignment, Red Robin scored as one of the top 2 brands for search engagement volume across all casual dining during our Q4 media flight. Notably, social engagement doubled year-over-year with increased positive sentiment. And therefore, we are allocating increased resources to social and digital channels in 2020.

Accelerating profitable sales growth represents the fourth and final part of our plan. We will accomplish this through several means, beginning with growing our off-premise business, including to-go, catering, third-party marketplaces with delivery services and Red Robin delivery. Red Robin delivery was rolled out nationally in January to the majority of our company-operated restaurants. Guests ordered directly from Red Robin, but the deliveries outsourced to a third party, and this offers us three advantages.

One, the economics are favorable; two, we retain guest data; and three, guests can use the Red Robin Royalty program, which is particularly important as 30% of our business is driven through the loyalty program. Continued growth of our off-premise business in the future will be supported by our new digital platform, which we believe will enhance the guest ordering experience and order completion rates, along with other initiatives and process focused on improving our to-go and delivery execution within the restaurants.

We are also enhancing our menu with the introduction of Donatos pizza to our system over the next 3 years. We believe this menu enhancement will drive frequency, appetizer sales and delivery as has been successfully demonstrated in our test markets. And finally, we are developing a new restaurant prototype to drive profitable development in the future. We plan to open our first restaurant, utilizing this new prototype design in early 2021. The new prototype will further inform our restaurant refreshes going forward as well.

Before I turn it over to Lynn, I want to comment on our recent announcement appointing Allison Page to our Board of Directors. Allison is an accomplished industry executive and currently serves as the Co-Founder and President of SevenRooms. She brings a unique consumer lens to revolutionizing the restaurant guest experience, and we look forward to benefiting from Allison's expertise.

Finally, we are laser-focused on maximizing value for all shareholders. We have identified significant and achievable opportunities, have a clear path forward and our turnaround is already in process and building. Our top line momentum is continuing, our operational metrics are rising, our creative campaign is working and we have proven and tested profitable sales catalyst to positively impact our business.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Lynn.

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [3]

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Thank you, Paul, and good afternoon, everyone. As we turn around our performance and invest in the business, we are encouraged by our improving sales trajectory in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Comparable restaurant revenues increased 1.3%, which, as Paul mentioned, marked our second consecutive quarter of positive comparable sales growth. The Q4 improvement was driven by a 4.7% increase in average check, partially offset by a 3.4% decline in guest traffic. Overall, pricing increased 1.8%, while we also realized an additional 1.8% increase from our decision to lower discounting. Mix increased by 1.1%, driven by our menu and promotional strategies put in place this year, resulting in lower Tavern mix and higher Gourmet and Finest mix.

Q4 total company revenues decreased 1.2% to $302.9 million, down $3.8 million from a year ago, driven primarily from 18 fewer restaurants due to closures during 2019. Dine-in sales were down 3.8%, partially offset by off-premise sales growth. Off-premise sales growth continues to be meaningful and rose 26.9% in Q4, representing 13.9% of total food and beverage sales.

Catering continues to be an important growing sales category with material long-term potential, delivering approximately 12% growth in the fourth quarter over the same quarter in 2018. Our sales team is focusing on, among other things, driving business-to-business national accounts, supporting recurring catering occasions and refining our core catering menu, including expanding our carbonated beverage offerings.

Q4 restaurant-level operating profit, as a percentage of restaurant revenue, was 18.9%, down 50 basis points versus a year ago, driven by the following factors: cost of sales of 23% improved by 60 basis points compared to a year ago; and improved sequentially compared to Q3, as anticipated, primarily driven by lower pork and steak fried cost, partially offset by unfavorable ground beef costs.

Restaurant labor costs of 34.5% were favorable 20 basis points versus a year ago, due primarily to lower group insurance costs in Q4, partially offset by higher average wage rates of approximately 5% and higher manager staffing levels within the restaurants. Other operating costs increased 110 basis points to 14.7%, due primarily to third-party delivery commissions, driven by higher delivery sales and higher restaurant technology costs compared to a favorable adjustment in Q4 2018.

Occupancy costs increased 20 basis points to 8.9%, due primarily to higher general liability costs in Q4 2019, partially offset by decreases in rent due to fewer company-owned restaurant locations since the fourth quarter of 2018.

General and administrative costs increased 40 basis points to 6.4% of total revenues, driven primarily by increased team member salaries and benefits, partially offset by decreases in miscellaneous corporate expenses.

Selling expenses decreased 30 basis points to 5.4% of total revenues due primarily to a decrease in local media spend due, in part, to higher spending in Q3 to support the launch of our new creative campaign.

Net interest expense and other was $0.9 million lower versus the prior year, due primarily to a higher gain in our deferred compensation plan assets compared to the same period a year ago as well as a reduction in interest expense. Our weighted average interest rate was 5.1%.

The quarter-over-quarter unfavorable change in the effective tax rate is due primarily to GAAP requirements for calculating taxes on a quarterly basis. This Q4 expense is in the range of where we expect it to be based on the tax benefit we booked Q3 year-to-date and where we expected our full year tax benefit to be.

During the quarter, we recognized net other charges of $4.1 million, which included charges of $1.4 million related to restaurant closures and refranchising costs, $1 million related to asset impairments, $0.8 million in board and stockholder matter costs, $0.5 million in executive transition and severance costs and $0.4 million in executive retention costs.

Q4 adjusted EBITDA was $26.7 million as compared to $28.4 million in Q4 2018, and Q4 adjusted loss per diluted share was $0.36 as compared to adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.43 in Q4 2018.

Now turning to the balance sheet. We invested $24.2 million in CapEx in Q4, which was primarily related to investments in information technology, facilities improvements and costs related to our rollout of Donatos. In the fourth quarter, we completed the rollout of handheld POS terminals that, along with headsets, will enable our team members to deliver an even better guest experience, fundamental to the rollout of our service model. We ended the quarter with $30 million in cash and cash equivalents. Our lease adjusted leverage ratio was 4.72x, and we were in compliance with all debt covenants.

During the quarter, we drew $18 million on our revolving credit facility, resulting in a quarter-end outstanding debt balance of $206 million in addition to letters of credit outstanding of $7.5 million. In early January, we refinanced our revolving debt agreement with our lenders. We now have in place a 5-year $300 million credit facility, which provides ample liquidity through early 2025 to fund our operational and strategic capital needs and provides capital allocation flexibility and surety.

Our capital allocation strategy focuses on disciplined investment in growth projects, including Donatos, reinvestment in maintaining our restaurants and infrastructure, paying down debt and return of capital to our stockholders through increased share repurchases.

We intend to use at least 50% of our free cash flow to delever our balance sheet and return capital to stockholders by increasing share repurchases under our existing $75 million authorization. During the fourth quarter, we bought back approximately 34,800 shares for a total of approximately $1 million.

Turning to our real estate portfolio. In the third quarter and during our earnings call, we announced the strategic decision to exit company operations in Canada. As a result, during the fourth quarter, we closed our 5 remaining restaurants in the Edmonton area and refranchised the remaining 12 restaurants in British Columbia to an experienced restaurant operator. In 2019, the Canada restaurants generated $38.6 million in restaurant revenues and $0.5 million in restaurant-level operating profit.

We continue to assess our restaurant portfolio and are continuing to develop a refined restaurant prototype that optimizes both the dine-in and off-premise restaurant experience for future development and restaurant refreshes and remodels. We have included our guidance for 2020 as published in our earnings release this afternoon. We expect to commit between $50 million and $60 million to CapEx spend in 2020 and expect adjusted EBITDA of at least $101 million, flat to 2019.

Consistent with what we announced at the ICR Investor Conference in January, we expect low single digit positive comparable restaurant revenue growth in 2020. We further expect that incremental restaurant-level operating profit will be offset by preopening expenses, marketing and project expenses associated with our growth initiatives.

Before I conclude, I'd like to take a moment to thank our Red Robin team in the restaurants, and at the restaurant support center for their significant contributions towards the improvements we are seeing in our business, as we invest in and build a sustainable long-term foundation to create value for our stockholders.

With that, I will turn the call back over to Paul.

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [4]

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Thank you, Lynn. To conclude, I'm even more encouraged now than when I first joined Red Robin about the company's potential. Our passion to succeed is contagious across the restaurant support center and in the restaurants. And I know that by remaining focused on initiatives I have articulated, we can transform the company, accelerate growth and maximize value for shareholders. The early indicators are positive, and we are confident in our ability to deliver the plan. Thank you.

With that, we would be happy to take your questions.

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Our first questions come from the line of Alex Slagle with Jefferies.

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Alexander Russell Slagle, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [2]

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A question on Donatos. And as you've continued to test there, I'm wondering how the operators have responded. I imagine it's operationally fairly straightforward. And also, could you remind us of the equipment upgrades needed?

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Well, so far, the operators have responded extremely well. In fact, we just had our General Manager Conference. And at that conference, every general manager actually had the opportunity to get their hands dirty and make a pizza and cook it to the oven and actually get to eat it after they made their own pizza. So the enthusiasm is high for it.

The general managers that already have it in their locations, very bullish. They like the results that they're seeing from a top line and bottom line in their locations, and they were great ambassadors for -- at the General Manager Conference to the other general managers.

So we're excited to begin that rollout, which is really going to be in just the next couple of weeks, beginning here in the Colorado market. I'm going to turn it over to Lynn for the equipment side of it.

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [4]

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Okay. And we will be incorporating into our kitchens, a pizza then in a make station and moving around some other parts of our kitchen to accommodate the implementation of Donatos. The capital spend is estimated at $145,000 per restaurant. And we also expect to incur about $20,000 in preopening expense per restaurant.

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Alexander Russell Slagle, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Equity Analyst [5]

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Okay. And in your initial test, have you seen any cannibalization to speak of? And if there's anything in terms of channel mix, whether it's dine-in or delivery, where you're seeing something different?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [6]

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Yes, Alex, I'll start and then, Paul, if you like to chime in. We have seen the Donatos sales to be highly incremental. And we do see a SKU of delivery orders, but we also see dine-in sales improving as well, including as an appetizer in the restaurant.

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [7]

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We -- Alex, we've been very pleased with the -- certainly, the top line result. We're seeing that it's driving transactions into the restaurants. There's a high degree of incrementality to it. And we see it, as Lynn mentioned, it's fitting very well into the delivery side of the business, and we're seeing it used very much as an appetizer, which we love from a -- the spirit of sharing that we've seen is one of the criteria that guests say that the reason they use the brand. From a cannibalization, it's been extremely minimal, and we're pleased so far with the results that, obviously, we've committed to the rollout.

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Operator [8]

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Our next questions come from the line of Gregory Francfort of Bank of America.

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Gregory Ryan Francfort, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Associate [9]

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I had 2. The first is just on the to-go mix. Where do you envision that going? And kind of how long do you think it will get there? Any sort of expectations on the longer-term plan around that front?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [10]

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Our current to-go percent of sales is -- well, it represents about 6.7% of our sales today. We do expect that number to grow. I'm not sure we're prepared to provide a target today. But we have actually dialed back some of our marketing around to-go as we were rolling out other initiatives and really stabilizing the business in 2019.

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Gregory Ryan Francfort, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Associate [11]

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Got it. And then just the other question I have was just on labor. And I think you had said in the prepared remarks, you're seeing wage rates up about 5%. And I think you've also been investing in labor hours, but the labor cost as a percent of sales was down year-over-year. Can you maybe talk about what are the biggest deltas of that? Is that anything on maybe health insurance? Or is it just kind of efficiencies you're finding, kind of what are the biggest drivers?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [12]

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Yes. And as you mentioned, we are experiencing about 5% of wage rate inflation. Part of the benefits we saw that helped to offset that number included lower group insurance costs. And we also believe just having higher staffing levels in the restaurants are also helping turnover at the hourly level, which also reduces related training.

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Operator [13]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next questions come from the line of Chris O'Cull of Stifel.

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Christopher Thomas O'Cull, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [14]

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Could you guys describe the Donatos test? Maybe how many locations had to test for a year or more? In what regions of the country are -- had to test?

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [15]

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Yes. We've had about 25 locations that have been in test. The regions that have been over a year, have been on the East Coast in the North Carolina-Raleigh area. And then, in the Phoenix area. That was purposeful just to make sure that, frankly, we weren't testing in Donatos' backyard.

Certainly wanted to make sure that the Donatos pizza resonated and would perform in areas that it might have a little bit less brand awareness. So we're very pleased to be rolling over to see the mix sustaining and that we're just say -- we're excited about the impact, both -- as I mentioned earlier, both the top line of about a 3.5% traffic lift and the influence on the average check.

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Christopher Thomas O'Cull, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [16]

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Okay. Great. And then just a follow-up, Lynn. If you include the investments in the service model rollout and the Donatos introduction, do you expect restaurant margin to be flat for the year? And also, do you expect the timing of the investments to have any kind of outsized impact on margins or restaurant margin in any one quarter?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [17]

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Yes. I think we believe restaurant-level margins can be actually a little bit better year-over-year. There are a few moving pieces to that. One is we did close 30 restaurants or refranchised a total of 30 restaurants last year. So having those stores out of the system do help just overall margins from that standpoint.

We also -- believe it or not, from a cost of sales perspective, we've been able to lock in, and we expect our fixed contracts, pricing, lower waste, and again, the store closures I mentioned, to offset the higher costs we're seeing in our ground beef and our bacon. So we will see pressures on our labor and on our other operating expenses. But going back to the closures that I mentioned initially, we will see a benefit on the occupancy expense line as well.

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Christopher Thomas O'Cull, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [18]

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Should we expect any kind of variation or volatility in the margin performance in any one quarter?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [19]

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I think there are -- there may be some pressures in the first 2 quarters of the year, and that has to do with some of our initiative rollouts that we've been talking about, primarily Donatos. And then, as we start to roll out the new service model in the middle part of the year, we'll see some effect associated with that.

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Operator [20]

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Our next questions come from the line of Brian Vaccaro of Raymond James.

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Brian M. Vaccaro, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - VP [21]

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I just wanted to circle back. The press release talked about the quarter-to-date trends and characterize it as the momentum has continued. And I know you usually don't get too specific, but hoping you might be a little bit this quarter, given some of the unique dynamics that you saw in the fourth quarter on the unwind of the discounts, which I assume negatively impacted traffic. So would you be willing to be a little more specific on what you're seeing quarter-to-date, either from a comp or traffic perspective?

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [22]

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I think the only thing I would say, as I mentioned in my remarks that the momentum has continued, and we're pleased with how the results have responded to the initiatives that we put in place, in terms of things that we're doing against the operating model and the overall operations of the company. So I think please is a word that shows I have a high degree of confidence in where we're going.

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Brian M. Vaccaro, Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division - VP [23]

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All right. Fair enough. And on the guidance, Lynn, I'm curious, what have you embedded in terms of G&A? And I know there are some investments in the initiatives and then some savings that I think are offsetting that. Can you walk through some of the details within that?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [24]

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Yes. I'll probably keep my comments a little bit more general, but we do believe that investments and initiatives inflation and variable-based compensation will be offset by savings initiatives within the corporate structure.

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Operator [25]

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(Operator Instructions) Our next questions come from the line of Gregory Francfort of Bank of America.

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Gregory Ryan Francfort, BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division - Associate [26]

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I just had an extra follow-up. I know you talked about the margin benefits next year of some of the closures and refranchising you guys have done. Can you maybe help quantify either what the margins were on those stores? Or what the margin benefit will be from sort of taking those out of the base? That'll be helpful.

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [27]

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Yes. I'm not sure we're prepared to actually quote a number, but I will tell you that as you piece together some of the disclosures we made over 2019, we specifically provided numbers associated with the restaurant closures as we move throughout the year.

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Operator [28]

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Our next questions come from the line of Chris O'Cull of Stifel.

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Christopher Thomas O'Cull, Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated, Research Division - MD & Senior Analyst [29]

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Yes. I may have missed this, and I apologize if I did. But did you say that the Donatos agreement is -- is that a licensing arrangement that you have with Donatos? And so what's the rate or duration of the agreement?

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [30]

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Yes. It is a licensing agreement, but we're not -- right at this moment, prepared to give the rate on it. As for duration, I would have to refer to Lynn on that.

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [31]

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Yes. It's certainly a multiple-year agreement. And it really takes the form of kind of a more traditional franchise agreement, but we are unable to disclose the financial terms related to that agreement.

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Operator [32]

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Our next question comes from the line of Jon Tower of Wells Fargo.

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Jon Michael Tower, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [33]

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Just a couple for me. First, and I apologize if I missed this, but I was curious if you had provided the cadence for how we should think about the Donatos rollout, especially the impact of -- on the preopening line related to the ovens being pushed to the stores?

And then secondarily, when you were testing this product, what was the competitive response you were seeing in the markets? And what have you seen to date when you do advertise this in markets?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [34]

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Okay. Well, there were a few questions thrown out there. So maybe let me start with your first question on the cadence of the implementation of Donatos. We've begun to roll out Donatos in the Colorado area, generally. So that has begun in the past 2 weeks. And then we'll complete the rollout by early in the fourth quarter.

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Jon Michael Tower, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [35]

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Okay. So in terms of thinking of preopening from a dollar standpoint, can you help us -- is it going to be front half-weighted or back half -- is the way to frame it?

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Lynn S. Schweinfurth, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - Executive VP, CFO & Principal Accounting Officer [36]

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Yes. I'm just kind of looking at my schedule here. Again, it's a little bit lighter in the first quarter because we've just begun to roll out Donatos. And then it gets to be fairly consistent in the following 3 quarters.

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Jon Michael Tower, Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division - Senior Analyst [37]

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Okay. And in terms of competitive response?

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [38]

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This is Paul. We really haven't seen any. We positioned as premium and really has been no noticeable competitor response either in the Phoenix market or in North Carolina. We're not -- haven't noticed anything.

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Operator [39]

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We have reached the end of the question-and-answer session. I will now turn the call back over to management for any closing remarks.

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Paul J. B. Murphy, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc. - President, CEO & Director [40]

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Yes. Thank you for attending. We appreciate the questions and appreciate you dialing into the call today and look forward to the Q1 call.

Thank you very much.

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Operator [41]

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This does conclude today's conference. You may disconnect your lines at this time. Thank you for your participation, and have a great day.