Buca, Inc. Reports Restaurant Sales Gain of 47 Percent in First Quarter; Net Income Up 86 Percent

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Buca, Inc.

    MINNEAPOLIS, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Buca, Inc. (Nasdaq: BUCA) today
 announced revenues of $39,490,000 for the 13 weeks ended April 1, 2001, an
 increase of 47 percent from sales of $26,924,000 in the 13 weeks ended
 March 26, 2000.  The company reported net income of $1,640,000 or 11 cents per
 share fully diluted for the quarter, compared to net income of $878,000 or
 8 cents per share in the same period of the prior year.  Weighted average
 fully diluted shares outstanding reached 15,559,532 for the 2001 quarter,
 compared to 11,371,770 for the first quarter of 2000.
     The 47 percent increase in sales resulted from a gain in comparable
 restaurant sales as well as the impact of new restaurants opened since the
 first quarter of 2000.  Comparable restaurant sales increased three percent
 from the first quarter of 2000, with approximately half the gain contributed
 by higher guest counts and the balance attributable to a higher average check.
 The increase in the average check includes a price increase of approximately
 one percent.  The increase also reflects the popularity of our new Baked
 Specialties, which carry a premium price.  New restaurants contributed to the
 sales gain as the company opened seven new restaurants in the first quarter of
 2001, for a total of 58 restaurants in operation as of April 1, 2001, compared
 to 39 as of March 26, 2000.
     Joseph P. Micatrotto, chairman, CEO and president, commented, "We are
 pleased to have achieved a three percent sales increase in comparable
 restaurants.  We achieved this growth despite the loss of 26 restaurant/sales
 days due to inclement weather during the first quarter of this year, compared
 to losing just two restaurant/sales days during the same period last year.  We
 are also seeing extremely strong new restaurant openings, with weekly sales
 averaging more than $60,000, compared to an average of  $55,500 for
 restaurants opened last year.  We are on track to open 17 new restaurants in
 2001, with nine already opened to date.  We are right on our preopening cost
 model of $185,000 per restaurant for these nine restaurants, and we continue
 to estimate preopening costs of approximately $185,000 per restaurant for the
 remainder of fiscal 2001. We plan to have 16 of the 17 restaurants opened by
 the end of the third quarter in order to maximize our sales during the holiday
 season.
     "Operating costs are also right on target," Micatrotto continued.  "Both
 food and labor costs have declined as a percent of sales because mature
 restaurants, which are more efficient than new restaurants, make up a greater
 percentage of our total restaurant base.  Direct and occupancy costs increased
 slightly as a percent of sales due to rising utility costs.  With our healthy
 sales growth and favorable cost trends, we continue to look for earnings per
 share in fiscal year 2001 to grow approximately 40 percent over fiscal 2000,
 despite the fact that fiscal 2000 had the benefit of an additional week."
     An important development in the first quarter was the completion of a
 private placement of approximately 1.8 million shares of newly issued Buca
 common stock with institutional investors.  The offering was priced at
 $18.50 per share and resulted in net proceeds to the company of approximately
 $31.4 million.  These proceeds along with the company's credit facility will
 be used to fund development through 2002.
     Micatrotto also announced that Leonard A. Ghilani, chief operations
 officer, will become the president of a new start-up venture. "He has been a
 valued member of our famiglia, and has assisted me in developing great depth
 and talent in the operations arena," said Micatrotto.  "We wish Len only the
 best in his new entrepreneurial opportunity."
     Micatrotto went on to announce the promotion of Joseph Kohaut to senior
 vice president of operations.  In his new capacity, Kohaut will be responsible
 for overseeing the daily operations of all BUCA di BEPPO restaurants and will
 report directly to Micatrotto.  "Joe has been a driving force within our
 organization since I brought him on board as the first divisional vice
 president of operations four years ago," said Micatrotto.  "He has helped to
 shape the department for which he is assuming responsibility.  Joe provides
 excellent leadership to the operators in the field and has a wonderful grasp
 of the needs and challenges of the operations."  In his 20 years of restaurant
 industry experience, Kohaut has held various executive operations management
 positions with such brands as Panda Express, Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant and
 the Ground Round prior to joining Buca, Inc.
     Buca, Inc., a public company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., owns and
 operates BUCA di BEPPO restaurants, a collection of 60 highly acclaimed
 immigrant Southern Italian restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado,
 Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota,
 Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin,
 and the District of Columbia.
     Some of the information contained in this release is forward-looking and,
 therefore, involves uncertainties or risks that could cause actual results to
 differ materially. Such forward-looking statements include the number of new
 restaurant openings, as well as the timing of new restaurants, comparable
 restaurant sales increases, preopening costs and earnings per share. Factors
 that could cause the actual number of restaurants opened during any period to
 be higher or lower than the projected amount, as well as the timing of the
 opening of the new restaurants to vary, include the timing and success of
 locating suitable sites, negotiating acceptable leases or purchases, managing
 construction, obtaining required licenses, and recruiting qualified operating
 personnel.  The company's ability to generate revenue as currently expected,
 unexpected expenses and the need for additional funds to react to changes in
 the marketplace, including unexpected increases in labor, product and other
 costs, may impact whether the company has sufficient cash resources to fund
 its restaurant development plans. Comparable restaurant sales increases could
 be affected as a result of competition, general economic conditions, or
 changes in consumer preferences or discretionary spending.  Preopening costs
 could be higher or lower than projected based upon the cost of hiring and
 training qualified personnel, timing of the restaurant opening, and location
 of the restaurant.  Earnings per share could be higher or lower than projected
 due to changes in revenues caused by general economic conditions, consumer
 confidence in the economy, changes in consumer preferences, competitive
 factors and weather conditions.  Earnings per share could also be affected by
 higher or lower costs, including preopening expenses, food expenses and the
 other expenses of running our business, as well as the number of shares
 outstanding. These and other factors are discussed in more detail in the
 company's Annual Report on form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31,
 2000, previously filed with the SEC. The company disclaims any obligation to
 update forward-looking statements.
 
 
                          BUCA, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                 Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operations
           (unaudited, in thousands, except share and per share data)
 
                                                        13 Weeks Ended
                                                 April 1, 2001   March 26, 2000
     Restaurant sales                               $39,490          $26,924
     Restaurant costs
       Product                                       10,046            7,050
       Labor                                         12,407            8,587
       Direct and occupancy                           8,692            5,351
       Depreciation and amortization                  2,014            1,338
 
         Total restaurant costs                      33,159           22,326
 
     Income from restaurant operations                6,331            4,598
     General and administrative expenses              2,572            1,817
     Preopening costs                                 1,196            1,261
 
     Operating income                                 2,563            1,520
     Interest income                                    156               17
     Interest expense                                   (97)            (187)
 
     Income before income taxes                       2,622            1,350
     Provision for income taxes                        (982)            (472)
 
     Net income                                      $1,640             $878
 
 
     Basic net income per share                       $0.11            $0.08
     Weighted average common shares outstanding  14,871,503       10,842,585
     Diluted net income per share                     $0.11            $0.08
     Weighted average common shares
      assumed outstanding                        15,559,532       11,371,770
 
 
                                                 Percentage of Restaurant Sales
                                                 April 1, 2001   March 26, 2000
     Restaurant sales                                 100.0%           100.0%
     Restaurant costs
       Product                                         25.4%            26.2%
       Labor                                           31.4%            31.9%
       Direct and occupancy                            22.0%            19.9%
       Depreciation and amortization                    5.1%             5.0%
 
        Total restaurant costs                         84.0%            82.9%
 
     Income from restaurant operations                 16.0%            17.1%
     General and administrative expenses                6.5%             6.7%
     Preopening costs                                   3.0%             4.7%
 
     Operating income                                   6.5%             5.6%
     Interest income                                    0.4%             0.1%
     Interest expense                                  (0.2)%           (0.7)%
 
     Income before income taxes                         6.6%             5.0%
     Provision for income taxes                        (2.5)%           (1.8)%
 
     Net income                                         4.2%             3.3%
 
 
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SOURCE Buca, Inc.
    MINNEAPOLIS, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Buca, Inc. (Nasdaq: BUCA) today
 announced revenues of $39,490,000 for the 13 weeks ended April 1, 2001, an
 increase of 47 percent from sales of $26,924,000 in the 13 weeks ended
 March 26, 2000.  The company reported net income of $1,640,000 or 11 cents per
 share fully diluted for the quarter, compared to net income of $878,000 or
 8 cents per share in the same period of the prior year.  Weighted average
 fully diluted shares outstanding reached 15,559,532 for the 2001 quarter,
 compared to 11,371,770 for the first quarter of 2000.
     The 47 percent increase in sales resulted from a gain in comparable
 restaurant sales as well as the impact of new restaurants opened since the
 first quarter of 2000.  Comparable restaurant sales increased three percent
 from the first quarter of 2000, with approximately half the gain contributed
 by higher guest counts and the balance attributable to a higher average check.
 The increase in the average check includes a price increase of approximately
 one percent.  The increase also reflects the popularity of our new Baked
 Specialties, which carry a premium price.  New restaurants contributed to the
 sales gain as the company opened seven new restaurants in the first quarter of
 2001, for a total of 58 restaurants in operation as of April 1, 2001, compared
 to 39 as of March 26, 2000.
     Joseph P. Micatrotto, chairman, CEO and president, commented, "We are
 pleased to have achieved a three percent sales increase in comparable
 restaurants.  We achieved this growth despite the loss of 26 restaurant/sales
 days due to inclement weather during the first quarter of this year, compared
 to losing just two restaurant/sales days during the same period last year.  We
 are also seeing extremely strong new restaurant openings, with weekly sales
 averaging more than $60,000, compared to an average of  $55,500 for
 restaurants opened last year.  We are on track to open 17 new restaurants in
 2001, with nine already opened to date.  We are right on our preopening cost
 model of $185,000 per restaurant for these nine restaurants, and we continue
 to estimate preopening costs of approximately $185,000 per restaurant for the
 remainder of fiscal 2001. We plan to have 16 of the 17 restaurants opened by
 the end of the third quarter in order to maximize our sales during the holiday
 season.
     "Operating costs are also right on target," Micatrotto continued.  "Both
 food and labor costs have declined as a percent of sales because mature
 restaurants, which are more efficient than new restaurants, make up a greater
 percentage of our total restaurant base.  Direct and occupancy costs increased
 slightly as a percent of sales due to rising utility costs.  With our healthy
 sales growth and favorable cost trends, we continue to look for earnings per
 share in fiscal year 2001 to grow approximately 40 percent over fiscal 2000,
 despite the fact that fiscal 2000 had the benefit of an additional week."
     An important development in the first quarter was the completion of a
 private placement of approximately 1.8 million shares of newly issued Buca
 common stock with institutional investors.  The offering was priced at
 $18.50 per share and resulted in net proceeds to the company of approximately
 $31.4 million.  These proceeds along with the company's credit facility will
 be used to fund development through 2002.
     Micatrotto also announced that Leonard A. Ghilani, chief operations
 officer, will become the president of a new start-up venture. "He has been a
 valued member of our famiglia, and has assisted me in developing great depth
 and talent in the operations arena," said Micatrotto.  "We wish Len only the
 best in his new entrepreneurial opportunity."
     Micatrotto went on to announce the promotion of Joseph Kohaut to senior
 vice president of operations.  In his new capacity, Kohaut will be responsible
 for overseeing the daily operations of all BUCA di BEPPO restaurants and will
 report directly to Micatrotto.  "Joe has been a driving force within our
 organization since I brought him on board as the first divisional vice
 president of operations four years ago," said Micatrotto.  "He has helped to
 shape the department for which he is assuming responsibility.  Joe provides
 excellent leadership to the operators in the field and has a wonderful grasp
 of the needs and challenges of the operations."  In his 20 years of restaurant
 industry experience, Kohaut has held various executive operations management
 positions with such brands as Panda Express, Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant and
 the Ground Round prior to joining Buca, Inc.
     Buca, Inc., a public company headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., owns and
 operates BUCA di BEPPO restaurants, a collection of 60 highly acclaimed
 immigrant Southern Italian restaurants in Arizona, California, Colorado,
 Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota,
 Nebraska, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin,
 and the District of Columbia.
     Some of the information contained in this release is forward-looking and,
 therefore, involves uncertainties or risks that could cause actual results to
 differ materially. Such forward-looking statements include the number of new
 restaurant openings, as well as the timing of new restaurants, comparable
 restaurant sales increases, preopening costs and earnings per share. Factors
 that could cause the actual number of restaurants opened during any period to
 be higher or lower than the projected amount, as well as the timing of the
 opening of the new restaurants to vary, include the timing and success of
 locating suitable sites, negotiating acceptable leases or purchases, managing
 construction, obtaining required licenses, and recruiting qualified operating
 personnel.  The company's ability to generate revenue as currently expected,
 unexpected expenses and the need for additional funds to react to changes in
 the marketplace, including unexpected increases in labor, product and other
 costs, may impact whether the company has sufficient cash resources to fund
 its restaurant development plans. Comparable restaurant sales increases could
 be affected as a result of competition, general economic conditions, or
 changes in consumer preferences or discretionary spending.  Preopening costs
 could be higher or lower than projected based upon the cost of hiring and
 training qualified personnel, timing of the restaurant opening, and location
 of the restaurant.  Earnings per share could be higher or lower than projected
 due to changes in revenues caused by general economic conditions, consumer
 confidence in the economy, changes in consumer preferences, competitive
 factors and weather conditions.  Earnings per share could also be affected by
 higher or lower costs, including preopening expenses, food expenses and the
 other expenses of running our business, as well as the number of shares
 outstanding. These and other factors are discussed in more detail in the
 company's Annual Report on form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31,
 2000, previously filed with the SEC. The company disclaims any obligation to
 update forward-looking statements.
 
 
                          BUCA, INC. AND SUBSIDIARIES
                 Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operations
           (unaudited, in thousands, except share and per share data)
 
                                                        13 Weeks Ended
                                                 April 1, 2001   March 26, 2000
     Restaurant sales                               $39,490          $26,924
     Restaurant costs
       Product                                       10,046            7,050
       Labor                                         12,407            8,587
       Direct and occupancy                           8,692            5,351
       Depreciation and amortization                  2,014            1,338
 
         Total restaurant costs                      33,159           22,326
 
     Income from restaurant operations                6,331            4,598
     General and administrative expenses              2,572            1,817
     Preopening costs                                 1,196            1,261
 
     Operating income                                 2,563            1,520
     Interest income                                    156               17
     Interest expense                                   (97)            (187)
 
     Income before income taxes                       2,622            1,350
     Provision for income taxes                        (982)            (472)
 
     Net income                                      $1,640             $878
 
 
     Basic net income per share                       $0.11            $0.08
     Weighted average common shares outstanding  14,871,503       10,842,585
     Diluted net income per share                     $0.11            $0.08
     Weighted average common shares
      assumed outstanding                        15,559,532       11,371,770
 
 
                                                 Percentage of Restaurant Sales
                                                 April 1, 2001   March 26, 2000
     Restaurant sales                                 100.0%           100.0%
     Restaurant costs
       Product                                         25.4%            26.2%
       Labor                                           31.4%            31.9%
       Direct and occupancy                            22.0%            19.9%
       Depreciation and amortization                    5.1%             5.0%
 
        Total restaurant costs                         84.0%            82.9%
 
     Income from restaurant operations                 16.0%            17.1%
     General and administrative expenses                6.5%             6.7%
     Preopening costs                                   3.0%             4.7%
 
     Operating income                                   6.5%             5.6%
     Interest income                                    0.4%             0.1%
     Interest expense                                  (0.2)%           (0.7)%
 
     Income before income taxes                         6.6%             5.0%
     Provision for income taxes                        (2.5)%           (1.8)%
 
     Net income                                         4.2%             3.3%
 
 
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 SOURCE  Buca, Inc.