Habit Burger Grill sees modest growth after a disappointing start to the year

But the fast-casual burger chain is still battling traffic woes.
The Habit Burger Grill

The Habit Burger Grill continues to struggle with lagging traffic, but a boost in check averages—driven largely by a menu price bump—brought the fast-casual burger chain back to positive same-store sales growth for its second quarter.

Habit Burger reported a same-store sales increase of 1.2% for the quarter ending June 26, up from the less-than-stellar first-quarter comps drop of 1.4%.

Its stock was up 17.67% mid-day Aug. 2 on the earnings news, fueled also by the company’s positive updates to its full-year revenue projection for 2018. Total revenue is now predicted to be between $393 million and $396 million, up from an earlier projection of $389 million to $393 million.

But traffic, which dropped 3.2% in the second quarter, remains an ongoing concern, and Habit Burger is eyeing various solutions.

Online and mobile ordering is up 26% in the most recent quarter, and the company plans to launch a test of a mobile app later this year, executives said during a conference call this week. The chain also plans to test self-ordering kiosks before year’s end.

Meanwhile, drive-thrus continue to perform well for the brand, accounting for about 45% of sales.

“We’ve got a lot to learn in regard to drive-thrus,” Russ Bendel, Habit Burger president and CEO, said during the conference call. Bendel said the chain plans to add more pictures of menu items and combos on drive-thru menu boards.

“I think we still have some opportunities as we move forward to continue to optimize the drive-thrus, which is exciting for us,” he added.

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