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Joe’s Crab Shack comps fall 4%, while customer traffic slips 5.4%

Comp sales fell 4 percent year over year at casual-dining concept Joe’s Crab Shack during the second quarter, due in large part to continuing customer-traffic declines, parent company Ignite Restaurant Group announced Thursday.

Revenues at Joe’s Crab Shack fell $3.1 million during Q2, to $122.4 million, driven primarily by the slip in comp sales, company executives said. Customer traffic at the chain fell by 5.4 percent.

Comp sales at its sister concept, Brick House Tavern + Tap, increased 2.8 percent during the same period. 

While Joe’s Crab Shack's recent revamp efforts have failed to move the sales needle, the brand’s new initiatives have the potential to shore up customer interest and improve the concept’s standing, Ignite CEO Ray Blanchette said on a call with investors Thursday.

During Q2, Ignite made several management changes at the casual-dining seafood concept, removing Jim Mazany as president and former Ignite president Michael Dixon as CFO. The brand’s new management team will focus on increasing sales and traffic while improving margins, Blanchette said.

Ignite execs said they are also considering converting a few Joe’s Crab Shack locations to Brick House Taverns to increase those units’ profitability. Revenues at the restaurant group were flat year over year, inching down just slightly from $143.3 million to $143.2 million.

Earlier this year, Ignite completed the sale of its troublesome Romano’s Macaroni Grill concept to focus resources on Brick House Tavern and Joe’s Crab Shack. Ignite’s net loss from discontinued operations, including the Macaroni Grill locations, totaled $1.6 million, according to the company’s Q2 results.

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