Cracker Barrel
 Cracker Barrel opened two new restaurants in the first quarter and plans to add up to six more in the coming year.

LEBANON, Tenn. – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store reported its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2017 ended Oct. 28, 2016. The company reported an increase of 1 percent in total revenue from the first quarter of 2016 – from $702.6 million in Q1 2016 to $709.9 million in Q1 2017. The company’s comparable restaurant sales increased 1.3 percent compared to the prior year first quarter, which marked the 10th consecutive year of positive comparable store restaurant sales. The increase in comparable restaurant sales included a 3 percent increase in average check partially offset by a 1.7 percent decrease in store traffic.

“This quarter's financial results exceeded our expectations, reflecting the strength and differentiation of our brand, as well our ability to leverage our cost saving initiatives and the favorable commodity environment,” said Cracker Barrel President and CEO Sandra B. Cochran. “I believe that our strategic focus to Enhance the Core, Expand the Footprint, and Extend the Brand will further move the brand forward and deliver solid returns for our shareholders.”

Cracker Barrel reported its operating income for the first quarter was $75.7 million, or 10.7 percent of total revenue, compared to $65.3 million, or 9.3 percent of total revenue in the prior year first quarter.

Earnings per diluted share in the first quarter of fiscal 2017 increased 18.2 percent from earnings per diluted share of $1.70 to earnings per diluted share of $2.01. The company expects to report earnings per diluted share for the second quarter of 2017 of between $2.05 and $2.15, according to the company’s release.

The company opened two new Cracker Barrel stores during the quarter, bringing the store count to 641 Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores and two Holler & Dash Biscuit House locations at quarter-end. The company will continue to expand its footprint throughout 2017 with the addition of five or six stores. In addition, the company’s Holler & Dash fast-casual concept will further drive growth with the addition of four or five new locations in markets, including Orlando, Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee.

Based upon year-to-date financial performance, the company raised its previous fiscal 2017 earnings guidance and now expects to report earnings per diluted share of between $8.10 and $8.25 and anticipates total revenue for FY 2017 to be between $2.95 billion and $3.00 billion.

“Our most important priority in fiscal 2017 will be enhancing our core business by broadening our relevance, to grow frequency of use across demographic groups and generations and by improving our business model to reduce operating costs and further drive margins,” Cochran said in an earnings call in September at the end of the company’s 2016 fiscal year.