Sales rebound puts Cheesecake Factory on route to $12M AUV

Staffing challenges aren't hampering sales, which are running 10% over pre-pandemic levels.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Same-store sales for The Cheesecake Factory are running 10% above pre-pandemic levels through July, putting the chain on track to hit $12 million in annual unit volumes for the first time, executives of the brand’s parent company informed Wall Street Tuesday.

The officials also assured financial analysts that the chain’s financial performance is not being hampered by staffing problems, which it described as limited to select pockets of the nation.

“This has not meaningfully stifled our sales prospects at Cheesecake restaurants,” said company President David Gordon. “We are now above pre-COVID staffing.”

He revealed that weekly sales for the Cheesecake brand are running at about $230,000 per restaurant, and CFO Matt Clark said there are indications the tally could continue rising. He explained that dine-in volumes are still climbing, and off-premise business is virtually holding steady. Gordon pegged the portion of sales generated by takeout and delivery at 27% during July, which translates into an annualized sales rate of $3.2 million.

The executives also reported strong results for the company’s second-largest chain, North Italia.  Comparable sales for the upscale Italian brand were up 10% in the second quarter from 2019 levels, compared with a 7.8% two-year rise for the Cheesecake brand.

With dining rooms now running at full capacity within Cheesecakes in California, the chain’s largest market, comps have risen 10% through July 26, and that level has been holding steady, said company CEO and founder David Overton.

He noted that the company generated $109 million in cash during the second quarter, and that the company plans to open “as many as” 14 restaurants this year.

The executives revealed that the company has just completed a significant piece of consumer research and will use the findings to guide a recalibration of its marketing.

Overall, the company posted a net income of $33.7 million for the second quarter ended June 29, compared with a year-ago loss of $56.5 million. Revenues jumped 160%, to $769 million.

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