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TickerMine April Report for Brinker International Inc. (NYSE:EAT)
Macaroni Grill Restaurants Busy; Pasta & Chicken Dishes Are Tops
Business is strong at Romano's Macaroni Grill, part of Brinker International, according to 35 locations recently surveyed by TickerMine. Forty percent of restaurants consulted said that they were busier than the same time last year while traffic is holding steady at another 40% of locations. Only 5% of respondents said that they are less busy than last year. Of the locations participating in the survey, 83% have been open for longer than a year and 54% are located near a mall or other restaurants. Forty six percent of participating locations reported that they see the menu as the biggest draw for customers, 40% the atmosphere, and 14% prices. Pasta dishes are the most popular items on the menu at 49% of restaurants, particularly the Create-Your-Own-Pasta (14%), Fettuccine Alfredo (9%), Penne Rustica (6%), and Primo Pasta (6%). Chicken dishes are the biggest sellers at 26% of locations with 14% naming the Chicken Scallopini as the most popular dish on the menu. Ninety-one percent of the participating restaurants' business is primarily dinner. The average check for a party of two is between $25 and $35 at 49% of restaurants and $46 or higher at 20% of locations.
Chili's Restaurants Equally as Busy as Last year and the Smoke House Burgers are Off the Hook, Survey Says
Brinker International Inc., owner of various US restaurant brands, most famously the Chili's Bar and Grill, sees soft customer spending this quarter. Tickermine surveyed 35 Chili's locations and asked after their rush hours, how long their location had been opened, what lures their customers back, popular menu items and what the average party of two spends. Dinner remains busier with 74% or 26 respondents followed by lunch with 9 or 26%. 33 or 94% said their location was older than a year, so not new, and 2 or 6% said theirs was new. Twenty or 57% of respondents felt that their customers liked the atmosphere best followed by menu (11 or 31%) and prices (4 or 11%). Thirteen or 37% said that a party of two will spend $25 or less, 11 or 31% reported $30-$40, only 2 or 6% reported $41-50 and 1 or 3% stated $65. Eighteen or 51% said their restaurant was beside a mall or competing restaurants and 17 or 49% said theirs was not. The Smokehouse Burgers were predominantly the most popular menu item with 23 or 66% followed by the Fajitas, cited three times or 9%. The Baby Back Ribs and Chipotle Blue Cheese Burger each received two mentions or 6% and the following were each mentioned once or 3%: Sirloin Tips, Charbroiled Chicken, Buffalo Wings and Big Mouth Bites. In spite of contrary reports, our survey found that most respondents, 20 or 57% reported business as the same as this time last year. Eleven or 31% said it was busier, 2 or 6% said it was the same or that theirs was a new store, therefore there was no comparison to offer.
Maggiano's Little Italy Reports Affordable Check Sizes, Increase in Business Over Last Year
TickerMine conducted a survey of Maggiano's Little Italy restaurants and learned that 50% of the restaurants surveyed are busier than this time last year. Lunch takes a backseat to dinner, which is the busiest time for 75% of the respondents. The food is the key driver for business, noted 54% of restaurants surveyed. Atmosphere was the second-most frequently mentioned reason for dining at Little Italy. The average check size for a party of two is between $30 and $40 for 48% of restaurants, and between $41 and $50 for another 38%. Just over half (58%) of Little Italy restaurants are located in a mall near other restaurants. Restaurants reported favorite dishes that ranged across every section of the menu, from Chicken Marsala to Chicken Saltimbocca, Lasagne to Rigatoni, and New York Strip to Italian Pot Roast.