Shares of Habit Restaurants (NASDAQ:HABT), a burger-centric fast-casual restaurant concept with fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and sandwiches, jumped as much as 25.6% Friday morning after the company released fourth-quarter financial results.
Total revenue increased 21% to $102.7 million, compared to the prior year's $84.8 million, which topped analysts' estimates calling for $99.8 million. Comparable-restaurant sales increased 2.4%, while the company's bottom-line adjusted earnings per share checked in at $0.03, easily topping analysts' estimates calling for a loss of $0.02 per share. "We believe that our recent success has been driven by our renewed focus on being more convenient for our guests as well as our continued focus on providing the highest quality products and service at an affordable price," said Russ Bendel, president and chief executive officer of The Habit, in a press release.
With the books closed on 2018, management's focus will shift to opening 21 to 23 company-operated restaurants as well as 10 to 12 franchised/licensed restaurants to continue driving top-line growth. The company also expects fiscal 2019 revenue between $458 million and $462 million and comparable-restaurant sales growth between 2% and 3%.
As you can see, it's been a tough road for investors since The Habit's IPO, but 2018 was a step-forward year for the company after it posted negative comparable sales results through most of 2017. The fourth-quarter results and forecast give investors confidence the company is taking more steps forward.