Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Nov 21, 2017 • 11:00 am ET


Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (NASDAQ:CBRL) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Good morning and welcome to the Cracker Barrel Fiscal 2018 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Jessica Hazel, Director of IR. Please go ahead.

Jessica Hazel

Thank you, Laura. Good morning and welcome to Cracker Barrel's first quarter fiscal 2018 conference call and webcast. This morning, we issued a press release announcing our first quarter results and our outlook for the 2018 fiscal year. On the call with me this morning are Cracker Barrel's President and CEO, Sandy Cochran; SVP and CFO, Jill Golder; SVP of Marketing, Don Hoffman; and VP and Principal Accounting Officer, Jeff Wilson. Sandy will begin with a review of the business and Jill will review the financials and outlook. We will then open up the call for questions for Sandy, Jill, Don and Jeff.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements) I'll now turn the call over to Cracker Barrel's President and CEO, Sandy Cochran. Sandy?

Sandy Cochran

Thank you, Jessica. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us on our call. In this morning's press release, we reported positive comparable restaurant sales that outpaced the casual dining industry for the quarter, and earnings per share that exceeded our expectations. Also during the quarter, our field and leadership teams made significant strides in the plans we set out for the fiscal year, many of which I'll speak to this morning.

Our first quarter focus was on implementing initiatives to drive topline improvements in both our restaurant and retail businesses, as we navigated through an ongoing challenged industry environment and two major hurricanes which impacted our first quarter results.

During the quarter, we held our bi-annual managers conference and training event. At the event, we educated our restaurant and retail managers as well as our regional leaders on our long-term strategic plans through keynote features and an interactive learning center. Each store manager participated in hands-on training for several key initiatives including off-premise, crafted coffee, a new point of sales system, and our retail conversion program. Our leaders left the conference excited for the new initiative and ready to execute within their four walls.

On the restaurant side, much of our focus this quarter was on the rollout of our enhanced off-premise platform, including the introduction of new catering menu offering and the in-store training of our hourly employees. We completed system-wide rollout of our off-premise platform during the three weeks in October. To support the off-premise platform, we launched full-menu online ordering for large parties as well as individual To-Go offering. Guest responses to the new off-premise platform and the convenience of online ordering have been great.

On the retail side, we continued to navigate through a highly promotional environment with consumers seeking deep discounts and value offerings. Our first quarter retail results fell below our expectations with our underperformance occurring broadly across the majority of our categories. We worked hard to improve our merchandise value offer, particularly