Dave has hands-on role at Famous Dave’s

Two weeks ago, Minnetonka-based barbecue restaurant chain Famous Dave’s announced that it was bringing back founder Dave Anderson to the company. Anderson has not had an active hand in managing the company since the early 2000s, but he had maintained some ties with the company until March 2014.

Last week, Famous Dave’s latest interim CEO leaned on the “Rib King” to help soften the blow of poor third-quarter results. Adam Wright, the interim CEO, started the company’s earnings call by telling analysts the new roles that Anderson would have with the company.

“Dave will help us to rebuild our company culture, restart our competition barbecue team, innovate our menu, and market our restaurants,” Wright told analysts. “The entire organization, from employees and franchisees to board members, is thrilled about his return.”

Wright emphasized that Anderson feels strongly that his return role with the company is as “founder,” but the earnings release revealed that the company was already testing beef short rib and fried chicken value lunch options that were developed by Anderson.

Analyst Doug Cooper from Sidoti & Co. asked Wright on the call if Anderson would be tapped to develop a fast-casual concept for Famous Dave’s.

“Our organization’s focus right now is on our existing 180 restaurants and how do we improve that profitability,” Wright responded. “Long term, we see tremendous opportunities within our own concepts and alternative formats. And certainly Dave is very passionate about how do we evolve our concepts and move forward with success. And that obviously means a fast-casual concept is something that we are exploring.”

Sales force retooled at Cardiovascular Systems

Cardiovascular Systems Inc. announced first-quarter sales last week that met analysts’ expectations. However, it warned that second-quarter sales could be below expectations as the company trains its sales representatives to sell both its coronary and peripheral vascular product lines.

Leerink analyst Danielle Antalffy thinks the sales force investment at Cardiovascular Systems is prudent but expects the payoff will take awhile.

“We also believe impact from sales force disruption is likely to be a bit more protracted than we originally expected, potentially impacting the next three quarters,” Antalffy wrote. “We believe shares will be range-bound for the next few quarters until we and investors begin to see some tangible benefits from recent adjustments to the sales force and sales force management.”