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Del Frisco’s shutters units and slows planned openings

The restaurant operator, still eyeing a possible sale, saw same-store sales growth of just 0.1% in Q4.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, still eyeing a possible sale or other strategic alternatives, closed multiple units last year and doesn’t plan to open any of its upscale Del Frisco’s Grille concepts this year or in 2020, company executives said Tuesday.

The multiconcept restaurant company, which recently acquired Barcelona Wine Bar and Bartaco, closed three Grille locations, two Bartaco units and one Double Eagle Steakhouse restaurant in recent months. One additional closure is being considered as part of an “asset portfolio optimization strategy,” executives said.

The Irving, Texas-based company is slowing its previously stated opening plans for 2019, from 11 to 13 new units down to eight planned openings. In September, Del Frisco’s announced it would sell its Sullivan’s Steakhouse concept to Romano’s Macaroni Grill. 

Del Frisco’s saw its same-store sales grow just 0.1% for the quarter ended Dec. 25, 2018, and 0.9% year over year. Revenues for the quarter increased 23.3% to $123.8 million.

Company executives declined to comment on plans for a sale or other strategic alternatives during a call with investors Tuesday.

Del Frisco’s currently operates 18 Bartaco locations, 15 Barcelona units, 24 Del Frisco’s Grille locations and 16 Double Eagle Steakhouse restaurants.

The company is wrapping up work to integrate Bartaco and Barcelona into the overall operation. The integration will help the chain negotiate commodity prices and create labor synergies and other operational efficiencies, the company said during a call with analysts.

“We really are operating as one company now,” Del Frisco’s CFO Neil Thomson said. “We really are operating in full as an integrated company.”

Human resources and accounting systems are slated to be merged in the second quarter of 2019, Thomson added.

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