20151229 FY_Taxonomy2015

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-K

 

(Mark One)

 

 

ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the fiscal year ended December 29, 2015

 

OR

 

 

 

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

For the transition period from                    to                    

 

Commission File Number 001-35611

 

Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Inc.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delaware

 

20-8453116

(State or other jurisdiction of

incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer

Identification No.)

 

 

920 S. Kimball Ave., Suite 100,

Southlake, TX

 

76092

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip code)

 

(817) 601-3421

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each Exchange on which registered

Common Stock, $0.001 par value per share

 

The NASDAQ Global Select Market

 

Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.       Yes       No

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act.       Yes       No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.       Yes       No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).       Yes       No

Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.    

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). (Check one):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Large accelerated filer

 

  

Accelerated filer

 

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

 

  

Smaller reporting company

 

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).       Yes       No

As of June 16, 2015, the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, the aggregate market value of the registrant’s common stock, $0.001 par value per share, held by non-affiliates was approximately $435,466,426.

As of March 1, 2016,  23,400,371 shares of the registrant’s common stock, $0.001 par value per share, were outstanding.

Documents Incorporated by Reference: Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission no later than 120 days after the end of the registrant’s fiscal year ended December 29, 2015, are incorporated by reference in Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K.

 

 

1

 


 

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Page

 

PART I 

  

 

 

 

Item 1. Business 

  

 

  

Item 1A. Risk Factors 

  

 

10 

  

Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments 

  

 

19 

  

Item 2. Properties 

  

 

20 

  

Item 3. Legal Proceedings 

  

 

21 

  

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures 

  

 

21 

  

 

 

PART II 

  

 

 

 

Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities 

  

 

22 

  

Item 6. Selected Financial Data 

  

 

24 

  

Item 7.  Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations 

  

 

28 

  

Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk 

  

 

41 

  

Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data 

  

 

41 

  

Item 9. Changes in and Disagreements with Accountants on Accounting and Financial Disclosure 

  

 

41 

  

Item 9A. Controls and Procedures 

  

 

41 

  

Item 9B. Other Information 

  

 

42 

  

 

 

PART III 

  

 

 

 

Item 10. Directors, Executive Officers and Corporate Governance 

  

 

43 

  

Item 11. Executive Compensation 

  

 

43 

  

Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management and Related Stockholder Matters 

  

 

43 

  

Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions, and Director Independence 

  

 

43 

  

Item 14. Principal Accountant Fees and Services 

  

 

43 

  

 

 

PART IV 

  

 

 

 

Item 15. Exhibits and Financial Statement Schedules 

  

 

44 

  

 

 

 

 

2

 


 

 

FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

Certain statements made or incorporated by reference in this report and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, in our press releases and in statements made by or with the approval of authorized personnel constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and are subject to the safe harbor created thereby. Forward looking statements reflect intent, belief, current expectations, estimates or projections about, among other things, our industry, management’s beliefs, and future events and financial trends affecting us. Words such as “anticipates,” “expects,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “seeks,” “estimates,” “may,” “will” and variations of these words or similar expressions are intended to identify forward looking statements. In addition, any statements that refer to expectations, projections or other characterizations of future events or circumstances, including any underlying assumptions, are forward looking statements. Although we believe the expectations reflected in any forward looking statements are reasonable, such statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to certain risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, our actual results could differ materially and adversely from those expressed in any forward looking statements as a result of various factors. These differences can arise as a result of the risks described in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, including under Item 1A, Risk Factors, as well as other factors that may affect our business, results of operations, or financial condition. Forward looking statements in this report speak only as of the date hereof, and forward looking statements in documents incorporated by reference speak only as of the date of those documents. Unless otherwise required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise these forward looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. In light of these risks and uncertainties, we cannot assure you that the forward looking statements contained in this report will, in fact, transpire.

 

PART I

 

 

 

Item 1.

Business

We were initially organized as a Delaware limited liability company on June 30, 2006 in connection with the acquisition by our former principal stockholder, which we refer to along with its affiliates and associates (excluding us and other companies that it or they own as a result of their investment activities) as Lone Star Fund, of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc., which owned the Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s restaurant concepts. Following the acquisition, which we refer to as the Acquisition, Lone Star Fund restructured the company to separate certain other Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon concepts by, among other things, spinning off the subsidiaries that owned and operated those concepts. We converted from a Delaware limited liability company to a Delaware corporation in July 2012 in connection with our initial public offering. During 2013, we completed three separate secondary offerings on behalf of Lone Star Fund in March, July and December, which fully liquidated the remaining outstanding shares owned by Lone Star Fund. Unless the context otherwise indicates, all references to “we,” “our,” “us,” or the “Company” refer to Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Inc. and its subsidiaries.

 

Our Company

We develop, own and operate three contemporary, high-end, complementary restaurants: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, or Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s Steakhouse, or Sullivan’s, and Del Frisco’s Grille, or the Grille. We are a leader in the full-service steakhouse industry based on average unit volume, or AUV, and EBITDA margin. We currently operate 50 restaurants in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Each of our three restaurant concepts offers steaks as well as other menu selections, such as chops and fresh seafood. These menu selections are complemented by an extensive, award-winning wine list. Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s and the Grille are positioned within the fine dining segment and are designed to appeal to both business and local dining customers. Our Del Frisco’s restaurants are sited in urban locations to target customers seeking a “destination dining” experience while our Sullivan’s and Grille restaurants are intended to appeal to a broader demographic, allowing them to be located either in urban areas or in close proximity to affluent residential neighborhoods. We believe our success reflects consistent execution across all aspects of the dining experience, from the formulation of proprietary recipes to the procurement and presentation of high quality menu items and delivery of a positive customer experience.

 

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

We believe Del Frisco’s is one of the premier steakhouse concepts in the United States. The Del Frisco’s brand is defined by its menu, which includes USDA Prime grade, wet-aged steaks hand-cut at the time of order and a range of other high-quality offerings, including prime lamb, fresh seafood, and signature side dishes and desserts. It is also distinguished by its “swarming service,” whereby customers are served simultaneously by multiple servers. Each restaurant has a sommelier to guide diners through an extensive, award-winning wine list and our bartenders specialize in hand-shaken martinis and crafted cocktails. Del Frisco’s restaurants target customers seeking a full-service, fine dining steakhouse experience. We believe the décor and ambiance, with both contemporary and classic designs, enhance our customers’ experience and differentiate Del Frisco’s from other upscale steakhouse concepts. We currently operate 12  Del Frisco’s steakhouses in nine states and the District of Columbia. These restaurants range in size from 11,000 to 24,000 square feet with seating capacity for at least 300 people. Annual AUVs per Del Frisco’s restaurant for locations open the entire year were $14.6 million for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2015. During the same period, the average check at Del Frisco’s was $113.

3

 


 

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

Sullivan’s was created in the mid-1990’s as a complementary concept to Del Frisco’s. The Sullivan’s brand is defined by a fine dining experience at a more accessible price point, along with a vibrant atmosphere created by an open kitchen, live music and a bar area designed to be a center for social gathering and entertainment. Each Sullivan’s features fine hand-selected aged steaks, fresh seafood and a broad list of custom cocktails, along with an extensive selection of award-winning wines. We currently operate 18 Sullivan’s steakhouses in 14 states. These restaurants range in size from 7,000 to 11,000 square feet with seating capacity for at least 250 people. Annual AUVs per Sullivan’s restaurant were $4.3 million for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2015. During the same period, the average check at Sullivan’s was $64.

 

Del Frisco’s Grille

We developed the Grille, our newest concept, to take advantage of the positioning of the Del Frisco’s brand and to provide greater potential for expansion due to its smaller size, lower build out cost and more diverse menu. The Grille is an upscale casual concept with a menu designed to appeal more broadly to both business and casual diners that features a variety of Del Frisco’s prime aged steaks, top selling signature menu items and a broad selection of the same quality wines. The Grille also offers an assortment of relatively less expensive entrees, such as flatbread pizzas, sandwiches and salads, all prepared with the same signature flavors, high quality ingredients and presentation associated with the Del Frisco’s brand. We believe the ambiance of the concept appeals to a wide range of customers seeking a less formal atmosphere for their dining occasions. We currently operate 20 Grilles in 11 states and the District of Columbia. Additional Grille openings are planned over the next year and we anticipate they will, like existing Grille locations, range in size from 6,500 to 8,500 square feet with seating capacity for at least 200 people. Annual AUVs per Grille restaurant for locations open the entire year were $5.3 million for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2015. During the same period, the average check at the Grille’s was $49.We are continuing to target annual AUVs per Grille restaurant of between $4.5 million and $6.0 million with an average check of between $45 and $55.

 

Restaurant Industry Overview

According to the National Restaurant Association, U.S. restaurant industry sales in 2015 were $746 billion, an increase of 9.2% over 2014 sales of $683 billion, and are projected to grow to $783 billion in 2016, representing an increase of 5.0%. We compete in the full-service steak industry, or the FSR Steak category as defined by Technomic, Inc., a research and consulting firm serving the food and foodservice industries. Each of our concepts falls into the FSR Steak category, which includes fine dining, and is defined as establishments with a relatively broad menu along with table, counter, and/or booth service and a waitstaff. At the conclusion of 2014, the FSR Steak category included 8,449 units. The FSR Steak category achieved $17.8 billion in sales in 2014, representing a 6.0% growth rate over 2013. Restaurants within the FSR Steak category within Technomic’s ranking of the top 500 restaurant chains (as ranked by U.S. system-wide sales) reported sales growth of 6.0% in 2014 and out-performed the overall Full Service Restaurant category, which reported sales growth of 3.6% in 2014.

 

Site Selection and Development

We believe site selection is critical for the potential success of our restaurants. We carefully consider growth opportunities for each of our restaurant concepts and utilize a customized approach for each concept when selecting and prioritizing markets for expansion. We perform comprehensive demographic and customer profile studies to evaluate and rationalize the trade areas and sites within each desired market. We leverage a significant number of sources to produce extensive research and analysis on the dynamics of the local area, the specific attributes of each site considered and the unit economics we believe we can realize.

 

For the Del Frisco’s brand, we focus on sites in urban locations that allow us to easily access business clientele and customers seeking a premium dining experience. Many of our Del Frisco’s restaurants are in marquee locations, including waterfront property, popular shopping districts and active business centers. We believe the broader appeal of the Sullivan’s and Grille concepts allows us to target sites in both urban locations as well as more suburban locations in close proximity to affluent residential areas. Our site assessment analysis includes three primary components: customer profiling (demographics, lifestyle segmentation, spend metrics), trade area and site evaluation (physical inspection, competitive benchmarking, analysis of business generators/traffic patterns), and financial modeling (square footage and seat count analysis, predictive sales and margin evaluations, investment cost and return metrics). Understanding our customers is an essential element of our market planning and site selection processes. We’ve developed a customer profile for each of our concepts to help guide our development efforts and educate our development partners. We look for the following minimum criteria in our site trade areas:

 

4

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

Population(a)

 

  

Daytime
Population(a)

 

  

Average  HH
Income

 

  

Median
Age

 

  

Priority Age
Blocks(b)

  

Traffic
Counts(c)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0001193125-13-074839_G446562G22G03.JPG

 

  

 

 

100,000+

  

  

 

 

150,000+

  

  

 

$

 

100,000+

  

  

 

 

40+

  

  

 

35-44; 45-54;
55-64

  

 

 

40,000+

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

C:\USERS\JFERGU~1\APPDATA\LOCAL\TEMP\wz7717\Sullivans Logos\Sullivans_Logos_large_jpg\Sullivans_logo_k_800px.jpg

 

  

 

 

 

75,000+

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

100,000+

 

  

 

  

 

$

 

 

75,000+

 

  

 

  

 

 

 

35+

 

  

 

  

 

35-44; 45-54

 

  

 

 

 

25,000+

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture 5

  

 

 

 

75,000+

  

  

 

 

 

100,000+

  

  

 

 

$

 

 

75,000+

  

  

 

 

 

35+

  

  

 

 

25-34; 35-44;
45-54

  

 

 

 

25,000+

  

 

 

 

 

(a)

Represents the population within a customized target area generally with less than a 20-minute drive time.

(b)

Represents the targeted age demographics for a prospective site.

(c)

Represents the targeted average daily vehicle traffic for a prospective site.

 

We expect the size of new Del Frisco’s restaurants to range from 12,000 to 16,000 square feet, new Sullivan’s restaurants to range from 8,000 to 9,000 square feet and new Grille restaurants to range from 6,500 to 8,500 square feet. For the opening of a new restaurant, we measure our cash investment costs net of landlord contributions and equipment financing, but including pre-opening costs. We target average cash investment costs of $7.0 million to $9.0 million for a new Del Frisco’s and $3.0 million to $4.5 million for a new Sullivan’s or Grille. We target a cash-on-cash return of at least 25% beginning in the third operating year across our concepts. To achieve this return we target a ratio of third year restaurant revenues to net development costs in the range of approximately 1.25:1 to 1.50:1. We target restaurant-level EBITDA margins of between 20% and 25% for each of our three concepts.

 

We believe there are opportunities to open six to eight new restaurants annually, generally composed of one Del Frisco’s and five to seven Sullivan’s and/or Grilles, with new openings of our Grille concept likely serving as the primary driver of new unit growth in the near term. During 2016, we expect to open two to three Grilles and relocate one Del Frisco’s. It generally takes nine to 12 months after the signing of a lease or the closing of a purchase to complete construction and open a new restaurant. Additional time is sometimes required to obtain certain government approvals, permits and licenses, such as liquor licenses.

 

Restaurant Operations and Management

Our restaurants have a distinctive combination of food, atmosphere and service in an upscale environment. We believe that our success reflects the consistency of our execution across all aspects of the dining experience, from the formulation of proprietary recipes, to the procurement and presentation of high quality menu items and the delivery of a positive customer experience. We strive to provide quality through a carefully controlled and established supply chain and proven preparation techniques.

 

Depending on the volume of each restaurant, our typical restaurant-level management team consists of one general manager, two to four assistant managers, one executive chef and two sous chefs. We also have an experienced team of regional managers to oversee operations at multiple restaurants. Each of our regional and general managers is broadly trained across Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s and the Grille allowing us the flexibility to move appropriate managers into various positions within the organization. To ensure that each restaurant and its employees meet our demanding performance requirements, we have developed a set of strict operational standards that are followed in all facets of our operations. For example, these standards are used to develop corporate recipes, many of which are proprietary, that are adhered to across all of our restaurants. These standards also mandate a quality control process for the menu items in each of our restaurants our chefs and managers oversee before each shift. This quality control process includes the full preparation of each item on our menu, other than our steaks, and the testing of each of these items for presentation, taste, portion size and temperature before they are prepared for our customers. Items that do not meet our rigorous standards are re-made until they do. We believe this process of full preparation for testing differentiates us from our competition.

 

The consistent execution at our restaurants is a result of the extensive training and supervision of our employees. Our general managers are required to undergo eight to 10 weeks of initial training in food quality, customer service, alcohol beverage service, liquor liability avoidance and employee retention programs. Each of our new hourly employees also typically participates in a training program during which the employee works under the close supervision of his or her general manager. Our chefs and their assistants receive extensive training in food quality, food supply management and kitchen maintenance. All of our employees are trained to uphold each concept’s distinct characteristics and our overall values and operating philosophy.

 

5

 


 

Our training programs are administered by the general manager at each restaurant and supervised by our vice president of people and education, director of new restaurant openings and a dedicated training director for each concept. This training team ensures that all new general managers have developed a comprehensive set of tools that they can use to manage their restaurant, including employee selection, performance management and wage and hourly compliance. We also require each general manager to obtain a mandatory internal certification in areas of the kitchen, dining room and bar area. Our training team also supports new restaurant openings. Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s and the Grille have developed a streamlined training program that ensures employees opening a new restaurant function as a cohesive team and maintain our high operational and food preparation standards. As a result our corporate and concept-level infrastructure supports our growth strategy, allowing us to successfully replicate our standards in new restaurants.

 

Sourcing and Supply Chain

Our ability to maintain the consistent quality of our restaurants depends in part on our ability to procure food and other supplies from reliable sources in accordance with the specifications for all food products established by our corporate executive chef. We continually research and evaluate products and supplies to ensure high quality meat, seafood and other menu ingredients. Our executive corporate chef and director of purchasing work with Stock Yards, a division of U.S. Foods, Inc., our primary beef supplier, for all beef purchases on a national level. Our director of purchasing negotiates directly with suppliers of meat, seafood and certain other food and beverage products to ensure consistent quality and freshness and to obtain competitive prices for items purchased nationally for each concept. Our strong relationships with national and regional foodservice distributors ensure that our restaurants receive a constant supply of products. Products are shipped directly to the restaurants, and we do not maintain a central product warehouse or commissary.

 

Our corporate chef and our director of purchasing also establish strict product specifications for those items purchased at the local level. We ensure competitive pricing for such supplies by requiring each restaurant’s chef to obtain at least three prices for each locally sourced product from suppliers approved by the director of purchasing and submit these bids to their regional chef on a weekly basis. Pricing is then compared weekly on a national basis to ensure management for each restaurant has the most up-to-date information to help with procurement. Purchasing at each restaurant is directed primarily by each restaurant’s chef, who is trained in our purchasing philosophy and specifications, and who works with regional and corporate managers to ensure consistent products. Each of our restaurants also has an in-house sommelier responsible for purchasing wines based on customer preferences, market availability and menu content.

 

We have not experienced any significant delays in receiving restaurant supplies and equipment. Although we currently do not engage in futures contracts or other financial risk management strategies with respect to potential price fluctuations, from time to time, we may opportunistically enter into fixed price beef supply contracts or contracts for other food products or consider other risk management strategies with regard to our meat and other food costs to minimize the impact of potential price fluctuations. This practice could help stabilize our food costs during times of fluctuating prices, although there can be no assurances that this will occur.

 

Marketing and Advertising

We believe that our commitment to providing quality food, hospitality, service and a high level of value for each price point is an effective approach to attracting customers and maintaining their loyalty. We use a variety of national, regional and local marketing and public relations techniques intended to maintain and build our customer traffic, maintain and enhance our concepts’ images and continually improve and refine our upscale experience. For example, in 2010, we initiated a loyalty program that provides credit and other rewards to our customers based on dollars spent at our restaurants. In addition, local restaurant marketing is important to the success of our concepts. For example, each restaurant’s general manager cultivates relationships with local businesses and luxury hotels that drive the restaurant’s business, in particular its private dining business. We also work with a national public relations firm that coordinates local firms in connection with new restaurant openings. Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s and the Grille each use specific marketing and advertising initiatives to position the concepts in the applicable segment of our industry, including ad placement in magazines, digital advertising and social media targeting the affluent segment of the population.

 

Competition

The full-service steak industry and general upscale restaurant businesses are highly competitive and fragmented, and the number, size and strength of competitors vary widely by region, especially within the general upscale restaurant segment. We believe restaurant competition is based on quality of food products, customer service, reputation, restaurant décor, location, name recognition and price. Depending on the specific concept, our restaurants compete with a number of restaurants within their markets, both locally-owned restaurants and restaurants that are part of regional or national chains. The principal competitors for our Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s concepts are other upscale steakhouse chains such as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, The Capital Grille, Smith & Wollensky, The Palm, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Morton’s The Steakhouse. The principal competitors for our Grille concept also include other upscale chains such as Hillstone, Paul Martin’s American Grill and Earl’s Kitchen + Bar. Our concepts also compete with additional restaurants in the broader upscale dining segment.

 

Seasonality

Our business is subject to seasonal fluctuations comparable to most restaurants. Historically, like other restaurants in our segment, the percentage of our annual revenues earned during the first and fourth fiscal quarters has been typically higher due to holiday traffic,

6

 


 

increased gift card purchases and redemptions and increased private dining during the year-end holiday season. In addition, we operate on a 52 or 53 week fiscal year ending the last Tuesday of each December, and our first, second and third quarters each contain 12 operating weeks with the fourth quarter containing 16 or 17 operating weeks. The fiscal year ended December 30, 2014 and December 29, 2015 had 52 weeks, while the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 had 53 weeks.

 

Intellectual Property

We have registered the names Del Frisco’s, Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan’s, and Del Frisco’s Grille and have applications pending to register certain other names and logos as trade names, trademarks or service marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in certain foreign countries. We have the exclusive right for use of these trademarks throughout the United States, other than with respect to the following. An unrelated third party that operates a restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky has an indefinite right to use a specific registration of the Del Frisco’s name in Jefferson and Fayette Counties in Kentucky, Marion County in Indiana and Hamilton County in Ohio pursuant to a concurrent use agreement. We also agreed not to use the specific registration of the Del Frisco’s name or grant others the right to use it within 50 miles of any restaurant operated by the third party in the territory. The third party has paid us aggregate fees of $52,500. We do not have any right to any future or recurring payments from or have any affirmative payment obligations to the third party and they are responsible for all costs associated with running their respective location, including all commodity and labor costs and any risks related thereto. We are also aware of names similar to those of our restaurants used by various third parties in certain limited geographical areas. We believe that our trade names, trademarks and service marks are valuable to the operation of our restaurants and are important to our marketing strategy.

 

Government Regulation

Our restaurants are subject to licensing and regulation by state and local health, safety, fire and other authorities, including licensing and regulation requirements for the sale of alcoholic beverages and food. We maintain the necessary restaurant, alcoholic beverage and retail licenses, permits and approvals. The development and construction of additional restaurants will also be subject to compliance with applicable zoning, land use and environmental regulations. Federal and state labor laws govern our relationship with our employees and affect operating costs. These laws regulate, among other things, minimum wage, overtime, tips, tip credits, unemployment tax rates, workers’ compensation rates, health insurance, citizenship requirements and other working conditions. Our restaurants are subject in each state in which we operate to “dram shop” laws, which allow, in general, a person to sue us if that person was injured by an intoxicated person who was wrongfully served alcoholic beverages at one of our restaurants. A judgment against us under a dram shop law could exceed our liability insurance coverage policy limits and could result in substantial liability for us and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. Our inability to continue to obtain such insurance coverage at reasonable costs also could have a material adverse effect on us. We are also subject to the Federal Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public accommodations and employment.

 

Employees

As of December 29, 2015, we had 4,921 employees. Many of our hourly employees are employed on a part-time basis to provide services necessary during peak periods of restaurant operations. None of our employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. We believe that we have good relations with our employees.

 

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Executive Officers and Key Employees

The following table sets forth certain information regarding our executive officers and certain of our key employees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name

  

Age

  

Position

Mark S. Mednansky

  

58

  

Chief Executive Officer; Director

Thomas J. Pennison, Jr.

  

48

  

Chief Financial Officer

Lane A. DeYoung

 

43

 

General Counsel

Thomas G. Dritsas

  

44

  

Vice President of Culinary & Corporate Executive Chef

James W. Kirkpatrick

  

62

  

Vice President of Real Estate

Lisa H. Kislak

  

56

  

Vice President of Brand Marketing

William S. Martens

  

43

  

Vice President of Development & Construction

Ray D. Risley

  

50

  

Senior Vice President of Operations, Grille

April L. Scopa

  

48

  

Vice President of People and Education

 

Mark S. Mednansky has served as Chief Executive Officer since March 2007, as a member of our board of directors since July 2012 and as Acting Chairman of the Board from January 2014 to April 2015. Prior to becoming our Chief Executive Officer in connection with the Acquisition, Mr. Mednansky served in senior management roles with Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. From 2005 until March 2007, Mr. Mednansky was the Chief Operating Officer of several Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon restaurant concepts, including Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s. Mr. Mednansky also served as Vice President of Operations of the Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s concepts from 2000 to 2005 and President of the Texas Land & Cattle concept from 2003 to 2006. Mr. Mednansky has over 40 years of restaurant industry experience and 30 years of experience as a senior operations manager. Prior to joining Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc., he was Director of Operations for Big Four Restaurants from 1997 to 1998, Director of Culinary Services for Dial Corp. from 1990 to 1997 and Area Manager for Big Four Restaurants from 1985 to 1990.

 

Thomas J. Pennison, Jr. has served as Chief Financial Officer since November 2011. Prior to joining our company Mr. Pennison served as Chief Financial Officer for iSeatz Inc., a customized software technology company primarily serving the travel and leisure industry, from 2009 to 2011. Mr. Pennison also operated his own financial consulting firm in Louisiana from 2008 to 2009 where he provided financial and business consulting services to clients in the hospitality and other consumer and retail related industries. Prior to that, Mr. Pennison spent 12 years at Ruth’s Hospitality Group, Inc., a restaurant company focused exclusively on the upscale dining segment, formerly known as Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Inc., from 1996 to 2008 serving in various capacities, including Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, from 1994 to 1996, Mr. Pennison served as Assistant Corporate Controller of Casino Magic Corp., with primary responsibilities for corporate finance and SEC reporting, and from 1991 to 1994, Mr. Pennison was at the public accounting firm KPMG LLP.

 

Lane A. DeYoung has served as General Counsel since June 2015. Prior to joining our company Mr. DeYoung held the position of Associate General Counsel at Dave & Busters, Inc.  from 2007 to 2015 where he handled legal matters including real estate leases, contracts, litigation, licensing and regulatory issues. Previously, Mr. DeYoung served as Real Estate Counsel for FedEx Office and Print Services, Inc., Associate Regional Counsel for the Western Region at Trizec Properties, Inc., Associate Counsel at Stage Stores, Inc. and Associate Attorney at The Law Offices of John E. Rapier, P.C.

 

Thomas G. Dritsas has served as Vice President of Culinary & Corporate Executive Chef since December 2006 and oversees the day to day culinary operations of Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s and the Grille. From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Dritsas served as Corporate Executive Chef for Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc., during which time he oversaw the daily culinary operations for each of its concepts. Mr. Dritsas joined Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Inc. in 1999 and served in various culinary capacities, including as part of new opening teams. Prior to joining Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon, Mr. Dritsas assisted in the opening of numerous independent restaurants and operated his own restaurant.

 

James W. Kirkpatrick has served as Vice President of Real Estate since February 2012 and oversees real estate matters for our three concepts, including strategic development and lease administration. Prior to joining our company, Mr. Kirkpatrick served as the Senior Vice President of Development for Morton’s Restaurant Group, Inc., an operator of company-owned upscale steakhouses, from 2006 to 2012, where he managed all aspects of development including real-estate strategic development to lease administration. Prior to Morton’s, Mr. Kirkpatrick worked in several leadership roles with Applebee’s International, Inc. from 1999 to 2006, including Senior Director of Real Estate and Vice President of Real Estate & Construction. Mr. Kirkpatrick has also held a variety of other positions focused on real estate development with a number of other companies in the restaurant industry including Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc., TGI Friday’s and Pizza Hut, Inc.

 

Lisa H. Kislak has served as Vice President of Brand Marketing since February 2012 and is responsible for all aspects of marketing for Del Frisco’s, Sullivan’s and the Grille. Prior to joining our company, Ms. Kislak was the Vice President of Marketing for The Picture People, a privately held company with more than 170 company-owned portrait studios in 34 states, where she managed the company’s marketing activities. Before that, Ms. Kislak served as a Principal for Premium Knowledge Group, a firm specializing in luxury lifestyle marketing, from 2007 to 2010. Ms. Kislak started her career with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts where she held

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various marketing roles over a 13-year period, including Vice President of Brand and Relationship Marketing with Wyndham Hotels, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts and Senior Vice President of Marketing for ClubCorp.

 

William S. Martens has served as Vice President of Development & Construction since 2011 and is responsible for market planning, site selection, site acquisition and construction for our three concepts. Mr. Martens also oversees concept design, portfolio management and facilities operations. Mr. Martens has been with us since 2008, previously serving as our Director of Development where he managed all facets of new unit development and established the infrastructure to support our growth in new and existing markets. Before joining our company, Mr. Martens served as Vice President of Portfolio Management with Hudson Americas, LLC, an affiliate of Lone Star Fund, from 2007 to 2008. Prior to Hudson Americas, Mr. Martens spent nine years with Yum! Brands, where he held multiple leadership roles in Finance and Development, including the position of Senior Manager of Development. In this role, he worked with senior brand leadership teams to develop market plans, define asset strategies and make capital appropriations decisions for approximately 350 new restaurants annually.

 

Ray D. Risley has served Senior Vice President of Operations for the Grille since December 2015.  From October 2013 to December 2015, Mr. Risley was Vice President of Operations for Sullivan’s Steakhouse.  Prior to becoming Vice President of Operations for Sullivan’s, Mr. Risley served as a Regional Manager for restaurants under all three of the Company’s brands, as well as overseeing the openings of a number of new restaurants.  Prior to becoming a Regional Manager, Mr. Risley served as a Regional General Manager of Del Frisco's and Sullivan's from 2005 to the end of 2007, during which time he also assumed the role of General Manager of the Del Frisco's restaurant in New York. From 2003 to 2005, Mr. Risley served as Regional Manager for all 15 Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurants. From 2000 to 2003, Mr. Risley was District General Manager for four Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurants. Mr. Risley joined Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group in 1998 as the General Manager of the Sullivan's Steakhouse restaurant in Dallas. Previously, Mr. Risley held various management positions with the Morton's chain of steakhouse restaurants, including General Manager of the Beverly Hills location and with the original Spago restaurant as the General Manager.    

 

April L. Scopa has served as Vice President of People and Education since June 2011 and is responsible for recruiting, human resources, talent development and training strategy. Prior to joining our company, Ms. Scopa worked with Landmark Leisure Group, a national leader in entertainment development since June 2010 and served as VP of People & Development, beginning in January 2011, where she led the HR, recruiting, new store opening development, employee relations, talent management and personnel development strategy. Prior to Landmark, Ms. Scopa spent eight years with The Capital Grille, an upscale steakhouse division of Darden Restaurants, as Director of Operations and Senior Director of Training, where her responsibilities most recently included quality of operations, people and P&L results for six locations. Prior to The Capital Grille, Ms. Scopa also worked for C.A. Muer Corporation and LongHorn Steakhouse, both in a training and operations capacity.

 

Financial Information

The financial information that is required to be included in this Item 1, Business is set forth in Item 6, Selected Financial Data and in note 13 in the notes to the consolidated financial statements.

 

Available Information

Our website address is www.dfrg.com, and we also host www.delfriscos.com, www.sullivanssteakhouse.com and www.delfriscosgrille.com. Information contained on our websites or connected thereto does not constitute a part of this Annual Report on Form 10-K or any other filing we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or the SEC. We make available free of charge on our website our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, as soon as reasonably practical after we file such material with, or furnish it to, the SEC. Certain of these documents may also be obtained by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. The SEC also maintains an Internet website that contains reports, and other information regarding issuers that file electronically with the SEC at www.sec.gov. We also make available free of charge on our website our Corporate Governance Guidelines, our Code of Business Conduct and Ethics, and the Charters of our Audit Committee, Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee, and Compensation Committee of our Board of Directors.

 

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Item 1A.

Risk Factors

Changes in general economic conditions, including economic uncertainty, have adversely impacted our business and results of operations, may continue to do so and may do so in the future.

Purchases at our restaurants are discretionary for consumers and we are therefore susceptible to economic slowdowns. We believe that consumers generally are more willing to make discretionary purchases, including high-end restaurant meals, during favorable economic conditions. The recent economic uncertainty, continuing disruptions in the overall economy, including high unemployment and financial market volatility and unpredictability, and the related reduction in consumer confidence negatively affected customer traffic and sales throughout our industry, including our segment. If the economy experiences a new downturn or there are continued uncertainties regarding U.S. budgetary and fiscal policies, our customers, including our business clientele, may further reduce their level of discretionary spending, impacting the frequency with which they choose to dine out or the amount they spend on meals while dining out. We believe the majority of our weekday revenues in our Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s concepts are derived from business customers using expense accounts and our business therefore may be affected by reduced expense account or other business-related dining by our business clientele. If business clientele were to dine less frequently at our restaurants, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected as a result of a reduction in customer traffic or average revenues per customer.

 

There is also a risk that if uncertain economic conditions persist for an extended period of time or worsen, consumers might make long-lasting changes to their discretionary spending behavior, including dining out less frequently. The ability of the U.S. economy to handle this uncertainty is likely to be affected by many national and international factors that are beyond our control. These factors, including national, regional and local politics and economic conditions, disposable consumer income and consumer confidence, also affect discretionary consumer spending. Continued uncertainty in or a worsening of the economy, generally or in a number of our markets, and our customers’ reactions to these trends could adversely affect our business and cause us to, among other things, reduce the number and frequency of new restaurant openings, close restaurants and delay our re-modeling of existing locations.

 

If our restaurants are not able to compete successfully with other restaurants, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

Our industry is intensely competitive with respect to price, quality of service, restaurant location, ambiance of facilities and type and quality of food. A substantial number of national and regional restaurant chains and independently owned restaurants compete with us for customers, restaurant locations and qualified management and other restaurant staff. The principal competitors for our Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s concepts are other upscale steakhouse chains such as Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, The Capital Grille, Smith & Wollensky, The Palm, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Morton’s The Steakhouse. The principal competitors for our Grille concept also include other upscale chains such as Hillstone, Paul Martin’s American Grill and Earl’s Kitchen + Bar. Our concepts also compete with additional restaurants in the broader upscale dining segment. Some of our competitors have greater financial and other resources, have been in business longer, have greater name recognition and are better established in the markets where our restaurants are located or where we may expand. Our inability to compete successfully with other restaurants may harm our ability to maintain acceptable levels of revenue growth, limit or otherwise inhibit our ability to grow one or more of our concepts, or force us to close one or more of our restaurants. We may also need to evolve our concepts in order to compete with popular new restaurant formats or concepts that emerge from time to time, and we cannot provide any assurance that we will be successful in doing so or that any changes we make to any of our concepts in response will be successful or not adversely affect our profitability. In addition, with improving product offerings at fast casual restaurants and quick-service restaurants combined with the effects of uncertain economic conditions and other factors, consumers may choose less expensive alternatives, which could also negatively affect customer traffic at our restaurants. Any unanticipated slowdown in demand at any of our restaurants due to industry competition may adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Our future growth depends in part on our ability to open new restaurants and operate them profitably, and if we are unable to successfully execute this strategy, our results of operations could be adversely affected.

Our financial success depends in part on management’s ability to execute our growth strategy. One key element of our growth strategy is opening new restaurants. We believe there are opportunities to open six to eight new restaurants annually, generally composed of one Del Frisco’s and five to seven Sullivan’s and/or Grilles, with new openings of our Grille concept likely serving as the primary driver of new unit growth in the near term. In 2015, we opened a Del Frisco’s in Orlando, Florida as well as Grilles in The Woodlands, Texas,  Plano, Texas,  Stamford, Connecticut,  Little Rock, Arkansas,  Hoboken, New Jersey and Cherry Creek,  ColoradoIn 2016 we expect to open two to three Grilles and relocate one Del Frisco’s. For the opening of a new restaurant, we measure our cash investment costs net of landlord contributions and equipment financing, but including pre-opening costs. We target average cash investment costs of $7.0 million to $9.0 million for a new Del Frisco’s and $3.0 million to $4.5 million for a new Sullivan’s or Grille.

 

Our ability to open new restaurants and operate them profitably is dependent upon a number of factors, many of which are beyond our control, including:

finding quality site locations, competing effectively to obtain quality site locations and reaching acceptable agreements to lease or purchase sites;

complying with applicable zoning, land use and environmental regulations and obtaining, for an acceptable cost, required permits and approvals;

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having adequate capital for construction and opening costs and efficiently managing the time and resources committed to building and opening each new restaurant;

timely hiring and training and retaining the skilled management and other employees necessary to meet staffing needs;

successfully promoting our new locations and competing in their markets;

acquiring food and other supplies for new restaurants from local suppliers; and

addressing unanticipated problems or risks that may arise during the development or opening of a new restaurant or entering a new market.

 

A new restaurant typically experiences a “ramp-up” period of approximately 18 months before it achieves our targeted level of performance. This is due to the costs associated with opening a new restaurant, as well as higher operating costs caused by start-up and other temporary inefficiencies associated with opening new restaurants. For example, there are a number of factors which may impact the amount of time and money we commit to the construction and development of new restaurants, including landlord delays, shortages of skilled labor, labor disputes, shortages of materials, delays in obtaining necessary permits, local government regulations and weather interference. Once the restaurant is open, how quickly it achieves a desired level of profitability is impacted by many factors, including the level of market familiarity and acceptance when we enter new markets, as well as the availability of experienced staff and the time required to negotiate reasonable prices for services and other supplies from local suppliers. Our business and profitability may be adversely affected if the “ramp-up” period for a new restaurant lasts longer than we expect.

 

If we are unable to increase our sales or maintain our margins at existing restaurants, our profitability and overall results of operations may be adversely affected.

Another key aspect of our growth strategy is increasing comparable restaurant sales and maintaining restaurant-level margins. Improving comparable restaurant sales and maintaining restaurant-level margins depends in part on whether we achieve revenue growth through increases in the average check and further expand our private dining business at each restaurant. We believe there are opportunities to increase the average check at our restaurants through, for example, selective introduction of higher priced items and increases in menu pricing. We also believe that expanding and enhancing our private dining capacity will also increase our restaurant sales, as our private dining business typically has a higher average check and higher overall margins than regular dining room business. However, these strategies may prove unsuccessful, especially in times of economic hardship, as customers may not order or enjoy higher priced items and discretionary spending on private dining events may decrease. Select price increases have not historically adversely impacted customer traffic; however, we expect that there is a price level at which point customer traffic would be adversely affected. It is also possible that these changes could cause our sales volume to decrease. If we are not able to increase our sales at existing restaurants for any reason, our profitability and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

The failure to continue to successfully develop our Grille concept could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We launched our new concept, the Grille, in the third quarter of 2011 with the opening of our New York City location. We opened a second location in Dallas, Texas in the fourth quarter of 2011.  We opened three additional locations in 2012, six locations in 2013, five locations in 2014 and locations in The Woodlands, Texas,  Plano, Texas,  Stamford, Connecticut,  Little Rock, Arkansas,  Hoboken, New Jersey and Cherry Creek,  Colorado in 2015.  We also closed two locations in Phoenix, Arizona and Palm Beach, Florida in 2015. We believe that new openings of the Grille are likely to serve as the primary driver of new unit growth in the near term. Our ability to continue to succeed with this new concept will require significant capital expenditures and management attention and is subject to certain risks in addition to those of opening a new restaurant under one of our existing concepts, including customer acceptance of and competition to that concept. If the “ramp-up” period for our Grille restaurants and for our development of concepts in general does not meet our expectations, our operating results may be adversely affected. In addition, we are targeting restaurant-level EBITDA margins of between 20% and 25% for the Grille. However, because we face new challenges at the Grille as we enter new markets, we cannot provide any assurance that our operating margins will achieve these levels. As a result, we may need to adjust our pricing and menu offering strategies. We may not be successful enough to recoup our investments in the concept. There can be no assurance that we will be successful in further developing and growing the Grille or in developing and growing any other new concept to a point where it will become profitable or generate positive cash flow or that it will prove to be a platform for future expansion. We may not be able to attract enough customers to meet targeted levels of performance at new restaurants because potential customers may be unfamiliar with our concepts or the atmosphere or menu might not appeal to them. Some Grille locations may even operate at a loss, which could have a material adverse effect on our overall operating results. In addition, while we have not experienced this thus far, opening a new restaurant concept such as a Grille in an existing market could reduce the revenue of our existing restaurants in that market. If we cannot successfully execute our growth strategies for the Grille, or if customer traffic generated by the Grille results in a decline in customer traffic at one of our other restaurants in the same market, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

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Our growth, including the continued development of the Grille, may strain our infrastructure and resources, which could delay the opening of new restaurants and adversely affect our ability to manage our existing restaurants.

We plan to continue new restaurant growth, including the continued development and promotion of the Grille. We believe there are opportunities to open six to eight restaurants annually, generally composed of one Del Frisco’s and five to seven Sullivan’s and/or Grilles, with new openings of our Grille concept likely serving as the primary driver of new unit growth in the near term. During 2016 we expect to open two to three Grilles and relocate one Del Frisco’s.  We typically target an average cash investment of approximately $7.0 million to $9.0 million per restaurant for a Del Frisco’s restaurant and $3.0 million to $4.5 million for a Sullivan’s or a Grille, in each case net of landlord contributions and equipment financing and including pre-opening costs. In addition to new openings, we also may “refresh” a number of our Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s locations to, among other things, add additional seating, further grow our private dining business and add patio seating. During 2015, we completed the refresh of one Sullivan’s. Looking forward, we expect to complete two to four refreshes each year at an approximate cost of $0.5 million per location. This growth and these investments will increase our operating complexity and place increased demands on our management as well as our human resources, purchasing and site management teams. While we have committed significant resources to expanding our current restaurant management systems, financial and management controls and information systems in connection with our recent growth, if this infrastructure is insufficient to support this expansion, our ability to open new restaurants, including the continued development and promotion of the Grille, and to manage our existing restaurants, including the expansion of our private dining business, would be adversely affected. If we fail to continue to improve our infrastructure or if our improved infrastructure fails, we may be unable to implement our growth strategy or maintain current levels of operating performance in our existing restaurants.

 

Our New York Del Frisco’s location represents a significant portion of our revenues, and any significant downturn in its business or disruption in the operation of this location could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Our New York Del Frisco’s location represented approximately 14%, 13% and 12% of our revenues in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Accordingly, we are susceptible to any fluctuations in the business at our New York Del Frisco’s location, whether as a result of adverse economic conditions, negative publicity, changes in customer preferences or for other reasons. In addition, any natural disaster, prolonged inclement weather, act of terrorism or national emergency, accident, system failure or other unforeseen event in or around New York City could result in a temporary or permanent closing of this location, could influence potential customers to avoid this geographic region or this location in particular or otherwise lead to a decrease in revenues. Any significant interruption in the operation of this location or other reduction in sales could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Negative customer experiences or negative publicity surrounding our restaurants or other restaurants could adversely affect sales in one or more of our restaurants and make our brands less valuable.

The quality of our food and our restaurant facilities are two of our competitive strengths. Therefore, adverse publicity, whether or not accurate, relating to food quality, public health concerns, illness, safety, injury or government or industry findings concerning our restaurants, restaurants operated by other foodservice providers or others across the food industry supply chain could affect us more than it would other restaurants that compete primarily on price or other factors. A restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky has the right to use, and uses, a specific registration of the Del Frisco’s name pursuant to a concurrent use agreement, as described in greater detail in “Business—Intellectual Property.” We do not own or control the Louisville restaurant, but any adverse publicity relating to those operations could negatively affect us. In addition, although we would not be legally liable for any such failure, because the Louisville restaurant operates under one of our brand names, we may be subject to litigation as a result of the restaurant’s failure to comply with food quality, preparation or other applicable rules and regulations. If customers perceive or experience a reduction in our food quality, service or ambiance or in any way believe we have failed to deliver a consistently positive experience, the value and popularity of one or more of our concepts could suffer. Any shifts in consumer preferences away from the kinds of food we offer, particularly beef, whether because of dietary or other health concerns or otherwise, would make our restaurants less appealing and could reduce customer traffic and/or impose practical limits on pricing.

 

Negative publicity relating to the consumption of beef, including in connection with food-borne illness, could result in reduced consumer demand for our menu offerings, which could reduce sales.

Instances of food-borne illness, including Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, which is also known as BSE or mad cow disease, aphthous fever, which is also known as hoof and mouth disease, as well as hepatitis A, lysteria, salmonella and e-coli, whether or not found in the United States or traced directly to one of our suppliers or our restaurants, could reduce demand for our menu offerings. Any negative publicity relating to these and other health-related matters, such as the confirmation of a case of mad cow disease in a dairy cow in California in April 2012, may affect consumers’ perceptions of our restaurants and the food that we offer, reduce customer visits to our restaurants and negatively impact demand for our menu offerings. Adverse publicity relating to any of these matters, beef in general or other similar concerns could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

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Increases in the prices of, and/or reductions in the availability of commodities, primarily beef, could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Our profitability depends in part on our ability to anticipate and react to changes in commodity costs, which have a substantial effect on our total costs. For example, we purchase large quantities of beef, particularly USDA prime beef and premium choice beef. Our beef costs represented approximately 33%, 34% and 34% of our food and beverage costs during 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively, and we currently do not purchase beef pursuant to any long-term contractual arrangements with fixed pricing or use futures contracts or other financial risk management strategies to reduce our exposure to potential price fluctuations. The market for USDA prime beef and premium choice beef is particularly volatile and is subject to extreme price fluctuations due to seasonal shifts, climate conditions,

the price of feed, industry demand, energy demand and other factors. For example, during 2011 and 2012, beef costs were impacted by (i) the summer drought in Texas and Oklahoma, (ii) the price of corn, (iii) the entrance of major supermarkets into the USDA choice beef market and (iv) new free trade agreements increasing exports. Although we currently do not engage in futures contracts or other financial risk management strategies with respect to potential price fluctuations, from time to time, we may opportunistically enter into fixed price beef supply contracts or contracts for other food products or consider other risk management strategies with regard to our meat and other food costs to minimize the impact of potential price fluctuations. This practice could help stabilize our food costs during times of fluctuating prices, although there can be no assurances that this will occur. However, because our restaurants feature USDA prime beef and premium choice beef, we generally expect to purchase these types of beef even if we have not entered into any such arrangements and the price increased significantly. The prices of other commodities can affect our costs as well, including corn and other grains, which are ingredients we use regularly and are also used as cattle feed and therefore affect the price of beef. Energy prices can also affect our bottom line, as increased energy prices may cause increased transportation costs for beef and other supplies, as well as increased costs for the utilities required to run each restaurant. Historically we have passed increased commodity and other costs on to our customers by increasing the prices of our menu items. While we believe these price increases did not historically affect our customer traffic, there can be no assurance additional price increases would not affect future customer traffic. If prices increase in the future and we are unable to anticipate or mitigate these increases, or if there are shortages for USDA Prime beef and premium choice beef, our business and results of operations would be adversely affected.

 

We depend upon frequent deliveries of food and other supplies, in most cases from a limited number of suppliers, which subjects us to the possible risks of shortages, interruptions and price fluctuations.

Our ability to maintain consistent quality throughout our restaurants depends in part upon our ability to acquire fresh products, including USDA prime beef and premium choice beef, fresh seafood, quality produce and related items from reliable sources in accordance with our specifications. In addition, we rely on one or a limited number of suppliers for certain ingredients. For example, Stock Yards, a division of U.S. Foods, Inc.,  is the primary supplier of the beef for all of our restaurants and has been so since June 2009. This dependence on one or a limited number of suppliers, as well as the limited number of alternative suppliers of USDA prime beef and premium choice beef and quality seafood, subjects us to the possible risks of shortages, interruptions and price fluctuations in beef and seafood. If any of our suppliers is unable to obtain financing necessary to operate its business or its business is otherwise adversely affected, does not perform adequately or otherwise fails to distribute products or supplies to our restaurants, or terminates or refuses to renew any contract with us, particularly with respect to one of the suppliers on which we rely heavily for specific ingredients, we may be unable to find an alternative supplier in a short period of time or if we can, it may not be on acceptable terms. Our inability to replace our suppliers in a short period of time on acceptable terms could increase our costs or cause shortages at our restaurants that may cause us to remove certain items from a menu, increase the price of certain offerings or temporarily close a restaurant, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

We depend on the services of key executives, and our business and growth strategy could be materially harmed if we were to lose these executives and were unable to replace them with executives of equal experience and capabilities.

Some of our senior executives, such as Mark S. Mednansky, our Chief Executive Officer, are particularly important to our success because they have been instrumental in setting our strategic direction, operating our business, identifying, recruiting and training key personnel, identifying expansion opportunities and arranging necessary financing. We have employment agreements with all members of senior management; however, we cannot prevent our executives from terminating their employment with us. Losing the services of any of these individuals could adversely affect our business until a suitable replacement could be found. We also believe that they could not quickly be replaced with executives of equal experience and capabilities and their successors may not be as effective. We do not maintain key person life insurance policies on any of our executives.

 

Changes in consumer preferences and discretionary spending patterns could adversely impact our business and results of operations.

The restaurant industry is characterized by the continual introduction of new concepts and is subject to rapidly changing consumer preferences, tastes and eating and purchasing habits. Our success depends in part on our ability to anticipate and respond quickly to changing consumer preferences, as well as other factors affecting the restaurant industry, including new market entrants and demographic changes. Shifts in consumer preferences away from upscale steakhouses or beef, which is a significant component of our Del Frisco’s and Sullivan’s concepts’ menus and appeal, whether as a result of economic, competitive or other factors, could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

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Restaurant companies, including ours, have been the target of class action lawsuits and other proceedings alleging, among other things, violations of federal and state workplace and employment laws. Proceedings of this nature, if successful, could result in our payment of substantial damages.

In recent years, we and other restaurant companies have been subject to lawsuits, including class action lawsuits, alleging violations of federal and state laws regarding workplace and employment matters, discrimination and similar matters. A number of these lawsuits have resulted in the payment of substantial damages by the defendants. Similar lawsuits have been instituted from time to time alleging violations of various federal and state wage and hour laws regarding, among other things, employee meal deductions, the sharing of tips amongst certain employees, overtime eligibility of assistant managers and failure to pay for all hours worked. Although we maintain what we believe to be adequate levels of insurance, insurance may not be available at all or in sufficient amounts to cover any liabilities with respect to these matters. Accordingly, if we are required to pay substantial damages and expenses as a result of these types or other lawsuits our business and results of operations would be adversely affected.

 

Occasionally, our customers file complaints or lawsuits against us alleging that we are responsible for some illness or injury they suffered at or after a visit to one of our restaurants, including actions seeking damages resulting from food-borne illness and relating to notices with respect to chemicals contained in food products required under state law. We are also subject to a variety of other claims from third parties arising in the ordinary course of our business, including personal injury claims, contract claims and claims alleging violations of federal and state laws. In addition, our restaurants are subject to state “dram shop” or similar laws which generally allow a person to sue us if that person was injured by a legally intoxicated person who was wrongfully served alcoholic beverages at one of our restaurants. The restaurant industry has also been subject to a growing number of claims that the menus and actions of restaurant chains have led to the obesity of certain of their customers. In addition, we may also be subject to lawsuits from our employees or others alleging violations of federal and state laws regarding workplace and employment matters, discrimination and similar matters. A number of these lawsuits have resulted in the payment of substantial damages by the defendants.

 

Regardless of whether any claims against us are valid or whether we are liable, claims may be expensive to defend and may divert time and money away from our operations. In addition, they may generate negative publicity, which could reduce customer traffic and sales. Although we maintain what we believe to be adequate levels of insurance, insurance may not be available at all or in sufficient amounts to cover any liabilities with respect to these or other matters. A judgment or other liability in excess of our insurance coverage for any claims or any adverse publicity resulting from claims could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Our business is subject to substantial government regulation.

Our business is subject to extensive federal, state and local government regulation, including regulations related to the preparation and sale of food, the sale of alcoholic beverages, the sale and use of tobacco, zoning and building codes, land use and employee, health, sanitation and safety matters. For example, the preparation, storing and serving of food and the use of certain ingredients is subject to heavy regulation. Alcoholic beverage control regulations govern various aspects of our restaurants’ daily operations, including the minimum age of patrons and employees, hours of operation, advertising, wholesale purchasing and inventory control, handling and storage. Typically our restaurants’ licenses to sell alcoholic beverages must be renewed annually and may be suspended or revoked at any time for cause. In addition, because we operate in a number of different states, we are also required to comply with a number of different laws covering the same topics. The failure of any of our restaurants to timely obtain and maintain necessary governmental approvals, including liquor or other licenses, permits or approvals required to serve alcoholic beverages or food could delay or prevent the opening of a new restaurant or prevent regular day-to-day operations, including the sale of alcoholic beverages, at a restaurant that is already operating, any of which would adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

In addition, the costs of operating our restaurants may increase if there are changes in laws governing minimum hourly wages, working conditions, overtime and tip credits, health care, workers’ compensation insurance rates, unemployment tax rates, sales taxes or other laws and regulations such as those governing access for the disabled, including the Americans with Disabilities Act. For example, the Federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or PPACA, which was enacted on March 23, 2010, among other things, includes guaranteed coverage requirements and imposes new taxes on health insurers and health care benefits that could increase the costs of providing health benefits to employees. In addition, because we have a significant number of restaurants located in certain states, regulatory changes in these states could have a disproportionate impact on our business. If any of the foregoing increased costs and we were unable to offset the change by increasing our menu prices or by other means, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

Government regulation can also affect customer traffic at our restaurants. A number of states, counties and cities have enacted menu labeling laws requiring multi-unit restaurant operators to disclose certain nutritional information. For example, the PPACA establishes a uniform, federal requirement for restaurant chains with 20 or more locations operating under the same trade name and offering substantially the same menus to post nutritional information on their menus, including the total number of calories. The law also requires such restaurants to provide to consumers, upon request, a written summary of detailed nutritional information, including total calories and calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, complex carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber, and total protein in each serving size or other unit of measure, for each standard menu item. The FDA is also permitted to require additional nutrient disclosures, such as trans-fat content. In 2015 our Grille concept became subject to the requirements to post nutritional information on our menus or in our restaurants because we now operate 20 Grille locations. The compliance deadline is December 1, 2016 and we intend to comply with these requirements before the deadline. Our compliance with the PPACA or other

14

 


 

similar laws to which we may become subject could reduce demand for our menu offerings, reduce customer traffic and/or reduce average revenue per customer, which would have an adverse effect on our revenue. Any reduction in customer traffic related to these or other government regulations could affect revenues and adversely affect our business and results of operations. 

 

To the extent that governmental regulations impose new or additional obligations on our suppliers, including, without limitation, regulations relating to the inspection or preparation of meat, food and other products used in our business, product availability could be limited and the prices that our suppliers charge us could increase. We may not be able to offset these costs through increased menu prices, which could have a material adverse effect on our business. If any of our restaurants were unable to serve particular food products, even for a short period of time, or if we are unable to offset increased costs, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

Labor shortages or changes to wage laws could harm our business.

Our success depends in part upon our ability to attract, motivate and retain a sufficient number of qualified employees, including restaurant managers, kitchen staff and servers, necessary to keep pace with our anticipated expansion schedule and meet the needs of our existing restaurants. A sufficient number of qualified individuals of the requisite caliber to fill these positions may be in short supply in some communities. Competition in these communities for qualified staff could require us to pay higher wages and provide greater benefits. Any inability to recruit and retain qualified individuals may also delay the planned openings of new restaurants and could adversely impact our existing restaurants. Any such inability to retain or recruit qualified employees, increased costs of attracting qualified employees or delays in restaurant openings could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

In addition, we have a substantial number of hourly employees who are paid wage rates at or based on the federal or state minimum wage and who rely on tips as a large portion of their income. Any changes in the city, state, or federal laws affecting the wages we pay our employees, including an increase in the minimum wage, such as the 18% increase in the minimum wage on January 1, 2016 in Seattle, Washington to $13.00 per hour or the 11% increase in minimum wage in California to $9.00, could increase our costs and have a material adverse impact on our results of operations. Certain other states in which we operate restaurants have adopted or are considering adopting minimum wage statutes that exceed the federal minimum wage as well. We may be unable or unwilling to increase our prices in order to pass these increased labor costs on to our customers, in which case, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

We occupy most of our restaurants under long-term non-cancelable leases for which we may remain obligated to perform under even after a restaurant closes, and we may be unable to renew leases at the end of their terms. We also guarantee three leases with third parties for former affiliates of Lone Star Fund.

All but two of our restaurants are located in leased premises. Many of our current leases are non-cancelable and typically have terms ranging from five to 15 years with renewal options for terms ranging from five to 10 years. We believe that leases that we enter into in the future will be on substantially similar terms. If we were to close or fail to open a restaurant at a location we lease, we would generally remain committed to perform our obligations under the applicable lease, which could include, among other things, payment of the base rent for the balance of the lease term. For example, in 2015 we paid $3.1 million to exit two Grille leases. Our obligation to continue making rental payments and fulfilling other lease obligations in respect of leases for closed or unopened restaurants could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Alternatively, at the end of the lease term and any renewal period for a restaurant, we may be unable to renew the lease without substantial additional cost, if at all. If we cannot renew such a lease we may be forced to close or relocate a restaurant, which could subject us to construction and other costs and risks. We also guarantee three leases entered into by various operating subsidiaries of Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon that were entered into by certain of the Casual Dining Companies prior to the acquisition of Lone Star Steakhouse and Saloon by Lone Star Fund, which is discussed in greater detail in “Business” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” At December 29, 2015, the maximum potential amount of future lease payments we could be required to make as a result of the guarantees was $0.2 million. The entities that are party to these leases are not controlled or managed by us. See Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. If we are required to make payments under one of our leases after a restaurant closes or one of the leases that we guarantee, or if we are unable to renew our restaurant leases, our business and results of operations could be adversely affected.

 

The impact of negative economic factors, including the availability of credit, on our landlords and other retail center tenants could negatively affect our financial results.

Negative effects on our existing and potential landlords due to any inaccessibility of credit and other unfavorable economic factors may, in turn, adversely affect our business and results of operations. If our landlords are unable to obtain financing or remain in good standing under their existing financing arrangements, they may be unable to provide construction contributions or satisfy other lease covenants to us. If any landlord files for bankruptcy protection, the landlord may be able to reject our lease in the bankruptcy proceedings. While we would have the option to retain our rights under the lease, we could not compel the landlord to perform any of its obligations and would be left with damages as our sole recourse. In addition, if our landlords are unable to obtain sufficient credit to continue to properly manage their retail sites, we may experience a drop in the level of quality of such retail centers. Our development of new restaurants may also be adversely affected by the negative financial situations of developers and potential landlords. In recent years, many landlords have delayed or cancelled development projects (as well as renovations of existing projects)

15

 


 

due to the instability in the credit markets and declines in consumer spending, which has reduced the number of high-quality locations available that we would consider for our new restaurants. In addition, several other tenants at retail centers in which we are located or where we have executed leases have ceased operations or, in some cases, have deferred openings or failed to open after committing to do so. These failures may lead to reduced customer traffic and a general deterioration in the surrounding retail centers in which our restaurants are located and may contribute to lower customer traffic at our restaurants. If any of the foregoing affect any of our landlords or their other retail tenants our business and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Fixed rental payments account for a significant portion of our operating expenses, which increases our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions and could limit our operating and financing flexibility.

Payments under our operating leases account for a significant portion of our operating expenses and we expect the new restaurants we open in the future will similarly be leased by us. Specifically, payments under our operating leases accounted for 12.8%, 13.4% and 13.2% of our restaurant operating expenses in 2013, 2014 and 2015, respectively. Our substantial operating lease obligations could have significant negative consequences, including:

increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;

limiting our ability to obtain additional financing;

requiring a substantial portion of our available cash flow to be applied to our rental obligations, thus reducing cash available for other purposes;

limiting our flexibility in planning for or reacting to changes in our business or the industry in which we compete; and

placing us at a disadvantage with respect to some of our competitors.

 

We depend on cash flow from operations to pay our lease obligations and to fulfill our other cash needs. If our business does not generate sufficient cash flow from operating activities and sufficient funds are not otherwise available to us from borrowings under our credit facility or other sources, we may not be able to meet our operating lease obligations, grow our business, respond to competitive challenges or fund our other liquidity and capital needs, which could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Any future indebtedness we may incur may limit our operational and financing flexibility and negatively impact our business.

We currently have a credit facility that provides for a revolving loan of up to $30.0 million. There were $4.5 million in outstanding borrowings under this facility at December 29, 2015. We may incur substantial additional indebtedness in the future. Our credit facility, and other debt instruments we may enter into in the future, may have important consequences to us, including the following:

our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, acquisitions or general corporate purposes may be impaired;

the requirement that we use a significant portion of our cash flows from operations to pay interest on any outstanding indebtedness, which would reduce the funds available to us for operations and other purposes; and

our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business and the industry in which we operate may be limited.

 

We expect that we will depend primarily on cash generated by our operations for funds to pay our expenses and any amounts due under our credit facility and any other indebtedness we may incur. Our ability to make these payments depends on our future performance, which will be affected by financial, business, economic and other factors, many of which we cannot control. Our business may not generate sufficient cash flows from operations in the future and our currently anticipated growth in revenues and cash flows may not be realized, either or both of which could result in our being unable to repay indebtedness or to fund other liquidity needs. If we do not have enough money, we may be required to refinance all or part of our then existing debt, sell assets or borrow more money, in each case on terms that are not acceptable to us. In addition, the terms of existing or future debt agreements, including our existing credit facility, may restrict us from adopting any of these alternatives. Our ability to recapitalize and incur additional debt in the future could also delay or prevent a change in control of our company, make some transactions more difficult and impose additional financial or other covenants on us. In addition, any significant levels of indebtedness in the future could place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors that may have proportionately less debt and could make us more vulnerable to economic downturns and adverse developments in our business.  Our indebtedness and any inability to pay our debt obligations as they come due or inability to incur additional debt could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

The terms of our credit facility impose operating and financial restrictions on us.

Our credit facility contains a number of significant restrictions and covenants that generally limit our ability to, among other things:

pay dividends or purchase stock or make other restricted payments to our stockholders;

incur additional indebtedness;

issue guarantees;

16

 


 

make investments;

use assets as security in other transactions;

sell assets or merge with or into other companies;

make capital expenditures;

enter into transactions with affiliates;

sell equity or other ownership interests in our subsidiaries; and

create or permit restrictions on our subsidiaries’ ability to make payments to us.

 

Our credit facility limits our ability to engage in these types of transactions even if we believed that a specific transaction would contribute to our future growth or improve our operating results. Our credit facility also requires us to achieve specified financial and operating results and maintain compliance with specified financial ratios. Specifically, these covenants require that we have a fixed charge coverage ratio of greater than 2.00 and a leverage ratio of less than 1.00. As of December 29, 2015, we were in compliance with these tests. See Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations. Our ability to comply with these provisions may be affected by events beyond our control. A breach of any of these provisions or our inability to comply with required financial ratios in our credit facility could result in a default under the credit facility in which case the lenders will have the right to declare all borrowings to be immediately due and payable. If we are unable to repay all borrowings when due, whether at maturity or if declared due and payable following a default, the lenders would have the right to proceed against the collateral granted to secure the indebtedness. If we breach these covenants or fail to comply with the terms of the credit facility and the lenders accelerate the amounts outstanding under the credit facility our business and results of operations would be adversely affected.

 

Our credit facility carries floating interest rates, thereby exposing us to market risk related to changes in interest rates to the extent there are borrowings outstanding thereunder. Accordingly, our business and results of operations may be adversely affected by changes in interest rates. Assuming a one percentage point increase on our base interest rate on our credit facility and a full drawdown on the credit facility, our interest expense would increase by approximately $0.3 million over the course of 12 months.

 

The failure to enforce and maintain our intellectual property rights could enable others to use names confusingly similar to the names and marks used by our restaurants, which could adversely affect the value of our brands.

We have registered the names Del Frisco’s, Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan’s, Del Frisco’s Grille and have applications pending to register certain other names and logos used by our restaurants as trade names, trademarks or service marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and in certain foreign countries. We have the exclusive right to use these trademarks throughout the United States, other than with respect to one restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky, including the 50 mile surrounding area, where an unrelated third party has the right to use a specific registration of the Del Frisco’s name in Jefferson and Fayette Counties in Kentucky, Marion County in Indiana and Hamilton County in Ohio. See Item 1, Business. The success of our business depends in part on our continued ability to utilize our existing trade names, trademarks and service marks as currently used in order to increase our brand awareness. In that regard, we believe that our trade names, trademarks and service marks are valuable assets that are critical to our success. The unauthorized use or other misappropriation of our trade names, trademarks or service marks could diminish the value of our brands and restaurant concepts and may cause a decline in our revenues and force us to incur costs related to enforcing our rights. In addition, the use of trade names, trademarks or service marks similar to ours in some markets may keep us from entering those markets. While we may take protective actions with respect to our intellectual property, these actions may not be sufficient to prevent, and we may not be aware of all incidents of, unauthorized usage or imitation by others. Any such unauthorized usage or imitation of our intellectual property, including the costs related to enforcing our rights, could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

Information technology system failures or breaches of our network security, including with respect to confidential information, could interrupt our operations and adversely affect our business.

We rely on our computer systems and network infrastructure across our operations, including point-of-sale processing at our restaurants. Our operations depend upon our ability to protect our computer equipment and systems against damage from physical theft, fire, power loss, telecommunications failure or other catastrophic events, as well as from internal and external security breaches, viruses, worms and other disruptive problems. Any damage or failure of our computer systems or network infrastructure that causes an interruption in our operations could subject us to litigation or actions by regulatory authorities. In addition, the majority of our restaurant sales are by credit or debit cards. Other restaurants and retailers have experienced security breaches in which credit and debit card information of their customers has been stolen. If this or another type of breach occurs at one of our restaurants, we may become subject to negative publicity as well as lawsuits or other proceedings for purportedly fraudulent transactions arising out of the actual or alleged theft of our customers’ credit or debit card information. Although we employ both internal resources and external consultants to conduct auditing and testing for weaknesses in our systems, controls, firewalls and encryption and intend to maintain and upgrade our security technology and operational procedures to prevent such damage, breaches or other disruptive problems, there can be no assurance that these security measures will be successful. Any such claim, proceeding or action by a regulatory authority, or any adverse publicity resulting from these allegations, could adversely affect our business and results of operations.

17

 


 

 

We expect to issue options, restricted stock and other forms of stock-based compensation in the future, which have the potential to dilute stockholder value and cause the price of our common stock to decline.

As of December 29, 2015, we had options outstanding to purchase 1,221,100 shares of common stock under our equity incentive plan, 714,600 of which have vested and are currently exercisable and restricted stock outstanding of 90,379 shares of common stock. In addition, we expect to offer stock options, restricted stock and other forms of stock-based compensation to our directors, officers and employees in the future. If the options that we issue are exercised, or any restricted stock or other rewards that we may issue vests, and those shares are sold into the public market, the market price of our common stock may decline. In addition, the availability of shares of common stock for award under our equity incentive plan, or the grant of stock options, restricted stock or other forms of stock-based compensation, may adversely affect the market price of our common stock.

 

 

We are a holding company and depend on the cash flow of our subsidiaries.

We are a holding company with no material assets other than the equity interests of our subsidiaries. Our subsidiaries conduct substantially all of our operations and own substantially all of our assets and intellectual property. Consequently, our cash flow and our ability to meet our obligations and pay any future dividends to our stockholders depends upon the cash flow of our subsidiaries and the payment of funds by our subsidiaries directly or indirectly to us in the form of dividends, distributions and other payments. Any inability on the part of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Provisions of our charter documents, Delaware law and other documents could discourage, delay or prevent a merger or acquisition at a premium price.

Provisions in our certificate of incorporation and bylaws may have the effect of delaying or preventing a change of control or changes in our management. For example, our certificate of incorporation and bylaws include provisions that:

permit us to issue without stockholder approval preferred stock in one or more series and, with respect to each series, fix the number of shares constituting the series and the designation of the series, the voting powers, if any, of the shares of the series and the preferences and other special rights, if any, and any qualifications, limitations or restrictions, of the shares of the series;

prevent stockholders from calling special meetings;

prevent the ability of stockholders to act by written consent;

limit the ability of stockholders to amend our certificate of incorporation and bylaws;

require advance notice for nominations for election to the board of directors and for stockholder proposals; and

establish a classified board of directors with staggered three-year terms.

 

These provisions may discourage, delay or prevent a merger or acquisition of our company, including a transaction in which the acquiror may offer a premium price for our common stock.

 

We are also subject to Section 203 of the Delaware General Corporation Law, or the DGCL, which, subject to certain exceptions, prohibits us from engaging in any business combination with any interested stockholder, as defined in that section, for a period of three years following the date on which that stockholder became an interested stockholder. In addition, our equity incentive plan permits vesting of stock options and restricted stock, and payments to be made to the employees thereunder in certain circumstances, in connection with a change of control of our company, which could discourage, delay or prevent a merger or acquisition at a premium price.

 

We are an “emerging growth company” and we cannot be certain if we will be able to maintain such status.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the Jumpstart our Business Startups Act of 2012, or JOBS Act, and we have adopted certain exemptions from various reporting requirements that are applicable to other public companies that are not “emerging growth companies.” These exemptions include, but are not limited to, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, or the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, reduced disclosure obligations regarding executive compensation in our periodic reports, proxy statements and registration statements, and exemptions from the requirements of holding a nonbinding advisory vote on executive compensation and stockholder approval of any golden parachute payments not previously approved. We may take advantage of these reporting exemptions until we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” We may remain as an “emerging growth company” for up to five full fiscal years following our initial public offering, which occurred July 26, 2012. We would cease to be an “emerging growth company,” and therefore not be able to rely upon the above exemptions, if we have more than $1 billion in annual revenues in a fiscal year, we issue more than $1 billion of non-convertible debt over a three-year period or we have more than $700 million in market value of our common stock held by non-affiliates as of any June 30 before the end of the five full fiscal years.

 

18

 


 

If we are unable to implement and maintain the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to provide an unqualified report on our internal controls.

Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the related rules adopted by the SEC and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, our management is required to report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. In addition, once we no longer qualify as an “emerging growth company” under the JOBS Act and lose the ability to rely on the exemptions related thereto discussed above, our independent registered public accounting firm will also need to attest to the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting under Section 404. If we conclude and, once we no longer qualify as an “emerging growth company” under the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm concludes, that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective, investor confidence and our stock price could decline.

 

Matters impacting our internal controls may cause us to be unable to report our financial information on a timely basis and thereby subject us to adverse regulatory consequences, including sanctions by the SEC or violations of NASDAQ listing rules, and result in a breach of the covenants under our financing arrangements. There also could be a negative reaction in the financial markets due to a loss of investor confidence in us and the reliability of our financial statements. Confidence in the reliability of our financial statements also could suffer if we or our independent registered public accounting firm were to report a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. This could materially adversely affect us and lead to a decline in the price of our common stock.

 

As a public company, we incur significant costs and face demands on our management to comply with the SEC and NASDAQ requirements.

We are required as a public company to comply with an extensive body of regulations, including provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act as well as rules and regulations promulgated by the SEC and NASDAQ. These rules and regulations could result in substantial legal and financial compliance costs and make some activities more time-consuming and costly, and these costs and demands may increase after we are no longer an “emerging growth company.” In addition, we incur costs associated with our public company reporting requirements and maintaining directors’ and officers’ liability insurance. Furthermore, our management has increased demands on its time in order to ensure we comply with public company reporting requirements and the compliance requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as any rules and requirements subsequently implemented by the SEC and NASDAQ.

 

Our reported financial results may be adversely affected by changes in accounting principles applicable to us.

Generally accepted accounting principles in the U.S. are subject to interpretation by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or FASB, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the SEC and various bodies formed to promulgate and interpret appropriate accounting principles. A change in these principles or interpretations could have a significant effect on our reported financial results, and could affect the reporting of transactions completed before the announcement of a change. For example, the FASB, together with the International Accounting Standards Board, has issued a comprehensive set of changes in accounting for leases. The lease accounting model is a “right of use” model that assumes that each lease creates an asset (the lessee’s right to use the leased asset) and a liability (the future rent payment obligations) which should be reflected on a lessee’s balance sheet to fairly represent the lease transaction and the lessee’s related financial obligations. All of our restaurant leases are accounted for as operating leases, with no related assets and liabilities on our balance sheet. However, changes in lease accounting rules or their interpretation, or changes in underlying assumptions, estimates or judgments by us could significantly change our reported or expected financial performance. In addition, the SEC has announced a multi-year plan that could ultimately lead to the use of International Financial Reporting Standards by U.S. issuers in their SEC filings. Any such change could have a significant effect on our reported financial results.

 

 

 

Item 1B.

Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

 

 

 

 

19

 


 

 

 

Item 2.

Properties

 

Properties

We currently operate 50 restaurants across 23 states and the District of Columbia. We currently lease all of our restaurants, except for two Del Frisco’s restaurants. The majority of our leases provide for minimum annual rents with some containing percentage-of-sales rent provisions, against which the minimum rent may be applied. Typically, our lease terms are five to 15 years at initiation, with two to four five-year extension options. None of our restaurant leases can be terminated early by the landlord other than as is customary in the context of a breach or default under the applicable lease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opening Date

  

City

  

State

  

Lease/Own

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House

  

 

  

 

  

 

September 1995

  

Dallas

  

Texas

  

Own

April 1996

  

Ft. Worth

  

Texas

  

Lease

January 1997

  

Denver

  

Colorado

  

Lease

March 2000

  

New York

  

New York

  

Lease

July 2000

  

Las Vegas

  

Nevada

  

Lease

May 2007

  

Charlotte

  

North Carolina

  

Lease

November 2007

  

Houston

  

Texas

  

Lease

November 2008

  

Philadelphia

  

Pennsylvania

  

Lease

April 2011

  

Boston

  

Massachusetts

  

Lease

December 2012

 

Chicago

 

Illinois

 

Lease

September 2014

  

Washington D.C.

 

 

  

Lease

August 2015

  

Orlando

 

Florida

  

Own

 

 

 

 

Del Frisco’s Grille

  

 

  

 

  

 

August 2011

  

New York

  

New York

  

Lease

November 2011

  

Dallas

  

Texas

  

Lease

July 2012

  

Washington D.C.

  

 

  

Lease

October 2012

  

Atlanta

  

Georgia

  

Lease

March 2013

  

Houston

  

Texas

  

Lease

July 2013

  

Santa Monica

  

California

  

Lease

October 2013

  

Fort Worth

  

Texas

  

Lease

December 2013

  

Chestnut Hill

  

Massachusetts

  

Lease

December 2013

  

Southlake

  

Texas

  

Lease

June 2014

  

Burlington

  

Massachusetts

  

Lease

August 2014

  

Irvine

  

California

  

Lease

September 2014

  

N. Bethesda

  

Maryland

  

Lease

November 2014

  

Tampa

  

Florida

  

Lease

December 2014

  

Pasadena

  

California

  

Lease

May 2015

  

The Woodlands

  

Texas

  

Lease

June 2015

  

Plano

  

Texas

  

Lease

August 2015

  

Stamford

  

Connecticut

  

Lease

September 2015

  

Little Rock

  

Arkansas

  

Lease

September 2015

  

Hoboken

  

New Jersey

  

Lease

November 2015

  

Cherry Creek

  

Colorado

  

Lease

 

 

 

 

Sullivan’s Steakhouse

  

 

  

 

  

 

May 1996

  

Austin

  

Texas

  

Lease 

November 1996

  

Indianapolis

  

Indiana

  

Lease

October 1997

  

Baton Rouge

  

Louisiana

  

Lease

December 1997

  

Wilmington

  

Delaware

  

Lease (1)

January 1998

  

Charlotte

  

North Carolina

  

Lease

July 1998

  

Houston

  

Texas

  

Lease

September 1998

  

Anchorage

  

Alaska

  

Lease

September 1998

  

King of Prussia

  

Pennsylvania

  

Lease

December 1998

  

Naperville

  

Illinois

  

Lease

January 1999

  

Palm Desert

  

California

  

Lease

June 1999

  

Chicago

  

Illinois

  

Lease

August 1999

  

Raleigh

  

North Carolina

  

Lease

20

 


 

Opening Date

  

City

  

State

  

Lease/Own

Sullivan’s Steakhouse (cont.)

 

December 2000

  

Tucson

  

Arizona

  

Lease

July 2007

  

Omaha

  

Nebraska

  

Lease

July 2008

  

Leawood

  

Kansas

  

Lease

November 2008

  

Lincolnshire

  

Illinois

  

Lease

February 2009

  

Baltimore

  

Maryland

  

Lease

June 2010

  

Seattle

  

Washington

  

Lease

 

 

 

 

(1)

Current lease term expires November 30, 2016. We are currently negotiating an extension.

Our corporate headquarters is located in Southlake, Texas. We lease the property for our corporate headquarters.

 

 

 

Item 3.

Legal Proceedings

 

We are subject to various claims and legal actions, including class actions, arising in the ordinary course of business from time to time, including claims related to food quality, personal injury, contract matters, health, wage and employment and other issues. While it is impossible at this time to determine with certainty the ultimate outcome of these proceedings, lawsuits and claims, management believes that adequate provisions have been made and that the ultimate outcomes will not have a material adverse effect on our financial position and results of operations.

 

 

 

Item 4.

Mine Safety Disclosure

Not applicable.

 

 

21

 


 

PART II

 

 

 

Item 5.

Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities

Information Regarding our Common Stock

Our common stock has been listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol “DFRG” and registered under Section 12 of the Exchange Act since July 27, 2012, the date of our initial public offering. The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, the high and low sales prices per share for our common stock as quoted by the Nasdaq Global Select Market.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

High

 

  

Low

 

2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Quarter (December 31, 2014 – March 24, 2015)

  

$

25.95 

  

  

$

17.87 

  

Second Quarter (March 25, 2015 – June 16, 2015)

  

$

22.48 

  

  

$

18.30 

  

Third Quarter (June 17, 2015 – September 8, 2015)

  

$

19.18 

  

  

$

13.73 

  

Fourth Quarter (September 9, 2015 – December 29, 2015)

  

$

16.42 

  

  

$

12.25 

  

2014

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

First Quarter (January 1, 2014 – March 25, 2014)

  

$

29.22 

  

  

$

21.56 

  

Second Quarter (March 26, 2014 – June 17, 2014)

  

$

29.61 

  

  

$

24.62 

  

Third Quarter (June 18, 2014 – September 9, 2014)

  

$

28.21 

  

  

$

20.30 

  

Fourth Quarter (September 10, 2014 – December 30, 2014)

  

$

24.69 

  

  

$

18.81 

  

 

The market price of our common stock is subject to fluctuations in response to variations in our quarterly operating results, general trends in the restaurant industry as well as other factors, many of which are not within our control. In addition, broad market fluctuations, as well as general economic, business and political conditions may adversely affect the market for our common stock, regardless of our actual or projected performance.

 

The closing sale price of a share of our common stock, as reported by the Nasdaq Global Select Market, on March 1, 2016, was $16.48. As of March 1, 2016, there were three holders of record of our common stock, not including beneficial owners of shares registered in nominee or street name.

 

22

 


 

Performance Graph

The following table and graph shows the cumulative total stockholder return on the Company’s Common Stock with the S&P 500 Stock Index, the S&P Small Cap 600 Index and the Dow Jones U.S. Restaurants & Bars Index, in each case assuming an initial investment of $100 on July 27, 2012 and full dividend reinvestment.

 

CUMULATIVE TOTAL RETURN

Assuming an investment of $100 and reinvestment of dividends

 

Picture 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7/27/2012

12/24/2012

12/31/2013

12/30/2014

12/29/2015

Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc.

$         100.00

$           117.92

$           181.31

$           180.38

$           124.54

S&P 500 Stock Index

$         100.00

$           102.94

$           133.36

$           150.10

$           149.96

S&P SmallCap 600 Index

$         100.00

$           106.24

$           149.12

$           156.86

$           154.02

Dow Jones U.S. Restaurants & Bars Index

$         100.00

$           101.95

$           127.66

$           132.15

$           159.38

 

 

The stock performance graph should not be deemed filed or incorporated by reference into any other filing made by us under the Securities Act of 1933 or the Exchange Act, except to the extent that we specifically incorporate the stock performance graph by reference in another filing.

 

Information Regarding Dividends

We have never declared or paid any cash dividends on our common stock and do not anticipate paying cash dividends on our common stock for the foreseeable future. We anticipate that we will retain all of our future earnings, if any, for use in the development and expansion of our business and for general corporate purposes. Any determination to pay dividends in the future will be at the discretion of our board of directors and will depend upon our financial condition, operating results and other factors our board of directors deems relevant.

 

Our credit facility contains, and debt instruments that we enter into in the future may contain, covenants that place limitations on the amount of dividends we may pay. In addition, under Delaware law, our board of directors may declare dividends only to the extent of our surplus, which is defined as total assets at fair market value minus total liabilities, minus statutory capital, or, if there is no surplus, out of our net profits for the then current and immediately preceding year.

 

 

 

 

23

 


 

Item 6.

Selected Financial Data

The following table sets forth certain of our historical financial data. We have derived the selected historical consolidated financial data for fiscal years 2011 through 2015 from our audited financial statements and the related notes. Not all periods shown below are discussed in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. You should read this information together with Item 7, Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes to those statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Historical results are not necessarily indicative of future performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended (1)

 

December 27,

 

December 25,

 

December 31,

 

December 30,

 

December 29,

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

Income Statement Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenues

$

198,625 

 

$

232,435 

 

$

271,806 

 

$

301,805 

 

$

331,612 

Costs and expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Costs of sales

 

60,743 

 

 

71,093 

 

 

82,209 

 

 

90,990 

 

 

95,963 

Restaurant operating expenses

 

86,311 

 

 

100,143 

 

 

121,825 

 

 

137,695 

 

 

156,337 

Marketing and advertising costs

 

4,246 

 

 

4,682 

 

 

5,663 

 

 

6,169 

 

 

7,745 

Pre-opening costs

 

3,018 

 

 

4,058 

 

 

3,758 

 

 

4,735 

 

 

5,228 

General and administrative

 

10,640 

 

 

13,449 

 

 

17,421 

 

 

20,537 

 

 

23,111 

Lease termination and closing costs

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

1,386 

Management and accounting fees paid to related party

 

3,399 

 

 

1,252 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Asset advisory agreement termination fee

 

 —

 

 

3,000 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Secondary public offering costs

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

1,024 

 

 

 

 

 —

Public offering transaction bonuses

 

 —

 

 

1,462 

 

 

8,355 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Non-cash impairment charges

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

2,360 

 

 

3,536 

 

 

3,248 

Depreciation and amortization

 

6,998 

 

 

8,675 

 

 

11,300 

 

 

13,598 

 

 

16,776 

Operating income

 

23,270 

 

 

24,621 

 

 

17,891 

 

 

24,540 

 

 

21,818 

Other income (expense), net:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interest expense-other

 

(6,355)

 

 

(2,920)

 

 

(72)

 

 

(113)

 

 

(77)

Write-off of debt issuance costs

 

(2,501)

 

 

(1,649)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Other, net

 

(114)

 

 

113 

 

 

(51)

 

 

(107)

 

 

(236)

Income from continuing operations before income taxes

 

14,300 

 

 

20,165 

 

 

17,768 

 

 

24,320 

 

 

21,505 

Income tax expense

 

4,653 

 

 

5,592 

 

 

5,556 

 

 

7,723 

 

 

5,507 

Income from continuing operations

$

9,647 

 

$

14,573 

 

$

12,212 

 

$

16,597 

 

$

15,998 

Discontinued operations, net of income tax benefit

 

(674)

 

 

(819)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Net income

$

8,973 

 

$

13,754 

 

$

12,212 

 

$

16,597 

 

$

15,998 

Basic net income (loss) per common share (2):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations

$

0.54 

 

$

0.71 

 

$

0.51 

 

$

0.71 

 

$

0.68 

Discontinued operations

 

(0.04)

 

 

(0.04)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Basic net income per share

$

0.50 

 

$

0.67 

 

$

0.51 

 

$

0.71 

 

$

0.68 

Diluted net income (loss) per common share (2):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing operations

$

0.54 

 

$

0.71 

 

$

0.51 

 

$

0.70 

 

$

0.68 

Discontinued operations

 

(0.04)

 

 

(0.04)

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Diluted net income per share

$

0.50 

 

$

0.67 

 

$

0.51 

 

$

0.70 

 

$

0.68 

Weighted average shares used in computing net income (loss) per common share (2):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

17,994,667 

 

 

20,432,57920,432,579 

 

 

23,779,782 

 

 

23,517,883 

 

 

23,380,085 

Diluted

 

17,994,667 

 

 

20,432,57920,432,579 

 

 

23,852,200 

 

 

23,740,318 

 

 

23,517,288 

 

 

24

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 27,

 

December 25,

 

December 31,

 

December 30,

 

December 29,

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

Balance Sheet Data (at end of period):

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

$

14,119 

 

$

10,763 

 

$

13,674 

 

$

3,520 

 

$

5,176 

Working capital (deficit) (3)

 

2,940 

 

 

(755)

 

 

8,048 

 

 

(2,106)

 

 

(6,626)

Total assets

 

234,274 

 

 

258,385 

 

 

288,651 

 

 

319,666 

 

 

350,419 

Total debt

 

70,000 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

4,500 

Total stockholders' equity

 

95,872 

 

 

177,901 

 

 

196,783 

 

 

210,983 

 

 

227,699 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended (1)

 

December 27,

 

December 25,

 

December 31,

 

December 30,

 

December 29,

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

Other Financial Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net cash provided by operating activities

$

28,503 

 

$

30,968 

 

$

29,392 

 

$

42,766 

 

$

45,868 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(7,151)

 

 

(32,173)

 

 

(31,462)

 

 

(47,956)

 

 

(46,530)

Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities

 

(11,390)

 

 

(2,151)

 

 

4,981 

 

 

(4,964)

 

 

2,318 

Capital Expenditures

 

20,063 

 

 

33,635 

 

 

31,326 

 

 

47,491 

 

 

46,150 

Adjusted EBITDA (4)

 

36,415 

 

 

43,068 

 

 

44,688 

 

 

46,414 

 

 

48,456 

Adjusted EBITDA Margin (5)

 

18.3% 

 

 

18.5% 

 

 

16.4% 

 

 

15.4% 

 

 

14.6% 

Restaurant-level EBITDA (4)

 

47,325 

 

 

56,517 

 

 

62,109 

 

 

66,951 

 

 

71,567 

Restaurant-level EBITDA Margin (6)

 

23.8% 

 

 

24.3% 

 

 

22.9% 

 

 

22.2% 

 

 

21.6% 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total Restaurants (at end of period)

 

30 

 

 

34 

 

 

40 

 

 

46 

 

 

50 

Total comparable restaurants (at end of period) (7)

 

26 

 

 

28 

 

 

30 

 

 

35 

 

 

37 

Average sales per comparable restaurant

$

6,802 

 

$

7,457 

 

$

7,622 

 

$

7,563 

 

$

7,396 

Percentage change in comparable restaurant sales (7)

 

11.2% 

 

 

4.2% 

 

 

1.3% 

 

 

1.9% 

 

 

(0.6)%

 

 

 

 

(1)

We utilize a 52- or 53-week accounting period which ends on the last Tuesday of December. The fiscal year ended December 31, 2013 had 53 weeks. The fiscal years ended December 27, 2011, December 25, 2012, December 30, 2014 and December 29, 2015 each had 52 weeks.

(2)

Basic and diluted income per share is computed by dividing net income for each period by the shares of common stock issued following our conversion from a limited liability company to a corporation immediately prior to the effectiveness of our initial public offering. Such shares are assumed to be outstanding for all periods presented.

(3)

Defined as total current assets minus total current liabilities.

(4)

Adjusted EBITDA and restaurant-level EBITDA are metrics used by management to measure operating performance. Adjusted EBITDA represents net income before interest, taxes, and depreciation and amortization, plus the sum of certain non-operating expenses, including pre-opening costs, management fees and expenses, asset advisory agreement termination fees, non-cash impairment charges, lease termination and closing costs, third-party lease guarantee payments, public offering transaction bonuses and secondary public offering costs. Restaurant-level EBITDA represents net income before interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization, plus the sum of certain non-operating expenses, including pre-opening costs, management fees and expenses, asset advisory agreement termination fees, non-cash impairment charges, lease termination and closing costs, third-party lease guarantee payments, public offering transaction bonuses, secondary public offering costs and general and administrative expenses.

 

 

25

 


 

 

The following table presents a reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA and restaurant-level EBITDA to net income:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended (1)

 

December 27,

 

December 25,

 

December 31,

 

December 30,

 

December 29,

 

2011

 

2012

 

2013

 

2014

 

2015

Income from continuing operations

$

9,647 

 

$

14,573 

 

$

12,212 

 

$

16,597 

 

$

15,998 

Income tax expense

 

4,653 

 

 

5,592 

 

 

5,556 

 

 

7,723 

 

 

5,507 

Interest income

 

(16)

 

 

(9)

 

 

(3)

 

 

(1)

 

 

(1)

Interest expense-other

 

6,355 

 

 

2,920 

 

 

72 

 

 

113 

 

 

77 

Non-cash impairment charges

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

2,360 

 

 

3,536 

 

 

3,248 

Write-off of debt issuance costs

 

2,501 

 

 

1,649 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Depreciation and amortization

 

6,998 

 

 

8,675 

 

 

11,300 

 

 

13,598 

 

 

16,776 

Pre-opening costs

 

3,018 

 

 

4,058 

 

 

3,758 

 

 

4,735 

 

 

5,228 

Lease guarantee payments and other

 

130 

 

 

(104)

 

 

54 

 

 

108 

 

 

237 

Lease termination and closing costs

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

1,386 

Management fees and expenses (a)

 

3,129 

 

 

1,252 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Asset advisory agreement termination fee

 

 —

 

 

3,000 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Secondary public offering costs

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

1,024 

 

 

 

 

 —

Public offering transaction bonuses

 

 —

 

 

1,462 

 

 

8,355 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Adjusted EBITDA

$

36,415 

 

$

43,068 

 

$

44,688 

 

$

46,414 

 

$

48,456 

General and administrative

 

10,640 

 

 

13,449 

 

 

17,421 

 

 

20,537 

 

 

23,111 

Related party shared services fees

 

270 

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

 

 

 —

Restaurant-level EBITDA

$

47,325 

 

$

56,517 

 

$

62,109 

 

$

66,951 

 

$

71,567 

 

 

 

 

(a)

Includes asset management fees and expenses paid to an affiliate of Lone Star Fund pursuant to our asset advisory agreement which was terminated in 2012 in connection with our initial public offering, but excludes amounts paid to another affiliate of Lone Star Fund for accounting, administrative and management services under a separate shared services agreement, which is referred to as the related party shared services fee.

 

We present adjusted EBITDA and restaurant-level EBITDA as supplemental performance measures because we believe they facilitate a comparative assessment of our operating performance relative to our performance based on our results under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or GAAP, while isolating the effects of some items that vary from period to period without any correlation to core operating performance. Specifically, adjusted EBITDA allows for an assessment of our operating performance without the effect of non-cash depreciation and amortization expenses or our ability to service or incur indebtedness. Restaurant-level EBITDA allows for further assessment of our operating performance by eliminating the effect of general and administrative expenses incurred at the corporate level. These measures also function as a benchmark to evaluate our operating performance or compare our performance to that of our competitors because companies within our industry exhibit significant variations with respect to capital structures and cost of capital (which affect interest expense and tax rates) and differences in book depreciation of facilities and equipment (which affect relative depreciation expense), including significant differences in the depreciable lives of similar assets among various companies.

 

This Annual Report on Form 10-K also includes information concerning adjusted EBITDA margin, which is defined as the ratio of adjusted EBITDA to revenues, and restaurant-level EBITDA margin, which is defined as the ratio of restaurant-level EBITDA to revenues. We present adjusted EBITDA margin and restaurant-level EBITDA margin because they are used by management as a performance measurement to judge the level of adjusted EBITDA and restaurant-level EBITDA, respectively, generated from revenues. We believe their inclusion is appropriate to provide additional information to investors and other external users of our financial statements.

 

Adjusted EBITDA, restaurant-level EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin and restaurant-level EBITDA margin are not measurements of our financial performance under GAAP and should not be considered in isolation or as an alternative to net income, net cash provided by operating, investing or financing activities or any other financial statement data presented as indicators of financial performance or liquidity, each as presented in accordance with GAAP. We understand that although adjusted EBITDA is frequently used by securities analysts, lenders and others in their evaluation of companies, it and restaurant-level EBITDA have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation, or as substitutes for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP, as adjusted EBITDA and restaurant-level EBITDA do not reflect: