GREENWOOD VILLAGE, COLO. – Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. reported a decrease in comparable sales during the first fiscal quarter of 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on the business.

Comparable restaurant revenue decreased 20.8% in the first quarter ended April 19, 2020, compared to the same period a year ago, Red Robin said.

The average comparable guest check comprised of a 0.1% increase, resulting from a 1.6% increase in pricing and a 0.3% increase from lower discounting, partially offset by a 1.8% decrease from menu mix.   

Total revenue – which primarily include company-owned restaurant revenue and franchise royalties – for the quarter decreased 25.3% to $306.1 million compared to $409.9 million in the first quarter of 2019.

Systemwide restaurant revenue, which includes franchised units, totaled $370.9 million, compared to $483.7 million for the first quarter a year ago. In response to COVID-19's effect on Red Robin franchisee's operations, the company temporarily abated franchise royalty payments and advertising contributions effective March 20, 2020.

Net loss was $174.3 million for the first quarter of 2020 compared to net income of $0.6 million for the same period in 2019. Adjusted net loss (a non-GAAP financial measure) was $86.0 million for the first quarter of 2020 compared to adjusted net income of $2.4 million for the same period a year ago. 

“We entered 2020 with accelerating business momentum, generating positive comparable restaurant revenue of 3.7% and positive guest counts of 0.9% through the end of our second fiscal period,” said Paul J.B. Murphy III, president and chief executive officer of Red Robin. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an immediate shift of our priorities, inclusive of pivoting to a 100% off-premises model, the preservation of liquidity and the reduction of costs amid the ongoing uncertainty.”

Murphy continued: “Since the onset of the health crisis, we have significantly improved our off-premises execution, resulting in a material improvement in Guest satisfaction scores. Comparable restaurant revenue trends have also shown continual improvement week by week, including 39.7% for the week ending June 7. Importantly, we have recently begun opening dining rooms with limited capacities of up to 50% in our largest and highest volume market on the West Coast.”

Red Robin said it recently reopened approximately 270 dining rooms with health and safety protocols in place, along with a new hospitality model called TGX.

Since the restaurant chain continues to make many business changes to its model it withdrew its 2020 and long-term outlook on April 1, 2020.