Orange County Business Journal

BJ’s Restaurants Beats Street on Profit, Revenue

Kari Hamanaka Thursday, July 21, 2011

Huntington Beach-based restaurant operator BJ’s Restaurants Inc. exceeded analyst expectations for the recently ended quarter on profit and revenue.

BJ’s operates a chain of 108 casual restaurants, mostly in California, that serve deep-dish pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches. Most of the restaurants have bars.

The company reported a profit for the three months through June of $8.2 million, up 29% from a year earlier.

Wall Street analysts on average expected a profit of $7.9 million for the recently ended quarter.

The restaurant operator saw revenue up 17% from a year earlier to $152.9 million for the current quarter.

Analysts on average expected revenue to come in at $152.3 million.

Sales of BJ’s restaurants open at least a year were up 6.9% for the three months through June.

BJ’s was one of the few restaurant operators that fared well during the downturn with sales growth, new restaurant openings and new menu options.

The company opened three new restaurants in the recently ended quarter in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Austin.

BJ’s reiterated its goal of opening 12 to 13 new restaurants this year.

The company said it will open as many as four restaurants in the current quarter. BJ’s already opened one of those restaurants earlier this month in College Station, Texas.

Another three to four restaurants are expected to be opened during the three months through December.

In May, BJ's introduced Enlightened Entrees—low-calorie items priced between $7 and $11—on its menu.

BJ’s didn’t provide a profit or revenue forecast for the current quarter.

Analysts expect a $7.3 million profit on revenue of $149.39 million for the current quarter.

BJ’s shares were down about 1% in afterhours trading on a recent market value of $1.4 billion.