Famous Dave's of America Inc. reported it lost nearly $1 million in the last three months of 2016, an improvement over the year-ago period but a step back from the small profit it earned in late summer and early fall.

Comparable sales fell 5 percent at its company-owned restaurants and 5.5 percent at its franchise-operated units, continuing troubles that have beset the barbecue chain for more than a year.

"It was a challenging year and a year of transition for our board, senior leadership and franchisees," said Mike Lister, who in October became the company's fourth chief executive in four years.

Famous Dave's also said Monday that Chuck Mooty, chief executive of Jostens Inc. and a board member since December, was named its chairman. Mooty, a former executive of International Dairy Queen Corp., succeeds Joseph Jacobs, head of Wexford Capital, who will remain on the Famous Dave's board.

Famous Dave's reported a net loss of $942,000, or 14 cents a diluted share, for the three months ended Jan. 1. Adjusted to reflect only continuing operations, the company lost $827,000, or 12 cents a share. That compares to a loss from continuing operations of $307,000, or 4 cents a share, in the last three months of 2015.

Revenue in the latest quarter fell 11 percent to $22.6 million. That marked a slower rate of decline as Famous Dave's saw sales for all of 2016 fall 13 percent to $99.1 million.

The Minnetonka-based chain has struggled with executive turnover and disagreements about menus and strategy. It appeared to be showing some other signs of recovery during the July-to-September period last year, when it reported a $44,000 profit.

One bright spot continues to be its takeout and catering business, which is 43 percent of its revenue.

John Ewoldt • 612-673-7633