The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ:CAKE) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Feb 21, 2018 • 05:00 pm ET


The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ:CAKE) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q4 2017 Cheesecake Factory Incorporated Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Stacy Feit. Ma'am, you may begin.

Stacy Feit

Thank you. Good afternoon and welcome to our fourth quarter fiscal 2017 earnings call. On the call today are David Overton, our Chairman and CEO; David Gordon, our President; and Matt Clark, our EVP and CFO.

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)

David Overton will begin today's call with some opening remarks and David Gordon will review a number of marketing and operational initiatives. Matt will then take you through our financial results in detail and provide our outlook for the first quarter and the full-year 2018, including an update on the impact of the new tax legislation. Following that, we'll open the call to questions.

With that, I'll turn the call over to David.

David Overton

Thank you, Stacy. Turning to fourth quarter, our sales trends started to stabilize. This, coupled with solid operational performance drove comparable sales and earnings results within our expectations. We again saw year-over-year increases in food efficiency and labor productivity and we continued to maintain industry-leading retention at both the management and staff level at our restaurants. We were also very active on the development front, with six openings during the quarter, meeting our objective to open eight Company-owned restaurants in 2017. We achieved this significant milestone with the opening of our first Company-owned international Cheesecake Factory restaurant in Toronto to an unprecedented level of demand. We had over 400 people in line on opening day, wait times exceeded four hours for a table, guests lined up for over an hour at the bakery for slices of cheesecake to go, and demand continues to be strong. We appreciate the warm welcome we are receiving and look forward to seeing where we can take The Cheesecake Factory brand in Canada in the future.

Domestically, we opened four Cheesecake Factory restaurants during the quarter, as well as our second RockSugar, which is now serving guests in the Chicago area. In addition, two Cheesecake Factory restaurants opened under licensing agreement internationally during the fourth quarter, including the first location in Bahrain and the third location in Qatar. A total of four restaurants opened under licensing agreements in 2017 as expected.

Looking forward to 2018, we continue to expect to open as many as four to six Company-owned restaurants, including one Grand Lux Cafe as well as our first location of a fast casual concept we are developing internally. We have signed letter of intent for a site in the Los Angeles area and pending completion of the lease negotiation, we look forward to launching the concept later this year and sharing more details with you then. We also expect as many as four to five