Famous Dave's of America Inc. said Monday that sales declines at its barbecue restaurants slowed in the second quarter, in part because of new promotions.
Comparable sales declined 3.2 percent at its franchised restaurants compared with a 4.3 percent decline a year ago. Company-owned comparable restaurants saw a sales decline of 2.2 percent compared with a decline of 6.4 percent a year ago.
"While we've seen comparable sales improve, sales are down and there is more work to be done," Chief Executive Mike Lister said. "We're pleased with the headway we've been able to make on this front."
He said he hopes the Smokin' Deals program has helped add traffic. The company is hoping to reverse the sales slide with new signature cocktails.
Although the company has not undertaken a formal price increase since 2013, Lister said, the cocktail program can be at more profitable price points that won't affect an overall value perception.
The Minnetonka-based company lost $1.7 million in the quarter ending July 2, compared with a profit of $140,000 in the same period a year ago. Expenses declined by $1 million because of continued administrative cuts, as well as from lower food and beverage costs.
Sales for both corporate-owned and franchisee-owned restaurants were $111 million, down from $118 million a year ago. Revenue for the company in the quarter was $25.3 million, down from $28 million.
Famous Dave's opened one franchised restaurant and closed six locations in the last two quarters. The company anticipates closing seven more restaurants in the next two years as it changes company-owned restaurants into franchisee-owned, said CFO Dexter Newman.
The company reported its results after stock market trading ended. Its shares closed up 1.5 percent at $3.50, near its 52-week low and 41 percent below its highest price in the last year, which was just over $6 last August.
Famous Dave's and other casual-dining chains have been hit hard in the last two years. TDn2K, a retail analytics firm, found that restaurant chains experienced a drop in sales for each quarter in 2016, the first time since 2009 in recession. Last week, the company that owns Applebee's and IHOP announced it would close as many as 160 locations.