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-- -- -- -- So pop ice pops and first quarter earnings -- 15% higher profit -- parent company AFC enterprises draining -- exclusive interview.
Is the CEO of AFC enterprises Cheryl back -- Cheryl thanks so much for joining us.
I'm congratulations on the quarter we talked to some analysts ahead of time.
-- -- -- really impressed with the performance what would you say worked for you this quarter.
This really was a great quarter for -- -- sales were up over 7% are operating earnings were up over 20% and adjusted earnings per share up 30%.
What really work for us with a powerful marketing message exciting new products.
And -- all of that coming together to make our owners great.
Profitability at the bottom line we opened -- sixty units this quarter that's just the beginning of our new year.
This is a prosperous and growing brand.
Yet you -- you mention you and 26 restaurants I thought it was interesting that at the same time you permanently closed seventeen restaurants.
Is that shift in neighborhoods -- locations that a -- conscious decision because it means that the net new openings were only nine.
For the last three years we've closed about 775 restaurants per year that's pretty normal and established brand at 16100 restaurants in the US.
You have trade areas that move -- -- opening new areas the important thing it's just funny.
Six new restaurants are opening at significantly higher volumes -- -- averages from and the closings.
Are very low volume restaurants you'll also battling higher chicken prices and chicken all of a sudden is so popular part of it has to do with rising beef costs.
Yeah there's that pink slime prices of course that has been covered ad nauseam so to speak.
How are you battling higher chicken prices.
But we're excited to -- the most popular protein in the first quarter our costs were up about two and a half percent -- paper.
But we've really been working hard -- supply chain savings -- controlling costs and our restaurant.
So that we can keep offering our customers great offers and maintain good profitability.
This is the fourth year in a row our franchisees have increased absolute dollar restaurant profit.
-- and that's making them very excited to be part of a pop -- system despite the commodity situation.
And looking at your stock I mean you guys have seen quite a -- analyst Sam -- -- that we talked earlier said.
That you have been tremendous for this brand -- he was wondering how long you're gonna stay on.
-- this is -- A great team building opportunity we have a management team in every function that's highly capable.
And is bringing the process and the performance to the table so.
Strong and capable team and I plan to be with them a long time.
OK and he also -- and they'll.
Why she's spending a pop -- I mean AFC enterprises is something I know when it came up I said who is this the hues that pop right of course.
How can we don't know what the name pop eyes.
Yes are holding companies called AFC for America's favorite chicken.
And the brand is top -- will be easy and a kitchen that's kinda part of our history.
In all of our public conversations were talking about our restaurants and how we've reposition them.
To this heritage of Louisiana great food -- spend the platform for which.
We we have grown our brand the last four years with exciting new chicken and seafood products and no plan to go to just the name -- price for your company -- your stock.
Now we -- -- buys Louisiana kitchen RE share.
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