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Carrols sales dipped in Q4, rose for full year

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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The Burger King restaurant at 955 W. Genesee St. in Syracuse. (ERIC REINHARDT / CNYBJ FILE PHOTO)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: TAST) on Jan. 10 reported that its restaurants’ sales declined slightly in the fourth quarter of 2021 but rose during the full calendar year.

Syracuse–based Carrols is the nation’s largest Burger King franchisee.

The company’s restaurants generated sales of $416.1 million during the fourth quarter of 2021, down slightly from $420.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

For the full year, the Syracuse–based Carrols said its restaurants generated more than $1.65 billion in sales for all of 2021, up from nearly $1.55 billion in sales during 2020. 

The prior-year’s sales figures include a $28.4 million contribution from the 53rd week in 2020, Carrols noted.

The company explained that the announced sales results for the fourth quarter and full year 2021 were preliminary. Carrols’ final report on its fourth quarter and full-year financial results, including net income, is still to come. 

In the fourth quarter, comparable restaurant sales for the company’s Burger King restaurants increased 7.4 percent and comparable restaurant sales for the company’s Popeyes restaurants rose 1 percent.

For the full year, comparable restaurant sales for the Carrols’ Burger King restaurants increased 9.1 percent; and comparable restaurant sales for the firm’s Popeyes restaurants fell 1.9 percent.

“Our favorable Burger King comparable restaurant sales performance during the fourth quarter of 2021 was driven by average check growth of 12.1 percent, inclusive of menu price increases and lower promotional activity, partially offset by a traffic decline of 4.2 percent,” Daniel Accordino, chairman and CEO of Carrols Restaurant Group, said in the preliminary report. “Our Burger King restaurants also demonstrated strong sequential improvement in comparable restaurant sales until the last two weeks of December, when we believe the initial impact of the Omicron variant began slowing sales trends. Compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, the company’s Burger King quarterly comparable restaurant sales rose 7.0 percent. From a cost perspective, in the latest quarter we continued to see meaningful headwinds with respect to commodity and labor cost inflation similar to what we experienced during the third quarter of 2021.” 

Carrols currently operates 1,026 Burger King restaurants in 23 states, as well as 65 Popeyes restaurants in seven states. Carrols has operated Burger King restaurants since 1976 and Popeyes restaurants since 2019.

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