Benihana Dishes Out Healthy Comps
by Zacks Equity ResearchDecember 13, 2011 | Comments : 0 Recommended this article: (0)
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Benihana Inc. ( ) posted restaurant sales of $23.7 million during the four-week period ending December 4, 2011, reflecting a growth of 4.6% year over year. The upside in sales was primarily driven by continued comparable restaurant sales momentum across all three restaurant concepts.
Benihana Teppanyaki deserves a special mention which accounts for around 67% of total restaurant sales followed by RA Sushi and Haru, representing growth of 23% and 10%, respectively. Comps at Teppanyaki were the highest among all three concepts. The Miami-based company generated 99.5% of its revenues from restaurant sales and the remaining 0.5% from franchise fees and royalties.
Behind the Headline Numbers
The largest operator of Japanese restaurants in the U.S. witnessed company-wide comparable restaurant sales growth of 6.5% to $23.6 million in the second four-week period of the third quarter of 2012, representing the twenty-third consecutive period of growth. However, store operating weeks during the period were 1.6% lower than the year-ago period.
The comparable restaurant sales grew 8.0% at Benihana Teppanyaki restaurants on the back of 6.7% higher guest count. The 8.0% growth came of the top of an 8.9% increase in the same period of the prior year. Same-store sales rose 4.7% at RA Sushi and 1.0% at Haru.
We expect Benihana to finish third-quarter 2012 on a strong-note as the company came up with solid comps in the first two months of the quarter. Continued strong performance assures a solid holiday season at Benihana. The Zacks Consensus earnings estimate for the third quarter is pegged at 9 cents.
Benihana currently operates 96 restaurants, including 63 Benihana Teppanyaki restaurants, 25 RA Sushi Bar restaurants and 8 Haru sushi restaurants. Additionally, the company has 18 franchised Benihana Teppanyaki restaurants, which are operational in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean.
Benihana currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank that translates into a short-term Hold rating. We are also maintaining our long-term Neutral recommendation on the stock. Its prime competitors are Papa John's International Inc. ( PZZA - Snapshot Report ) and P.F. Chang's China Bistro Inc. ( ) .
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