SAN DIEGO – Jack in the Box Inc.’s net earnings for the third quarter ended July 4, 2010, was $24.2 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, compared with earnings from continuing operations of $32.9 million, or 57 cents per diluted share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Same-store sales decreased 9.4% in the third quarter of 2010 compared with a year-ago decrease of 1.0%.

“Jack in the Box sales continue to be impacted by high unemployment in our major markets for our key customer demographics,” said Linda Lang, chairman, chief executive officer and president. “Although our sales outlook remains cautious and largely reliant upon improvement in the economy, we are focused on enhancing the guest experience. We are intensifying our efforts around service consistency and are investing in making noticeable quality improvements to some of our signature products.”

System same-store sales at Qdoba Mexican Grill increased 4.6% in the third quarter versus a year-ago decrease of 2.8%. “Qdoba’s same-store sales growth exceeded our expectations, driven by our Craft 2 menu and higher catering sales as well as increased spending by consumers in the fast-casual segment,” Lang said.

Food and packaging costs were 40 basis points higher than prior year. Overall commodity costs were approximately 2% higher in the quarter, driven primarily by higher beef and pork costs, which were partially offset by lower costs for poultry, shortening and bakery products.

In April, Jack in the Box expanded its breakfast menu with a Grilled Breakfast Sandwich. Featuring premium grilled artisan bread, the new sandwich includes two fried eggs and two slices each of American cheese, ham and bacon. The Grilled Breakfast Sandwich is the newest addition to the Grilled Sandwich platform introduced in February, which includes the Deli Trio and the Turkey, Bacon & Cheddar sandwiches.

The company launched another limited-time value promotion at the end of June featuring th new Jack’s Really Big Chicken Sandwich, which includes two breaded chicken patties, lettuce, tomato, bacon, cheese and mayo-onion sauce served on a jumbo bakery bun. For $3.99, guests may order a combo meal featuring the new sandwich, small fountain drink and small order of seasoned curly fries.

To build upon the continued strength of its breakfast daypart, which accounted for nearly 20% of sales in the third quarter, Jack in the Box recently expanded its breakfast menu with a Breakfast Pita Pocket. The new Breakfast Pita Pocket, which features scrambled eggs, strips of bacon and ham, and American cheese stuffed in a pita made with whole grains, is served with a side of fire-roasted salsa and available in most markets for $2.69. Jack in the Box plans to further expand its premium Grilled Sandwich platform later this month.

On July 4, the company’s system total comprised 2,234 Jack in the Box restaurants, including 1,140 franchised locations, and 515 Qdoba restaurants, including 334 franchised locations.