Famous Dave's of America continued its turnaround with a second consecutive quarterly profit and improvements in comparable sales, the company said Monday.
The Minnetonka-based barbecue chain said it earned $1.4 million in the quarter ended July 1. In the same period a year ago, the company had a loss of nearly the same size. Revenue declined nearly 24 percent to $14.5 million due to the closure of nine company-owned restaurants.
But comparable sales at its 15 company-owned restaurants increased 1.2 percent. The 135 franchise-owned stores experienced a comparable-sales decline of 1.6 percent. Both numbers were better than a year ago.
Chief Executive Jeff Crivello is hoping to translate the success of the Coon Rapids corporate-owned store to additional corporate stores in Maple Grove and Westbury, N.Y., and eventually to the stores operated by franchisees. With a new menu inspired by founder Dave Anderson's recipes and a brighter, more vibrant interior, sales increased by double digits at the Coon Rapids location.
"Good food at a good price that's quick and convenient is a successful model," Crivello said.
Crivello has hinted for months of a new concept in partnership with Kansas City pitmaster Travis Clark. It will be called Clark Crew BBQ, and it will rank as "best" in the good-better-best quality scale, he said.
The first location will open in Oklahoma City in early 2019, but is not expected to roll out nearly as wide as Famous Dave's. Clark started with the company at the beginning of the year and was also focusing on consistency with brisket and ribs, Crivello said.
"We look forward to opening the first Clark Crew BBQ and finalizing the design of our new drive-through concept," he said.
Crivello described Anderson's legacy brand as "better" on the quality scale. He characterized the catering and drive-through service, to be tested in California, as "good."