Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. (Nasdaq: GCFB), a Modern American upscale casual restaurant chain, today reported results for the first quarter ended March 30, 2010.

Highlights for the first quarter 2010 were as follows:
  • Total restaurant sales increased 3.8% to $22.2 million from $21.4 million a year-ago. Comparable restaurant sales for the first quarter increased 2.1% to $20.6 million from $20.2 million a year-ago
  • Total guest counts increased 8.6% compared to a year-ago. Comparable guest traffic for the first quarter of 2010 increased 6.7% from a year-ago
  • Prime cost (food, beverage, retail, labor) as a percentage of revenue decreased 0.3 percentage points from 62.3% in the first quarter of 2009 to 62.0% in first quarter 2010
  • General and administrative expenses decreased $0.5 million in first quarter 2010 to $1.6 million compared to first quarter 2009
  • Restaurant-level income before occupancy (“IBO”) margin improved to 23.5% in the first quarter of 2010 from 22.7% in prior year first quarter
  • Company-wide EBITDA increased $0.5 million to $1.5 million in first quarter 2010 compared to $1.0 million in the first quarter 2009
  • Generates positive cash flow from operations of $0.3 million

First Quarter 2010 Financial Results

For all the restaurants, the restaurant-level IBO margin was 23.5% for the first quarter of 2010 compared to 22.7% in the first quarter of 2009. This represents an increase of 0.8 percentage points in restaurant-level IBO at a time when the Company increased its advertising budget by 0.4 percentage points.

"We are extremely pleased with all phases of our plans to improve revenues,” said Steve Wagenheim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Granite City. “Last summer we implemented an aggressive grass roots marketing plan to rebuild traffic with the goal of having our sales follow. Our first quarter results reflect the commitment of our operators to follow a concise marketing plan that is now generating positive results. While we believe the casual dining sector is beginning to show strength, we are pleased to be outpacing the sector in comp sales and customer counts, allowing us to generate positive cash flow from operations. We are cautiously optimistic that this momentum will continue throughout 2010 which we believe will allow us to improve our cash position and overall operating results."