Ruth's Hospitality Group Inc. (NASDAQ:RUTH) Q3 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Nov 01, 2019 • 08:30 am ET
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for standing by. Welcome to today's Ruth's Hospitality Group 2019 Third Quarter Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Following the formal remarks, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Instructions will be provided at that time for you to queue up for questions. As a reminder, today's conference call is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the conference over to Mark Taylor, Vice President of Financial Planning and Analysis. Please go ahead, sir.
Thank you Gavin and good morning everyone. Joining me on the call today are Cheryl Henry, President and Chief Executive Officer and Arne Haak, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.
Before we begin, I'd like to remind you that part of our discussion today will include forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of our future performance and therefore undue reliance should not be placed upon them. We would like to refer you to the Investor Relations section of our website at rhgi.com as well as the SEC's website at sec.gov for copies of today's earnings press release and our recent filings with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of the risks that could impact our future operating and financial results.
During this call, we will refer to adjusted earnings per share. This non-GAAP measurement was calculated by excluding certain items as well as losses from discontinued operations. We believe that this measure represents a useful internal measure of performance. You could find a reconciliation of adjusted earnings per share in our press release for today's call.
I would now like to turn the call over to our Chief Executive Officer, Cheryl Henry.
Good morning, everyone. And thank you all for joining us on the call today.
I am proud of the results we delivered for the third quarter in the face of several external headwinds. This included a tropical storm that affected our New Orleans area restaurants and Hurricane Dorian, which impacted Florida and parts of the South East. Additionally, we managed through record high beef prices, which drove a 19% increase in year-over-year total beef costs. Despite these challenges, we were able to deliver positive same store sales growth and 22% increase in pro forma earnings per share. The strength of our business continues to evolve around our commitment to innovation and operational excellence, which is the foundation of our brand and long-term success.
With regards to innovation, we made progress testing new initiatives during the quarter, which we are excited about, and we'll share more details as soon as these tests conclude. We believe that these initiatives will help our efforts to drive sales and increased traffic as we look to enhance our successful Happy Hour and bar programs, launch enticing new guest experiences and evolve our main dining room offerings, while also providing value to our guests. These initiatives can only succeed if our foundation is strong within our operations. We work continuously within our restaurants