“Qdoba’s same-store sales in the fourth quarter increased 3.7 percent system-wide, representing the third consecutive quarter that two-year cumulative same-store sales have been greater than 9 percent,” Lang said.Consolidated restaurant operating margin was 13.5 percent of sales in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with 12.5 percent of sales in the year-ago quarter. Food and packaging costs in the quarter were 190 basis points higher than prior year. Overall commodity costs were approximately 7 percent higher in the quarter, driven by higher costs for most commodities other than poultry and largely consistent with the company’s expectations. Payroll and employee benefits costs were 110 basis points lower than the year-ago quarter, reflecting lower insurance costs and the benefit of refranchising. These decreases were partially offset by higher unemployment taxes resulting from rate increases in several states. Occupancy and other costs decreased 180 basis points in the fourth quarter due primarily to lower repairs and maintenance costs and utilities expenses, and the benefit of refranchising. These decreases were partially offset by higher rent expense as a percentage of sales due to the greater proportion of company-operated Qdoba restaurants versus the prior year. SG&A expense for the fourth quarter decreased by $7.3 million and was 10.6 percent of revenues compared with 10.8 percent last year. SG&A expense for fiscal 2011 decreased by $18.9 million and was 10.2 percent of revenues compared with 10.6 percent last year. The variances in SG&A were attributable primarily to the following:
- The 53 rd week added approximately $3.6 million to SG&A in last year’s fourth quarter and fiscal year.
- Advertising costs were $5.2 million lower in the fourth quarter and $17.9 million lower in fiscal 2011, due primarily to the impact of refranchising Jack in the Box restaurants and a decrease in incremental spending compared to the fourth quarter and fiscal 2010. These decreases were partially offset by higher advertising expense for Qdoba due to the increase in the number of company-owned restaurants and same-store sales growth.
- Incentive compensation accruals decreased by $2.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Pension expense, which is non-cash in nature, decreased by $1.3 million in the fourth quarter and by $5.3 million for fiscal 2011.
- The company’s refranchising strategy and planned overhead reductions resulted in lower general and administrative costs of approximately $0.4 million for the fourth quarter and $5.9 million for the full year.
- Mark-to-market adjustments on investments supporting the company’s non-qualified retirement plans negatively impacted SG&A by $4.6 million in the fourth quarter as compared to a positive impact of $2.1 million in last year’s fourth quarter, resulting in a year-over-year increase in SG&A of $6.7 million. For fiscal 2011, mark-to-market adjustments negatively impacted SG&A by $0.1 million as compared to a positive impact of $2.7 million last year, resulting in a year-over-year increase in SG&A of $2.8 million.
- Insurance recoveries related to Hurricane Ike resulted in a $1.2 million benefit in the fourth quarter of 2010 and a $4.2 million benefit in fiscal 2010.
- Incentive compensation accruals increased by $2.2 million in fiscal 2011.
- Qdoba G&A increased by $0.9 million in the fourth quarter and $4.4 million in fiscal 2011 due primarily to higher overhead to support recently acquired franchise markets and new unit growth.