As many major restaurant chains surpassed their pre-pandemic sales in Q2, seizing on consumers’ pent-up demand for restaurant dining, Red Robin did not fare so well. Restaurant sales were down 10 percent from Q2 2019, the company announced Wednesday (Aug. 18) and net loss totaled $5 million. On a call with analysts, CEO Paul Murphy attributed these difficulties to labor challenges and ongoing COVID-19 regulations.
He asserted that the challenges faced in the quarter were “timing-related, not brand-related,” and that they would ease in quarters ahead.
Two-thirds of the restaurant’s sales were on-premises, and the call ended on a note of anxiety for the dine-in-reliant business, casting doubt on Murphy’s assertion that the challenges the restaurant faces will soon pass.
He warned, “Our expectation of greater normalcy over the next few months, as more adults return to their workplaces and children return to school in person, assumes that the Delta variant does not dramatically affect or force a return to mandated restrictions and thereby impede our current trajectory.”
Jack In The Box To Open 64 More Locations, Enter New Markets
Quick-service restaurant (QSR) chain Jack in the Box, which operates 2,216 locations in 21 states (and one location in Guam), announced Wednesday (Aug. 18) that, since the start of the year, it has awarded 16 new franchise development agreements to build 64 new restaurants across several states.
Through these agreements, the brand will open its first locations in Salt Lake City, Chicago and Louisville, while adding more locations in a handful of cities in which it already has a presence.
“Relaunching the franchise opportunity has been exciting and was one of our main priorities going into 2021,” Darin Harris, CEO of Jack in the Box, said in a statement. “Over the last year and a half, we’ve proven to be pandemic-resistant and we’re eager to grow with our current franchisee network, as well as prospective owners.”
TGI Friday’s, Hooters Parent Invests $10M In C3
TriArtisan, parent company of TGI Friday’s, P.F. Chang’s and Hooters, is backing food technology platform C3, a company that has created over 40 restaurant brands, a digital ordering app, and omnichannel food halls, among other ventures. The funding round, Nation’s Restaurant News reports, aims to add C3 brands into TriArtisan’s restaurants’ kitchens to generate additional revenue.
“Food brands are beginning to realize … that current dining spaces are being severely underutilized and can generate a staggering amount of additional revenue through the ghost kitchen model,” C3 CEO Sam Nazarian told PYMNTS in a recent interview. “As we move into a post-pandemic era, we’re going to see many more brick-and-mortar concepts operating eight to 10 additional delivery-only brands via ghost or digital kitchens.”
NYC Restaurants Sue City Over Vaccine Mandate
On Tuesday (Aug. 17), a group of independent restaurant owners in New York City filed a lawsuit against Mayor Bill de Blasio and against the city. The lawsuit challenges the legality of the executive order that de Blasio issued on Monday (Aug 16) requiring that employees and patrons of restaurants and other indoor businesses show proof of vaccination.
In the filing, plaintiffs call the order “arbitrary, irrational, unscientific, and unlawful.”
Plaintiffs include a group of restaurant owners operating collectively under the name Independent Restaurant Owners Association Rescue as well as Staten Island Restaurants Deluca’s Italian Restaurant and Max’s Es-ca, plus Brooklyn and Manhattan’s Pasticceria Rocco.
COVID-19 cases are on the rise in New York. Per data from the NYC Health Department, the 7-day average of confirmed and probable cases has grown nearly eightfold since the beginning of July.