During a Wednesday (Nov. 1) earnings call, company executives discussed the firm’s strategic initiatives and operating performance, highlighting a 6% comparable sales growth. They said this growth can be attributed to Brinker International’s long-term strategy, which focuses on improving the guest and team member experience and boosting restaurant traffic.
Brinker International CEO Kevin Hochman emphasized the success of the firm’s advertising campaigns, stating that they have given the company a competitive edge in the current consumer environment. He also mentioned that Brinker International has gained a share of wallets across all income groups, with higher-income households growing the fastest.
“We believe advertising superior value, delivering an improved guest experience and continuing simplification is the best plan to deal with any economic headwinds,” Hochman said during the call.
In terms of financials, Brinker International’s consolidated revenues totaled $1.012 billion in the first quarter, according to a Wednesday press release. The company also achieved a 5.8% consolidated comparable sales growth.
Brinker International Chief Financial Officer Joe Taylor highlighted the improvement in restaurant operating margins, which reached 10.4% for the quarter, up from 6% last year. Taylor attributed this to an improved price mix position, a shift of guest traffic into dining rooms, improved commodity markets and manager labor cost improvements.
Chili’s, one of Brinker International’s flagship brands, has been a key driver of the company’s success, Hochman said during the call. Chili’s has outperformed the casual dining industry for the fourth consecutive quarter, thanks to investments in the guest experience, marketing and menu innovation. The restaurant chain reported a 6% increase in comparable sales in the first quarter. Chili’s advertising campaigns have played a significant role in driving positive sales and traffic growth.
“We’re on air where people are watching and consumers are responding well to our unbeatable $10.99 platform, which delivers a complete value that gives us a competitive edge in the current consumer environment,” Hochman said.
Looking ahead, Brinker International remains confident in its strategy of value, guest experience and simplification. The firm increased its full-year earnings per share (EPS) guidance to a range of $3.35 to $3.65.