“Qdoba same-store sales in the first quarter increased 1.5 percent for company restaurants, driven by transaction and catering growth. One of our key priorities for 2013 is to drive traffic at Qdoba, and we believe our promotional efforts aimed at differentiating the brand resulted in the improvement in traffic and sales trends.
“Numerous companies in both the restaurant and retail space have reported some weakening in sales in the last part of January and first half of February which has been attributed to higher payroll taxes, delayed tax refunds and the rapid increase in gas prices over the last month. Our sales guidance for the second quarter reflects the softness we’ve seen thus far in the quarter and the uncertainty surrounding consumer spending,” Lang said.
Consolidated restaurant operating margin improved by 220 basis points to 15.7 percent of sales in the first quarter of 2013, compared with 13.5 percent of sales in the year-ago quarter. Restaurant operating margin increased 320 basis points to 17.1% of sales for Jack in the Box and decreased 40 basis points to 11.6% of sales for Qdoba.
Food and packaging costs in the quarter were 130 basis points lower than prior year. The decrease resulted from the benefit of price increases, favorable product mix at Jack in the Box, and a greater proportion of Qdoba company restaurants which combined to more than offset slight commodity inflation and the impact of promotional activity at Qdoba. Overall commodity costs were up less than 1 percent in the quarter.Payroll and employee benefits costs were 40 basis points lower than the year-ago quarter, reflecting leverage from same-store sales increases, the favorable impact of recent acquisitions of Qdoba franchised restaurants, and a modest benefit from refranchising Jack in the Box restaurants. Occupancy and other costs decreased 50 basis points in the first quarter due primarily to leverage from same-store sales increases and the favorable impact of recent acquisitions of Qdoba franchised restaurants.