DALLAS, Texas (
P.F. Chang's China Bistro
( PFCB) posted higher quarterly profits but cautioned that higher costs ate into their bottom lines.
Shares of both chains were lower on Wednesday, as was the stock of restaurant chains
Buffalo Wild Wings
, each of which reported quarterly results on Tuesday.
P.F. Chang's led the group lower, shedding 10.1% to $41.15 in afternoon trading. Panera lost 2.8% to $120.82, Brinker fell 1.9% to $23.96 and Buffalo Wild was lower by 2% at $59.25.
A number of restaurant companies, including
Chipotle Mexican Grill
, have made similar statements about rising food costs. Many have passed those prices onto consumers -- or have plans to do so -- to help offset those costs.
Brinker International said its quarterly profit grew 0.5% to $40.2 million, or 45 cents per share, up from $40 million, or 39 cents per share, earned in the year-earlier period. Adjusted for one-time items, earnings would have been 47 cents per share, two cents above analysts' estimates.
Revenue rose less than a percent to $717 million, topping expectations by $5 million.
Brinker's flagship brand Chili's saw higher customer traffic counts in the quarter but its performance lagged year-earlier results.
"While the traffic losses (at Chili's) were stemmed this quarter, we are not convinced the trend will continue at this point," noted Stifel Nicolaus analyst Steve West. "It will take several years, if ever, to recover the lost traffic of nearly 30% since 2004."
West called Brinker's results "less bad" but conceded that customers, still cash-strapped as the economy works to recover, are not yet trading back up to "bar and grill" restaurants.
Brinker's overall same-store sales -- or sales at stores open at least one year, a closely watched metric in the restaurant industry -- rose 0.1%, boosted by price increases which the company implemented to help offset rising ingredient costs. At company-owned Chili's restaurants, same-store sales fell 0.3%, an improvement over the 5% decline reported a year ago. The line item increased 3.4% at Brinker's Maggiano's restaurants.
"The long streak of declining same-restaurant sales seems to be nearing an end at Chili's as the bar-and-grill concept logged positive same-restaurant sales in February and March," noted Miller Tabak analyst Stephen Anderson.
At P.F. Chang's, same-store sales rose 0.5% at its namesake restaurants, but fell 0.2% at its smaller chain, Pei Wei quick-service stores. Still, both chains enjoyed the benefit of price increases between 2% and 3%.
P.F. Chang's quarterly profit jumped 21.8% to $10.6 million, or 46 cents per share, up from $8.7 million, or 38 cents per share.
Revenue rose to $317.4 million, but both top- and bottom-line results came up short of expectations. Analysts had been looking for P.F. Chang's earn 53 cents per share on revenue of $320.4 million.
Weaker-than-expected revenue was attributed, in part, to lost sales resulting from an immigration raid at Pei Wei locations in Arizona, which caused some restaurants to temporarily shut down.
Buffalo Wild said Tuesday that same-store sales at its beer-and-wing restaurants increased by 3.9% at company-owned stores, and by 1.6% at franchised locations, in the recent quarter.
Buffalo Wild reported net income of $14.9 million, or 81 cents per share, up 40.6% from a profit of $10.6 million, or 57 cents per share, earned a year earlier.
Revenue soared 19.6% to $182.2. million year-over-year.
At Panera, same-store sales grew 3.3% last quarter as sales and profits grew by double-digit percentages.
Panera's profit jumped 27.1% to $32.8 million, from $25.8 million. Revenue increased by 16.9% to $422.1 million, from $364.2 million.
In the recent quarter Panera sold the assets of two of its restaurants to franchisees, and completed the acquisitions of 27 stores from a Milwaukee-based franchisee.
Based on those deals, Panera raised its full-year profit forecast to a range of $4.47 to $4.51, or growth of 23% to 25% for fiscal 2011.
Barclays analysts raised their price target on Panera by $20 to $122 based on the upwardly revised guidance.
-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York.
>To contact the writer of this article, click here:
>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to
>To submit a news tip, send an email to:
READERS ALSO LIKE:
Get more stock ideas and investing advice on our sister site,
Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.