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Thursday, Aug 11, 2022

20. BJ’s Restaurants Inc.

More restaurants, more customers and higher prices have spurred sales growth at Huntington Beach-based BJ’s Restaurants Inc.

BJ’s, No. 20 on the Business Journal’s fastest-growing public companies list, posted sales of $112 million for the 12 months ended June 30, up 83%, versus sales for the same period in 2001. The pizzeria chain was No. 18 on last year’s list of fastest-growing public companies in Orange County.

The company is set to release its third-quarter results Wednesday. Shares of BJ’s recently traded at 17, up from a 12-month low of 11.4. The company has a market value of about $330 million.

BJ’s serves deep-dish pizza, soups, salads and pastas, and operates 10 microbreweries. The company competes with Los Angeles-based California Pizza Kitchen Inc. and Dallas-based Pizza Hut Inc., a division of Yum! Brands Inc.

There are 34 BJ’s in California, Texas, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado and Nevada. Most of the restaurants are in California, including seven in OC. BJ’s employs more than 3,000 people.

It plans to open six or seven restaurants this year and eight or more in 2005.

Last year BJ’s opened four restaurants including eateries in new markets,Northern California, Dallas and Houston. This year BJ’s opened a restaurant in Fresno, San Bernardino and Las Vegas. Three more are set to open this year in California and Texas.

Alhambra-based The Jacmar Cos. owns about 42% of BJ’s and real estate company Golden Resorts Inc. owns about 32%. Jacmar is the largest franchise of Shakey’s Restaurants.

BJ’s sold off some of its holdings in March with the sale of three Pietro’s Pizza restaurants to two former employees. BJ’s said it wanted to focus on its own brand.

It also changed the name of the company from Chicago Pizza & Brewery to better reflect the name of its restaurants.

BJ’s is one of the few companies run by co-CEOs: Paul Motenko, also chairman, and Jeremiah Hennessey.

The pizzeria chain recently named a restaurant chain veteran to its board of directors: Peter Bassi, chairman and president of Yum! Brands Inc.’s international unit. Yum!’s international operations include KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurants.

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