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Zoe's Kitchen Inc Earnings: New Store Openings and Strong Comps Fuel 31% Sales Growth

By Joe Tenebruso - Feb 26, 2016 at 2:03PM

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CEO Kevin Miles says he's "incredibly optimistic" about the future of his rapidly growing restaurant chain.

Source: Zoe's Kitchen

Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES) reported fourth quarter results on Thursday. The Mediterranean-inspired fast casual restaurant chain continues to cook up delicious food for its customers and mouth-watering growth for its investors.

The raw numbers


Q4 2015

Q4 2014

YoY Growth


$52.691 million

$40.014 million


Net Income

$2.568 million

($1.596 million)


Earnings Per Share




Source: Zoe's Kitchen press release

What happened with Zoe's Kitchen this quarter?
Total revenue jumped 31.7% to $52.7 million, as Zoe's Kitchen opened five new company-owned restaurants during the fourth quarter and 34 stores overall in 2015. A 7.7% spike in comparable restaurant sales -- consisting of a 2.8% increase in traffic, a 4.5% improvement in product mix, and 0.4% bump from price increases -- drove revenue even higher.

Restaurant contribution (defined as restaurant sales minus restaurant operating costs) increased 41.5% to $10.4 million. As a percentage of restaurant sales, restaurant contribution margin increased 130 basis points to 19.8% as lower commodity prices, particularly for poultry items, boosted results.

Zoe's Kitchen posted a profit of $2.6 million, or $0.13 per share, compared to a net loss of $1.6 million, or $0.08 per share, in the year-ago period. However, net income was boosted by a $3.4 million benefit for income taxes. Excluding this benefit and other special items, the company logged an adjusted net loss of $500,000 versus $700,000 last year. The adjusted net loss narrowed to $0.03 from $0.04 per share.

What management had to say
"We finished 2015 with an exceptional quarter," said CEO Kevin Miles in a press release. "This year marks our sixth consecutive year of strong positive comparable restaurant sales growth. The investments we are making in our people and our focus on key business strategies are driving our growth and our industry-leading performance."

Looking forward
Management's fiscal 2016 outlook included:

  • A forecast of total revenue between $275 million and $280 million, which would represent year-over-year growth of approximately 22% at the midpoint.
  • Comparable restaurant sales growth forecast in a range of 4% to 5.5%.
  • Plans to open 34 to 36 company-owned restaurants.
  • Restaurant contribution margin forecast in a range between 20.3% and 20.8%.

"I'm incredibly optimistic about our operational and financial strategies and confident we are positioned to deliver continued strong performance into the future while growing our Mediterranean lifestyle brand," added Miles.

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