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Chuy's Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:CHUY)
Q3 2019 Earnings Call
Nov 7, 2019, 5:00 p.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good day everyone and welcome to the Chuy's Holdings Third Quarter 2019 Earnings Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, all participants have been placed in a listen-only mode and the lines will be open for your questions following the presentation.

On today's call we have Steve Hislop, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Jon Howie, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Chuy's Holdings, Incorporated.

At this time, I will turn the conference over to Mr. Howie. Please go ahead, sir.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Operator, and good afternoon. By now, everyone should have access to our third quarter of 2019 earnings release. If not, it can be found on our website at www.chuys.com in the Investors section.

Before we begin our review of formal remarks, I need to remind everyone that part of our discussions today will include forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guaranteeing future performance and therefore you should not put undue reliance on them. These statements are also subject to numerous risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from what we expect. We refer all of you to our recent SEC filings for a more detailed discussion of the risks that could impact our future operating results and financial condition.

With that out of the way, I'd like to turn the call over to Steve.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you Jon. Good afternoon, everybody and thank you for joining us on the call today. We are pleased with our third quarter performance, highlighted by an increase in adjusted net income, just shy of 18%. Revenues during the third quarter grew approximately 8% and we posted our sixth consecutive quarter of positive comparable restaurant sales. We also successfully improved our profitability with an 11.4% increase in restaurant level operating profit and a 50 basis point increase in restaurant-level operating margin despite continued labor rate inflation and higher commodity cost during the quarter. We believe these results are a testament to the continued progress we are making on various initiatives we've put in place to drive sustainable topline growth and improve profitability.

Starting with our marketing campaign. We continue to see meaningful progress from our digital marketing efforts, which include paid search, paid social media campaigns and location-based mobile advertising covering all of our markets. In addition, our targeted marketing campaigns continue to benefit our results as we have experienced improved sales in our Houston market since we began our efforts there in April of this year.

In addition to Houston during the third quarter, we expanded our targeted marketing campaign to Orlando by utilizing a similar approach through promotional radio, strategic highway signage and advertising on digital platforms like YouTube, Hulu and Vue. As we continue our campaign in Orlando, we will launch a similar campaign in our Dallas market during the fourth quarter. Again, our goal here is to focus on certain markets each quarter to better educate our customers on the Chuy's experience and drive frequency to our restaurants.

Our continued investment in technology is equally important in our effort to improve our business. During the third quarter, through our partnership with Wisely, we completed a systemwide implementation of our new table management system that we believe will help us improve our front-of-the-house efficiency. Since then, we've added more functionality to this platform to allow us to gather important customer intelligence. This includes opt-in WiFi services to capture email addresses, which can be tied to our guests ordering during their visits as well as online. Ultimately, we'll be able to use these integrated intelligence. This is at its foundation of our future loyalty program and allow us to market targeted offerings to specific customers for a more personalized experience.

With regards to our off-premise strategy, we rolled out our catering platform to two additional markets during the third quarter, with a plan for two more markets during the fourth quarter. By year-end, our catering offerings will be available on our 11 markets. For the third quarter, catering contributed approximately $1.5 million in revenue compared to $369,000 in the same period last year.

During the third quarter, we also tested the dispatch service in two restaurants as part of our partnership with Olo. Early feedback has been very positive as customers now have access to various delivery options, direct from our website. From an operational standpoint, this system will allow us to synchronize our online ordering and delivering process for improved efficiency and order accuracy and an increase in margin on these sales. Based on this test, we will continue to expand Dispatch to more stores during the fourth quarter and we expect to follow this with a systemwide rollout by the end of first quarter 2020. Finally, we are currently in a process of negotiating national contract with a delivery provider, which will then integrate into our point-of-sale system to make the third-party delivery much more efficient.

With that, let me quickly update you on the development plan. During the quarter, we successfully opened one restaurant in Carmel -- Carmel, Indiana, which was followed by opening of our second restaurant in Columbus, Ohio market in the fourth quarter. We have now completed our 2019 development plan for -- of six new restaurants and our success was made possible through our operators and development teams' ability to instill the Chuy's culture in such a short time.

Looking at 2020, we will continue to employ similar development strategy by balancing new store growth with an ongoing focus on building brand awareness and traffic. We will further bolster our future development plans by utilizing our new real estate and analytics tool, which will allow us to identify new markets for successful expansion in the years to come through a psychographic profile of our customer base created from our top markets. We've been hard at work in developing and testing this tool and we look forward to utilizing it in -- for our 2021 development.

Finally, we also have a strong balance sheet that gives us the flexibility to use our excess capital to create additional value for our shareholders. To that end, subsequent to end of the third quarter, our Board of Directors approved a new $30 million share repurchase program that runs through December 31, 2022. That will replace our current program that was set to expire at the end of 2019. We believe this authorization is indicative of the confidence we have in our core business, our ability to continue to grow the Chuy's brand and our commitment to enhance long-term returns for our shareholders.

With that I'd like to turn the call over to our CFO, Jon Howie for a more detailed review of the second quarter's results.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Steve. Revenues for the third quarter ended September 29, 2019, increased to a $109.1 million compared to $101.2 million in the same quarter last year. The increase was primarily driven by $7.7 million in incremental revenue from an additional 93 new store operating weeks as well as comparable restaurant sales growth. These increases were partially offset by a decrease in sales from non-comparable restaurants that are not included in the incremental revenue just mentioned.

In total, we had approximately 1,338 operating weeks during the third quarter of 2019. Comparable restaurant sales increased 2.6% during the third quarter and included 4.5% increase in average check, partially offset by 1.9% decrease in average weekly customers. Effective pricing during the quarter was approximately 3.7%.

Turning to a discussion of selected expense line items, cost of sales as a percentage of revenue increased 70 basis points to 26.3%, driven by unfavorable beef, produce, dairy pricing and partially offset by favorable pricing in chicken and grocery. All in all, commodity inflation for the third-party -- through the third quarter was approximately 7%. With the expected decrease in produce pricing, we expect commodity inflation in the fourth quarter of approximately 2% to 3%.

Labor cost as a percentage of revenue decreased approximately 150 basis points to 35.5%, primarily due to menu price leverage, increased labor efficiency at new store openings and lower training expense for new managers. This was partially offset by hourly labor rate inflation on our comparable stores of approximately 3.1%. Operating costs as a percentage of revenue held steady at 14.8% compared to last year's quarter.

Marketing expense as a percentage of revenue increased 40 basis points to 1.4% driven by our ongoing national level marketing initiatives that Steve discussed earlier. Occupancy cost as a percentage of revenue decreased 10 basis points to 7.5% as we leveraged our fixed occupancy costs on higher sales, partially offset by higher rental expense at certain newly opened restaurants in larger markets as well as higher real estate taxes.

General and administrative expenses increased to $6 million in the third quarter compared to $4.8 million in the same period last year, primarily driven by an increase in performance based bonuses and management salaries as well as higher professional, legal and technology related expenses.

In summary, net loss for the third quarter of 2019 was $1.8 million or $0.11 per diluted share compared to a net loss of $7.5 million or $0.44 per diluted share in the same period last year. The Company recorded a loss of $7.3 million or $5.9 million net of tax, equal to $0.35 per diluted share, which included a non-cash loss of $7.1 million related to impairment of assets at five restaurants and $0.2 million of closure costs associated with two restaurants closed in the first quarter of 2019. During the third quarter of 2018, we also recorded a non-cash loss of $12.3 million or $11 million net of tax, equal to $0.64 per diluted share related to impaired assets at six restaurants.

Adjusted net income for the third quarter 2019 increased 17.9% to $4.1 million from $3.5 million and net income per diluted share increased 25% to $0.25 per share, from $0.20 per share in the same period last year. We ended the quarter with $10.5 million of cash on the balance sheet and we currently have no debt.

With that, we will now review our outlook for 2019.

We have raised our expectations for 2019 adjusted earnings per share to between -- to be between $0.98 and $1.01 from our previous range of $0.93 to $0.97. This compares to 2018 adjusted earnings per share of $0.88. Our guidance is based on the following updated assumptions. We now expect comparable restaurant sales growth for the year of 2% to 2.5% versus the previous range of 1.5% to 2.5%. We continue to expect restaurant pre-opening expenses of approximately $3 million, we expect G&A expenses between $23.8 million and $24.1 million from a previous range of $23.6 million to $24.1 million. Our effective tax rate is expected to range between 2% to 5% versus a range of 0% to 5%. And we are modeling annual weighted average diluted shares outstanding of approximately 16.8 million versus a previous range of 16.9 million to 17 million shares. We have opened six new restaurants this year, which completed our development plan for the year. And lastly, our capital expenditures, net of tenant improvement allowances, continue to be projected between $26 million and $29 million.

With that, I'll turn the call back to Steve to wrap up.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Jon. The initiatives we have in place are clearly producing results and while we still have more work to do, we have now laid the foundation for a healthy company in the long run. Together with a disciplined development strategy and superior restaurant operations, we have the opportunity to further improve our profitability, which should ultimately drive long-term shareholder value.

Lastly, none of our success would have been possible without the hard work and dedication of all our Chuy's employees. With that, we are happy to answer any questions. Thank you.

Questions and Answers:

Operator

We will now begin the question-and-answer session.

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from Will Slabaugh with Stephens Inc. Please go ahead.

Will Slabaugh -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

Yeah, thanks guys. Congrats on the quarter. I don't think -- first on labor, we don't often see these days dropping 150 bps year-over-year. So, I was curious how you're thinking about that improvement from a standpoint of either labor efficiencies, new store efficiencies, pricing I'm sure played into that to a degree, or anything else you wanted to add?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Well, a lot of that. I'd tell you, is a lot of leverage. We haven't had the leverage like this in a while. The other thing is we continue to work on hourly efficiencies in mainly in opening new restaurants. And like we said last quarter, the comparability of the openings in the last half of this year versus last half last year is significantly less. And so we are expecting some efficiencies there, just in openings. But we saw about 50 basis point decrease in hourly labor and then most of -- about 80 basis points was in MIT training, which is where the most of it was, and then the rest was in just regular management, labor where we are trying to reduce the parse [Phonetic].

So we are seeing some progress there and we're working forward to keep that progress going, but yeah, I mean the thing that we've put in place over the last year or two is starting to come to fruition.

Will Slabaugh -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

Great. And I want to ask you about marketing as well. I wonder if you could talk a little bit more about the results you saw from the marketing campaign in the Houston market? It sounds like you're pretty pleased with that. If you're able to tell what worked best there, and then move that into Orlando and Dallas or if it's too difficult to sort of discern what was successful versus not as much?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, the key for us is that we do the targeted marketing that gives us a little extra boost, but the key for us has been the paid social and and with the paid digital as we mentioned. And again, that's a long-term effort, that's more long-term as it goes. It starts a little slower, but then it gives a slow build and that's what we've been able to see, specifically in the Houston market and we're already -- did it one quarter in Orlando and starting to look the exact same. But really what's cool about social and digital, what's working, you can do a lot of it and what doesn't work and you can switch, and that's what we're really been doing and was touching all the markets.

And again, we've never until December of last year, if you remember, we've never really done any push on social that much and before. So this is the first time we've really -- this year has gotten out in front of the guest and introduce some of our defining differences or really work it on the frequency of the thought and get people in. So we're pretty excited about it. But again, what it isn't working, we can immediately pivot and move it to something that we feel is working.

Will Slabaugh -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

Great, thank you.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Very welcome.

Operator

Our next question comes from David Tarantino with Baird. Please go ahead.

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Hi, good afternoon. My first question is on the comps for the third quarter. Jon, it looks like most of the step-up from last quarter was related to average check growth stepping up. So I was wondering if you could maybe explain why the average check stepped up versus last quarter?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. I mean, most of it, David, was we had about 80 basis points in mix on there and a lot of that was our bar menu. We're trying these new premium tequila drinks that have been going very well. So some new drinks in the bar. And then secondly, our bulk related to our catering and to-go is up, and that's really driving that mix. So without the mix we're right around that 3.7% [Phonetic] in price, which is a little higher than we anticipated. But I think that's related to when we did the comp projection for our pricing, we've had a lot more Tier 3 and Tier 4 stores roll in and we took a little bigger price increase on those stores. So that's kind of what's driving that 4.5%.

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

And as -- Jon, as the mix component you mentioned, is that something that you think can carry over into the next couple of quarters?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I think that the bar is really driven by our quarterly promotions. And so it really will continue to try to drive those bar sales when we can. These drinks are a little pricey, so we want to make sure that we don't get them out of hand. But they're going very well. So we'll continue doing them until we get some pullback.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. And we usually do them in the same quarter every year where we have a bigger drink. So you'll probably see us have normal promotions in the bar and then probably every third quarter you will see us with a larger drink to stay consistent with our approach, and then obviously like the bulk, increase in to-go and as the bulk will continue to rise as we continue to add about two stores -- two markets every quarter with the catering van.

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Got it. And then on pricing, I think 3.7% is maybe a high watermark versus what we've seen historically. So, if I'm not -- maybe, correct me if I'm wrong Jon, but that might be running ahead of what the total inflation in the business is. So just wondering what the philosophy is on pricing, especially as you think about what your plans are for next year on that factor?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. This is Steve. You're right. In the last 10 years, we, until 2019, we've averaged probably one and the three quarters -- one and three quarters to around two, this one on just on paper, it was around -- right around that two to three quarters to three. And then mix changes moved it up. What we do all the time is obviously look at what the market bears and we want to be the value in every market and we continue our -- during the years that we were only doing one and three quarters to two, our value spread through -- so it has actually got larger and larger in all our tiers. So we felt we had some room compared to our competitors.

As we move favor -- I mean forward, you'll see us probably in that two plus depending on where we're at in the competitive marketplaces where we want to be the value, but you'll probably see us above the two number -- two plus in the upcoming year.

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Got it. And then Steve, maybe a related one around this topic. Traffic has been slightly negative. I know the industry conditions are -- aren't all that great, but I guess what's -- what are you think keys are to getting back to flat or positive on that...

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

I'm sorry, go ahead.

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

No. I just -- Sorry. I'll let you respond. Sorry.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. The key for us is execution, what we've talked and what we've done for the last two years and we're going to continue to do is our toward [Phonetic] approach to our restaurants as we dive into our four walls, because that's where it always is and obviously we're looking outside the four walls with a little bit marketing and we've learned a ton this year and I'm kind of expecting us to learn even more as we go into our second year of how to market our stores properly and especially in new and existing markets. But at the end of the day, we want to put the hospitality back into our restaurants, like a -- the restaurant entries boasted [Phonetic]. So we want to look at hospitality and making sure we're staffed to grow, not staffed to maintain. While we've been real efficient, we need to make sure that the service levels are going up. And those are the main things. It's within our right, within the four walls. We have to not do the crazy stuffs that some of our competitors are doing and worry about executing our deal and we will know long-term that works for us.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I think, David, if you look at kind of our existing stores that were in our comparable base at the end of last year, I mean they take out all the noise. They've been averaging down about 1% in traffic, which, because our headwind this quarter was close to 100 basis points. And if you look at that compared to the industry average, casual dining of 3% to 4% down in traffic. I'm not saying that we're happy but we're definitely beating the average and we're moving that forward from last year as well.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

And also, the difference between $1.5 million and $400,000 and bulk is making sure that we are getting the bulk counts right on the catering, make sure we're looking apples to apples.

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Got it. All right, thank you very much.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Chris O'Cull with Stifel. Please go ahead.

Chris O'Cull -- Stifel -- Analyst

Thanks. Jon, the comp guidance seems to indicate you expect comps maybe to slow here in the fourth quarter. Is there any reason for that outlook?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

We ran -- comparable to what we've been running, a little we're still above 2% but not at 2.5%. And so I just brought it down a little bit and just because of that. But it's been running pretty consistent. If you were to look at the period by period for periods through Q3, it was consistently between 2.4% and 2.7% each period.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

A little bit and as I have told Jon, I'm pretty optimistic still, right in that expectation for the third quarter. We had my Boston Red Sox are in the World Series. It didn't help us having Houston in the Nationals where we have stores in the World Series for seven game down. So that hurt us. And then we had a little bit of real cold weather down in the south that affected us a tiny bit where we had good weather last year for the first month of this quarter. So that should be right in there, the trends have been very similar.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Chris O'Cull -- Stifel -- Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. And then can you explain what are the benefits, I guess of implementing the Dispatch product if you're also planning to sign a partnership with a third-party delivery provider? Help me understand how that works together.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Well, I mean, the Dispatch obviously, the third-party provider that people go to their website to order Chuy's, we want them to come to our website to order Chuy's. So the Dispatch, they come to our website and then they can ask for pick up or delivery. When they ask for a delivery, an auction takes place and they say, OK to the delivery and then we actually will charge the customer most of that charge. And so that will offset the total delivery charge for the third-party delivery services that is picking up the Dispatch.

And so it's higher margin, obviously since we're offsetting that whole delivery cost, but then also driving people to our website versus the third-party, so we can get their information and everything. And it also -- and it also, one thing I forgot, it also obviously is more efficient, because that drives it right to the kitchen using Dispatch, it goes straight into our kitchen, it's integrated where third parties are still on a -- on an iPad out there.

Chris O'Cull -- Stifel -- Analyst

So if you're looking at a partnership with a third-party aggregator, first are you using that -- is that third-party provider offering Chuy's today and then also, do you expect to, I mean have it fully integrated with your point-of-sale system, so that it will be easier operationally to execute?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So, currently, it is not, but once we get the national contract signed, it will be integrated, it'll actually be integrated through the rails product through Olo, since it's already set up that way. The provider that we're talking to is already the provider for 20 of our stores. But they will take over the rest of them as well.

Chris O'Cull -- Stifel -- Analyst

Is there a -- I would suspect you would get some sort of promotional money associated with that partnership. Is that true? And is that an opportunity then for to see another sales initiatives or sales channel next year to really take off with some growth?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

You are correct. When we launch this with them, there are some, I mean I don't want to go too much into that because we haven't signed it yet, Chris, but there are some opportunities when we launch that with them to put some marketing dollars behind that.

Chris O'Cull -- Stifel -- Analyst

Okay, great, thanks guys.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Nick Setyan with Wedbush Securities. Please go ahead.

Nick Setyan -- Wedbush Securities Inc. -- Analyst

Thanks. Congrats on another great quarter. The marketing...

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Nick.

Nick Setyan -- Wedbush Securities Inc. -- Analyst

The marketing step up this year is clearly having some really good results. Is there any thought to maybe having another step up as we go into 2020?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

First, we have actually -- we have the big meeting coming up where we're going to review everything that we did this last year and I think especially you'll see us probably right around that, Nick. I'm sorry, you'll probably see us stay right around that spend of about 1.4%, but you will see us probably get really focused on defining what work and what didn't within our ROI [Phonetic] process. So we might spend it differently, but it'd still be within that 1.4% of sales.

Nick Setyan -- Wedbush Securities Inc. -- Analyst

Got it. Obviously, there's been a lot of conversations around commodities with that inflation next year. It's great to hear the Q4 inflation is going to be a little bit less, but any early signs that 2020 might be a scary year in terms of commodity inflation or does that at least early on, is it looking more manageable?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

I think right now, I mean I think the biggest scare out there that everybody is talking about is swine flu in China and how it's going to indirectly drive maybe some of the other protein prices, but we feel pretty comfortable with that, I mean protein or pork is not a big item on our menu anyway, no matter how high it goes, and we've got our beef locked in pretty -- at decent prices that we're comfortable with next year, clear through the end of the year or to heat up these through 11 months and ground beef through the rest of the year. So we feel pretty good at that. I think we can keep it manageable in that 1% to 3% [Phonetic] and that's really dependent upon qualifying that on mother nature and produce because we do not lock that in. And that -- that's the one big driver that always drives our cost of sales with produce.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

You might have a little bit -- we might have a little bit on the chicken because of that but. But we still feel pretty good about it.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah.

Nick Setyan -- Wedbush Securities Inc. -- Analyst

Got it. And just kind of last question. Are we still expecting a pretty front-end loaded 2020 opening cadence?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

We are.

Nick Setyan -- Wedbush Securities Inc. -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you.

Operator

[Operator Instructions]

Our next question comes from Andrew Strelzik with BMO Capital Markets. Please go ahead.

Andrew Strelzik -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, good afternoon. I wanted to revisit the traffic comments from before. I understand some of the weather and other headwinds that you called out, but I guess I'm a little surprised that you haven't seen more of an improvement in the traffic trends given some of the marketing, recognizing it's not in all the markets, but I guess I'm curious, do you have any sense that the incremental pricing is impacting your traffic trends or maybe some of the catering is having an impact there and whereas maybe as we roll into next year with less of a pricing component that -- maybe that removes some of that headwind?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Right now, again, I think the biggest difference is what Jon said about 1%, which is better than it was the prior year. I think we're just going to keep chipping away at it and I don't believe, again, what the key is and every one of our market enabling price increase, this will be the best value in every market that I am, which we have been and still are. So we have not had any information on any of price increase that's bothered us and the big thing -- change for us has been the amount of catering that we've done year-over-year.

Andrew Strelzik -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Okay. And then on some of the customer data that you've been collecting which ultimately will lead itself to the loyalty program. Are you able to mine any of that data now? And I'm curious if you're -- if there's been any kind of early learnings or surprises or interesting kind of titbits that you're doing from that so far? Thank you.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Again, what we've been mining now, it's only been in two stores. And we're going to roll it out to a few more before the end of the year and we'll probably have it completely rolled out at the end of the first quarter of 2020, that's when we'll be really starting to really use that information [Indecipherable] also be on Olo ordering and in-store dining. So we'll know what they've had and then we'll have the emails and so forth, so we can [Indecipherable] more targeted marketing to individual people. But we got a little ways to get that completely implemented.

Andrew Strelzik -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Understood. Thank you very much.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

My pleasure.

Operator

Our next question comes from Brian Vaccaro with Raymond James. Please go ahead.

Brian M. Vaccaro -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Thanks. Good evening. Just wanted to circle back on the comps. And could you provide a little more color on the cadence that you saw through the quarter? Any comments on regions or Texas versus newer market? And then would you be willing to comment on your quarter-to-date comp trends?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Brian. Like we were saying before, basically the cadence during Q3 was very consistent, low being 2.4%, high being 2.7%. So it was very, very consistent during the third quarter. We see other than like Steve was saying, other than some of the softness around the World Series since those two participants were in our markets and especially, one of our bigger markets being Houston, we did have some softness there, but the underlying trend is still take that away, the underlying trend is still there.

Brian M. Vaccaro -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Okay. And would you comment on the quarter-to-date or --?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I mean, yes. I'll just say it's 2.2% for a period of 10 [Phonetic], because of some of the softness with the World Series.

Brian M. Vaccaro -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Okay, all right. And sorry if I missed it, but what was off-premise sales mix in the quarter and how much of that was delivery?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. The off-premise was about 12.9% and it increased about 13.7%, delivery averages about 2.5% of that.

Brian M. Vaccaro -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Okay, great. And then, Steve, I wanted to circle back on your comments around service. I'm curious where you see opportunities there? Are there certain units or markets where you might add hours or perhaps utilized handhelds or something else to drive hospitality? And could you also provide an update on turnover? Thank you.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Sure. Great questions. What we're looking at is we're looking at testing and getting stuff out there, we're looking at a handheld and pay-at-the-table that we think is going to help our efficiency and keep the servers on the floor even a little bit more to really work on salesmanship and making sure we're taking care of the customers the way they'd like to be taken care of. And it's just hospitality, all the way around to a simple greet, to a simple opening the door, which everybody can always constantly work on. And our turnover is probably at a five-year low. It's at 89% hourly and that's the lowest in the long time. So we're pleased with our retention rates in our stores.

Brian M. Vaccaro -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Great, thank you very much.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Pleasure.

Operator

Our next question comes from Bob Derrington with Telsey. Please go ahead.

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

Yeah, thanks. Steve, you, I think once said that you're not planning to really grow the system until you get traffic back to positive. On the other hand, I know that your new real estate tool looks to be pretty encouraging about finding good site. How do you reconcile those two as we look into the future?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Well, the key thing Bob is, as I mentioned on the real estate tool, we're still in the testing process on that and we'll probably really roll that out in 2021 to be on a store-by-store basis. So we're still in the testing mode on that and make sure we're making good decisions, than it's given us. And again, that's not a save all, it's just one -- another piece of the puzzle by actually real estate. So it's not to save all, but it's a key element to add that psychographic piece into it and go from there. The key for us is we need to be up in customer, customer count is the lifeblood long-term of what we do and I want us to be positive for a period of time before we really ramp up and that's why you'll see the stores similar to this year for next year. We believe we are working in the right direction to make that happen and we're going to continue on the direction and we also have a lot more initiatives that we talked about, whether it'd be Wisely or the things Jon said earlier, that we want to really get integrated into our business and for us to really look at, in 2021 hopefully, move in that number back up.

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

You've had some really good encouraging trends. And I'm just wondering if this is kind of like a line in the sand that you have to have [Indecipherable] traffic is a little bit negative. It's not that big a deal. So is it reasonable that development could increase with better site selection in the future even though traffic maybe a skosh still negative?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

You know we, Bob, I'm fairly stubborn but we'll look at all things on the table at that particular time. But I need to see a trend -- strongest trend on customer count.

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

Got you. And a quick follow-up on the impairment charge, during this quarter are, I believe there were five. Was it five new stores that have now been impaired?

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Five restaurants.

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

And is it likely, Steve, that we'll see some closures of those?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Bob, to close the store is a big thing, one of the last resorts and out of respect of our employees, we're not going to mention these store closures or discuss stores' closures until a point in time that that would happen, but we continue to look at that and so I'll just have to leave it at that.

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

I guess what I'm wondering is, are there -- is there a plan that you can find some improvement within the operating trends, within those businesses? Are they pretty well kind of stuck in a rut, so to speak?

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No, I mean we're finding some improvement like I was saying on some of the priority stores with some of the Taco Tuesdays and our Fajita Wednesdays...

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

And our margaritas.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

And margaritas. So we're finding some ways to drive sales there and margins. But again I think like Steve has said, there is a store that need to be closed, we will assess it that at that time and make sure that we don't -- we make the right decision and don't prolong that.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, and just make sure we're using the human capital properly.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

Got you. Okay, thanks guys.

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you.

Operator

This concludes our question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Steve Hislop for any closing remarks.

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you so much. Jon and I appreciate your continued interest in Chuy's and we will always be available to answer any and all questions. Again, thank you and have a good evening.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 37 minutes

Call participants:

Jon Howie -- Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Steve Hislop -- President & Chief Executive Officer

Will Slabaugh -- Stephens Inc -- Analyst

David Tarantino -- Robert W. Baird -- Analyst

Chris O'Cull -- Stifel -- Analyst

Nick Setyan -- Wedbush Securities Inc. -- Analyst

Andrew Strelzik -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Brian M. Vaccaro -- Raymond James -- Analyst

Robert Derrington -- Telsey Advisory Group -- Analyst

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