El Pollo Loco, Inc.
El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (Form: 10-Q, Received: 11/13/2015 06:14:55)

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 10-Q

 

(Mark one)

x

QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the quarterly period ended September 30, 2015

or

o

TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from                      to                     

Commission File Number: 001-36556

 

EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC.

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

Delaware

 

20-3563182

(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

 

3535 Harbor Blvd., Suite 100, Costa Mesa, California

 

92626

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

(Zip Code)

 

(714) 599-5000

(Registrant’s telephone number, including area code)

N/A

(Former name, former address and former fiscal year, if changed since last report)

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.     x   Yes     o   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).      x   Yes     o   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer

o

Accelerated filer

o

 

 

 

 

Non-accelerated filer

x   (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

Smaller reporting company

o

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).     o   Yes     x   No

As of November 11, 2015, there were 38,284,435 shares of the issuer’s common stock outstanding.

 

 

 

 


 

Table of Contents

 

Page

PART I—FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

3

Item 1. Financial Statements.

 

3

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets (Unaudited)

 

3

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations (Unaudited)

 

4

Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows (Unaudited)

 

5

Notes to Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements (Unaudited)

 

7

Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

 

16

Item 3. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk.

 

28

Item 4. Controls and Procedures.

 

29

PART II—OTHER INFORMATION

 

30

Item 1. Legal Proceedings.

 

30

Item 1A. Risk Factors.

 

30

Item 2. Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds.

 

32

Item 3. Defaults Upon Senior Securities.

 

32

Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures.

 

33

Item 5. Other Information.

 

33

Item 6. Exhibits.

 

33

Signatures

 

34

 

 

 

 

2


PART I—FINANCI AL INFORMATION

Item 1. Financial Statements.

EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (UNAUDITED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

 

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

December 31,

2014

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current assets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

$

8,207

 

 

$

11,499

 

Restricted cash

 

 

125

 

 

 

125

 

Accounts and other receivables, net

 

 

6,051

 

 

 

5,759

 

Inventories

 

 

1,752

 

 

 

1,900

 

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

 

 

3,830

 

 

 

5,108

 

Income tax receivable

 

 

132

 

 

 

102

 

Deferred tax assets

 

 

18,975

 

 

 

19,490

 

Total current assets

 

 

39,072

 

 

 

43,983

 

Property and equipment owned, net

 

 

93,011

 

 

 

82,090

 

Property held under capital leases, net

 

 

99

 

 

 

128

 

Notes receivables, net of current portion

 

 

202

 

 

 

255

 

Goodwill

 

 

248,674

 

 

 

248,674

 

Domestic trademarks

 

 

61,888

 

 

 

61,888

 

Other intangible assets, net

 

 

673

 

 

 

778

 

Deferred tax assets

 

 

5,500

 

 

 

15,566

 

Other assets

 

 

1,666

 

 

 

1,944

 

Total assets

 

$

450,785

 

 

$

455,306

 

Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current portion of obligations under capital leases

 

$

185

 

 

$

208

 

Accounts payable

 

 

10,595

 

 

 

5,528

 

Accrued salaries and vacation

 

 

7,891

 

 

 

7,970

 

Accrued insurance

 

 

4,851

 

 

 

3,818

 

Accrued interest

 

 

190

 

 

 

208

 

Accrued advertising

 

 

-

 

 

 

832

 

Other accrued expenses and current liabilities

 

 

16,166

 

 

 

13,013

 

Total current liabilities

 

 

39,878

 

 

 

31,577

 

Noncurrent liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revolver loan

 

 

125,000

 

 

 

165,000

 

Obligations under capital leases, net of current portion

 

 

506

 

 

 

638

 

Other intangible liabilities, net

 

 

1,311

 

 

 

1,544

 

Other noncurrent liabilities

 

 

44,474

 

 

 

46,147

 

Total liabilities

 

 

211,169

 

 

 

244,906

 

Commitments, contingencies and subsequent events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholders' Equity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preferred stock, $0.01 par value, 100,000,000 shares authorized; none issued or

   outstanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

-

 

Common stock, $0.01 par value—200,000,000 shares authorized; 38,284,435

   and 37,420,450 shares issued and outstanding

 

 

383

 

 

 

374

 

Additional paid-in-capital

 

 

369,984

 

 

 

359,465

 

Accumulated deficit

 

 

(130,751

)

 

 

(149,439

)

Total stockholders' equity

 

 

239,616

 

 

 

210,400

 

Total liabilities and stockholder’s equity

 

$

450,785

 

 

$

455,306

 

 

See notes to condensed consolidated financial statements (unaudited).

 

 

 

3


EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS (UNAUDITED)

(Amounts in thousands, except share data)

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

Revenue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Company-operated restaurant revenue

$

82,986

 

 

$

80,861

 

 

$

251,295

 

 

$

238,432

 

Franchise revenue

 

5,884

 

 

 

5,696

 

 

 

17,456

 

 

 

16,456

 

Total revenue

 

88,870

 

 

 

86,557

 

 

 

268,751

 

 

 

254,888

 

Cost of operations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and paper cost

 

26,371

 

 

 

25,881

 

 

 

80,549

 

 

 

75,834

 

Labor and related expenses

 

20,822

 

 

 

20,137

 

 

 

63,493

 

 

 

59,552

 

Occupancy and other operating expenses

 

18,207

 

 

 

18,102

 

 

 

52,732

 

 

 

51,091

 

Company restaurant expenses

 

65,400

 

 

 

64,120

 

 

 

196,774

 

 

 

186,477

 

General and administrative expenses

 

6,316

 

 

 

7,509

 

 

 

20,206

 

 

 

20,974

 

Franchise expenses

 

925

 

 

 

901

 

 

 

2,620

 

 

 

2,827

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

3,278

 

 

 

2,924

 

 

 

9,624

 

 

 

8,271

 

Loss on disposal of assets

 

261

 

 

 

118

 

 

 

427

 

 

 

609

 

Asset impairment and closed-store reserves

 

163

 

 

 

22

 

 

 

24

 

 

 

415

 

Total expenses

 

76,343

 

 

 

75,594

 

 

 

229,675

 

 

 

219,573

 

Gain on sale of restaurants

 

-

 

 

 

2,658

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

2,658

 

Income from operations

 

12,527

 

 

 

13,621

 

 

 

39,076

 

 

 

37,973

 

Interest expense, net

 

810

 

 

 

3,960

 

 

 

3,035

 

 

 

15,286

 

Early extinguishment of debt

 

-

 

 

 

5,082

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

5,082

 

Expenses related to selling shareholders

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

50

 

 

 

-

 

Income tax receivable agreement expense

 

546

 

 

 

40,119

 

 

 

1,022

 

 

 

40,119

 

Income (loss) before provision (benefit) for income taxes

 

11,171

 

 

 

(35,540

)

 

 

34,969

 

 

 

(22,514

)

Provision (benefit) for income taxes

 

6,505

 

 

 

(61,389

)

 

 

16,281

 

 

 

(60,402

)

Net income

$

4,666

 

 

$

25,849

 

 

$

18,688

 

 

$

37,888

 

Net income per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

$

0.12

 

 

$

0.76

 

 

$

0.49

 

 

$

1.24

 

Diluted

$

0.12

 

 

$

0.70

 

 

$

0.48

 

 

$

1.17

 

Weighted-average shares used in computing net income per share

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

38,275,317

 

 

 

34,221,829

 

 

 

37,837,610

 

 

 

30,549,979

 

Diluted

 

39,107,241

 

 

 

36,821,095

 

 

 

39,044,388

 

 

 

32,450,231

 

 

See notes to condensed consolidated financial statements (unaudited).

 

 

 

 

4


EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (UNAUDITED)

(Amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

Cash flows from operating activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

18,688

 

 

$

37,888

 

Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash flows provided by operating

   activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

9,624

 

 

 

8,271

 

Stock-based compensation expense

 

 

608

 

 

 

635

 

Interest accretion

 

 

-

 

 

 

250

 

Income tax receivable agreement expense

 

 

1,022

 

 

 

40,119

 

Gain on sale of restaurants

 

 

-

 

 

 

(2,658

)

Loss on disposal of assets

 

 

427

 

 

 

568

 

Early extinguishment of debt

 

 

-

 

 

 

5,082

 

Impairment of property and equipment

 

 

136

 

 

 

62

 

Closed-store reserve

 

 

(112

)

 

 

353

 

Amortization of deferred financing costs

 

 

229

 

 

 

1,173

 

Amortization of favorable and unfavorable leases, net

 

 

(128

)

 

 

(168

)

Excess income tax benefit related to share-based compensation plans

 

 

(5,700

)

 

 

-

 

Deferred income taxes, net

 

 

10,581

 

 

 

(60,536

)

Changes in operating assets and liabilities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accounts and other receivables, net

 

 

(292

)

 

 

186

 

Inventories

 

 

148

 

 

 

29

 

Prepaid expenses and other current assets

 

 

1,278

 

 

 

(1,215

)

Income taxes receivable/payable

 

 

5,670

 

 

 

(27

)

Other assets

 

 

102

 

 

 

491

 

Accounts payable

 

 

500

 

 

 

(457

)

Accrued salaries and vacation

 

 

(113

)

 

 

(1,202

)

Accrued insurance

 

 

1,032

 

 

 

349

 

Other accrued expenses and liabilities

 

 

(279

)

 

 

649

 

Net cash flows provided by operating activities

 

 

43,421

 

 

 

29,842

 

Cash flows from investing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from sale of restaurants

 

 

-

 

 

 

5,435

 

Purchase of property and equipment

 

 

(16,512

)

 

 

(19,414

)

Net cash flows used in investing activities

 

 

(16,512

)

 

 

(13,979

)

Cash flows from financing activities:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Payments on senior secured loan

 

 

-

 

 

 

(101,425

)

Proceeds from issuance of common stock, net of expenses

 

 

-

 

 

 

112,300

 

Payments of call premium on notes

 

 

-

 

 

 

(1,512

)

Proceeds from exercise of stock options

 

 

4,254

 

 

 

-

 

Payments on revolver loan

 

 

(40,000

)

 

 

-

 

Payments on obligations under capital leases

 

 

(155

)

 

 

(201

)

Amendment fee

 

 

-

 

 

 

(215

)

Excess income tax benefit related to share-based compensation plans

 

 

5,700

 

 

 

-

 

Net cash flows (used in) provided by financing activities

 

 

(30,201

)

 

 

8,947

 

(Decrease) Increase in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

(3,292

)

 

 

24,810

 

Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period

 

 

11,499

 

 

 

17,015

 

Cash and cash equivalents, end of period

 

$

8,207

 

 

$

41,825

 

 

See notes to the condensed consolidated financial statements (unaudited).

 

 

5


EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC.

CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (UNAUDITED)

(Amounts in thousands)

 

 

 

Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended

 

Supplemental cash flow information

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

Cash paid during the period for interest

 

$

2,781

 

 

$

15,705

 

Cash paid during the period for income taxes, net

 

$

30

 

 

$

161

 

Unpaid purchases of property and equipment

 

$

4,567

 

 

$

2,857

 

Cashless stock option exercise

 

$

(34

)

 

$

(37

)

 

See notes to the condensed consolidated financial statements (unaudited).

 

 

 

 

6


EL POLLO LOCO HOLDINGS, INC.

NOTES TO CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS (UNAUDITED)

 

1. BASIS OF PRESENTATION AND SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES

Overview

El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (“Holdings”) is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Costa Mesa, California. Holdings and its direct and indirect subsidiaries are collectively known as “we,” “us” or the “Company.” Our activities are conducted principally through our indirect wholly-owned subsidiary, El Pollo Loco, Inc. (“EPL”), which develops, franchises, licenses, and operates quick-service restaurants under the name El Pollo Loco® and operates under one operating segment. At September 30, 2015, we operated 175 and franchised 245 El Pollo Loco restaurants.

Basis of Presentation

The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements of the Company have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) for interim financial statements and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the opinion of management, the accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements reflect all adjustments consisting of normal recurring adjustments necessary for a fair presentation of its financial position and results of operations and cash flows for the periods presented. Interim results of operations are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be achieved for the full year. The financial statements and related notes do not include all information and footnotes required by GAAP for annual reports. This quarterly report should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements included in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014.

The Company uses a 52- or 53-week fiscal year ending on the last Wednesday of the calendar year. In a 52-week fiscal year, each quarter includes 13 weeks of operations; in a 53-week fiscal year, the first, second and third quarters each include 13 weeks of operations and the fourth quarter includes 14 weeks of operations. Every six or seven years a 53-week fiscal year occurs. Fiscal 2014, which was a 53-week year, ended on December 31, 2014. Fiscal 2015, which is a 52-week year, will end on December 30, 2015. Because fiscal 2014 was a 53-week year, both revenues and expenses, and other financial and operational figures, may be on an elevated scale compared with 52-week periods both before and after.

On April 22, 2014, Chicken Acquisition Corp. (“CAC”), which was a predecessor of Holdings, as well as its wholly owned subsidiary, Chicken Subsidiary Corp (“CSC”) and CSC’s wholly owned subsidiary, the former El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (“Old Holdings”) entered into the following reorganization transactions: (i) Old Holdings merged with and into CSC with CSC continuing as the surviving corporation; (ii) CSC merged with and into CAC with CAC continuing as the surviving corporation and (iii) CAC renamed itself El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc.

Holdings has no material assets or operations. Holdings and Holdings’ direct subsidiary, EPL Intermediate, Inc. (“Intermediate”), guarantee EPL’s 2014 Revolver (see Note 4) on a full and unconditional basis and Intermediate has no subsidiaries other than EPL. EPL is a separate and distinct legal entity, and has no obligation to make funds available to Intermediate EPL and Intermediate may pay dividends to Intermediate and to Holdings, respectively.

Under the 2014 Revolver, Holdings may not make certain payments such as cash dividends, except that it may, inter alia, (i) pay up to $1 million per year to repurchase or redeem qualified equity interests of Holdings held by past or present officers, directors, or employees (or their estates) of the Company upon death, disability, or termination of employment, (ii) pay under its income tax receivable agreement (the “TRA”), and, (iii) so long as no default or event of default has occurred and is continuing, (a) make non-cash repurchases of equity interests in connection with the exercise of stock options by directors and officers, provided that those equity interests represent a portion of the consideration of the exercise price of those stock options, (b) pay up to $2.5 million per year pursuant to stock option plans, employment agreements, or incentive plans, (c) make up to $5 million in other restricted payments per year, and (d) make other restricted payments, provided that such payments would not cause, in each case, on a pro forma basis, (x) its lease-adjusted consolidated leverage ratio to equal or exceed 4.25 times and (y) its consolidated fixed charge coverage ratio to be less than 1.75 times.

On July 14, 2014, we amended our certificate of incorporation to increase our authorized share count to 200,000,000 shares of common stock, par value $0.01 per share, and split our stock 8.56381:1. On July 24, 2014, we amended and restated our certificate of incorporation to, among other things, increase our authorized share count to 300,000,000 shares of stock, including 200,000,000 shares of common stock and 100,000,000 shares of preferred stock, each par value $0.01 per share. On July 30, 2014, we completed our initial public offering of 8,214,286 shares of common stock at a price to the public of $15.00 per share (the “IPO”), including 1,071,429 shares sold to the underwriters pursuant to their option to purchase additional shares. After underwriting discounts, commissions, and fees and expenses of IPO offering and distribution, as set forth in our registration statement for the IPO on Form

 

7


S 1, we received net IPO proceeds of approximately $112.3 million. We used these proceeds primarily to repay in whole a $100 million second lien term loan (the “Second Lien Term Loan”). All s hare and per-share data herein have been adjusted to reflect the 8.56381 for 1 common stock split effected on July 14, 2014 as though it had occurred prior to the earliest data presented.

Principles of Consolidation

The accompanying condensed consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Holdings and its wholly owned subsidiaries. All intercompany balances and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of condensed consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the condensed consolidated financial statements and revenue and expenses during the period reported. Actual results could materially differ from those estimates. The Company’s significant estimates include estimates for impairment of goodwill, intangible assets and property and equipment, insurance reserves, lease termination liabilities, closed store reserves, stock-based compensation, income tax receivable agreement liability, and income tax valuation allowances.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

The Company considers all highly-liquid instruments with a maturity of three months or less at the date of purchase to be cash equivalents.

Restricted Cash

The Company’s restricted cash represents cash collateral to one commercial bank for Company credit cards.

Reclassifications

Certain comparative prior year amounts in the condensed consolidated financial statements and accompanying notes have been reclassified to conform to the current year presentation. These reclassifications have no effect on previously-reported working capital, net income, earnings per share, stockholders’ equity, or cash flows.

Liquidity

The Company’s principal liquidity requirements are to service our debt and to meet capital expenditure needs. At September 30, 2015, the Company’s total debt (including capital lease liabilities) was $125.7 million. The Company’s ability to make payments on its indebtedness and to fund planned capital expenditures depends on available cash and on its ability to generate adequate cash flows in the future, which, to a certain extent, is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory, and other factors that are beyond the Company’s control. Based on current operations, the Company believes that its cash flow from operations, available cash of $8.2 million at September 30, 2015, and available borrowings under the 2014 Revolver (which availability was approximately $68 million at September 30, 2015) will be adequate to meet the Company’s liquidity needs for the next 12 months.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In July 2015, the Financial Accounting Standard Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2015-11, "Simplifying the Measurement of Inventory."-ASU No. 2015-11 requires inventory that is recorded using the first-in, first-out method to be measured at the lower of cost or net realizable value. ASU No. 2015-11 will be effective retrospectively for the Company for the quarter ending December 31, 2017, with early adoption permitted. The adoption of this guidance is not expected to have a significant impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.

In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-03, Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs.  To simplify presentation of debt issuance costs, the standard requires that debt issuance costs be presented in the balance sheet as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of debt liability, consistent with debt discounts or premiums. The recognition and measurement guidance for debt issuance costs would not be affected by the amendments in this Update.  ASU 2015-03 applies to all entities and is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2015, with early adoption permitted.  The standard is to be applied retrospectively.  The Company does not expect that the adoption of this standard will have a material effect on its consolidated financial statements.

 

8


In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, "Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606)." ASU No. 2014-09 clarifies the principles for recognizing revenue when an entity either enters into a contract with customers to transfer goods or services or enters into a contract for the transfer of non-financial assets. The original standard was effective retrospectively for the Company for the quarter ending December 31, 2017; however in July 2015, the FASB approved a one-year deferral of the standard. The new standard will become effective retrospectively for the Company for the quarter ending December 31, 2018, with early adoption permitted, but not before the original effective date. The Company does not expect that the adoption of this standard will have a material effect on its consolidated financial statements.

Subsequent Events

Subsequent to September 30, 2015, the Company has completed four new store openings. Also subsequent to quarter end, the Company increased the letters of credit balance to $7.2M for changes in agreements with certain vendors.

 

The Company evaluated subsequent events that have occurred after September 30, 2015, and determined that there were no other events or transactions occurring during this reporting period that require recognition or disclosure in the condensed consolidated financial statements.

Concentration of Risk

Cash and cash equivalents are maintained at financial institutions and, at times, balances may exceed federally-insured limits. The Company has never experienced any losses related to these balances.

The Company had two suppliers for which amounts due at September 30, 2015 totaled 19% and 9% of the Company’s accounts payable. As of December 31, 2014, the Company had two different suppliers for which amounts totaled 6% and 5% of the Company’s accounts payable. For the thirteen weeks ended September 30, 2015 and September 24, 2014, purchases from the Company’s two largest suppliers totaled 37% and 2% and 36% and 3% of the Company’s purchases. For the thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015 and September 24, 2014, purchases from the Company’s two largest suppliers totaled 37% and 3% and 36% and 3%, respectively, of the Company’s purchases.  Company-operated and franchised restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area generated, in the aggregate, approximately 78% and 80% of total revenue for both the thirteen weeks ended September 30, 2015 and September 24, 2014.

Goodwill and Indefinite Lived Intangible Assets

The Company’s indefinite lived intangible assets consist of trademarks. Goodwill represents the excess of cost over fair value of net identified assets acquired in business combinations accounted for under the purchase method. The Company does not amortize its goodwill and indefinite lived intangible assets. Goodwill resulted from historical acquisitions.

Upon the sale of a restaurant, we decrement goodwill. The amount of goodwill included in the cost basis of the asset sold is determined based on the relative fair value of the portion of the reporting unit disposed compared to the fair value of the reporting unit retained.

The Company performs annual impairment tests for goodwill during the fourth fiscal quarter of each year, or more frequently if impairment indicators arise.

The Company reviews goodwill for impairment utilizing either a qualitative assessment or a two-step process. If the Company decides that it is appropriate to perform a qualitative assessment and concludes that the fair value of a reporting unit more likely than not exceeds its carrying value, no further evaluation is necessary. If the Company performs the two-step process, the first step of the goodwill impairment test is used to identify potential impairment by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the fair value of a reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill of the reporting unit is considered not impaired and the second step of the impairment test is unnecessary. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the second step is performed to measure the amount of impairment by comparing the carrying amount of the goodwill to a determination of the implied value of the goodwill. If the carrying amount of goodwill is greater than the implied value, an impairment charge is recognized for the difference.

The Company performs annual impairment tests for indefinite lived intangible assets during the fourth fiscal quarter of each year, or more frequently if impairment indicators arise. An impairment test consists of either a qualitative assessment or a comparison of the fair value of an intangible asset with its carrying amount. The excess of the carrying amount of an intangible asset over its fair value is its impairment loss.

 

9


The assumptions used in the estimate of fair value are generally consistent with the past performance of the Company’s reporting segment and are also consistent with the project ions and assumptions that are used in current operating plans. These assumptions are subject to change as a result of changing economic and competitive conditions.

The Company did not identify any indicators of potential impairment during the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, and therefore did not perform any impairment review, nor did the Company record any impairment.

Income Taxes

The provision for income taxes, income taxes payable and deferred income taxes is determined using the asset and liability method. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on temporary differences between the financial carrying amounts and the tax bases of assets and liabilities using enacted tax rates in effect in the years in which the temporary differences are expected to reverse. On a periodic basis, the Company assesses the probability that its net deferred tax assets, if any, will be recovered. If, after evaluating all of the positive and negative evidence, a conclusion is made that it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the net deferred tax assets will not be recovered, a valuation allowance is provided by charging to tax expense to reserve the portion of deferred tax assets which are not expect to be realized.

The Company reviews its filing positions for all open tax years in all U.S. federal and state jurisdictions where the Company is required to file.

When there are uncertainties related to potential income tax benefits, in order to qualify for recognition, the position the Company takes has to have at least a “more likely than not” chance of being sustained (based on the position’s technical merits) upon challenge by the respective authorities. The term “more likely than not” means a likelihood of more than 50 percent. Otherwise, the Company may not recognize any of the potential tax benefit associated with the position. The Company recognizes a benefit for a tax position that meets the “more likely than not” criterion at the largest amount of tax benefit that is greater than 50 percent likely of being realized upon its effective resolution. Unrecognized tax benefits involve management’s judgment regarding the likelihood of the benefit being sustained. The final resolution of uncertain tax positions could result in adjustments to recorded amounts and may affect our results of operations, financial position, and cash flows.

The Company’s policy is to recognize interest and penalties related to income tax matters in income tax expense. The Company had no accrual for interest or penalties at September 30, 2015, or at December 31, 2014, and did not recognize interest or penalties during the thirteen or thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, or September 24, 2014, since there were no material unrecognized tax benefits. Management believes no material changes to the amount of unrecognized tax benefits will occur within the next twelve months.

On July 30, 2014, the Company entered into the TRA. The TRA calls for the Company to pay to its pre-IPO stockholders 85% of the savings in cash that the Company realizes in its taxes as a result of utilizing its net operating losses and other tax attributes attributable to preceding periods.

 

 

2. PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT

The costs and related accumulated depreciation and amortization of major classes of property are as follows (in thousands):

 

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

December 31,

2014

 

Land

 

$

12,323

 

 

$

12,323

 

Buildings and improvements

 

 

99,150

 

 

 

92,834

 

Other property and equipment

 

 

53,342

 

 

 

49,890

 

Construction in progress

 

 

10,080

 

 

 

2,353

 

 

 

 

174,895

 

 

 

157,400

 

Less: accumulated depreciation and amortization

 

 

(81,884

)

 

 

(75,310

)

 

 

$

93,011

 

 

$

82,090

 

 

 

10


Depreciation expense was $3.3 million and $2.9 million and $9.6 million and $8.3 million for the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, and September 24, 2014, respectively. The gross value of assets under capital leases for buildings and improvements was $1,559,200 and $1,800,800 at September 30, 2015 and December 3 1, 2014, respectively. Accumulated depreciation for assets under capital leases was $1,461,000 and $1,673,000 as of September 30, 2015 and December 31, 2014, respectively. For the thirteen weeks ended September 30, 2015, capital expenditures totaled $10.8 million, including $1.7 million for restaurant remodeling and $6.9 million for new restaurant expenditures. For the thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, capital expenditures totaled $21.1 million, including $5.9 million for restaurant remodeling and $10.6 million for new restaurant expenditures.

 

 

3. STOCK-BASED COMPENSATION

At September 30, 2015, options to purchase 2,175,454 shares of common stock were outstanding, including 1,628,609 vested and 546,845 unvested. Unvested options vest over time, or upon our achieving annual financial goals. However, upon a change in control, the board may accelerate vesting. At September 30, 2015, 1,739,367 premium options remained outstanding. For the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, there were exercises of stock options for 18,340 and 863,247 shares, respectively. For the thirty-nine weeks ended September 24, 2014, there was one exercise of stock options for 739 shares.

At September 30, 2015, there were 12,352 restricted shares outstanding. Restricted shares vest over time.

At September 30, 2015, we had total unrecognized compensation expense of $1.1 million, related to unvested stock options and restricted shares, which we expect to recognize over a weighted-average period of 2.2 years.

Total stock-based compensation expense was $165,000 and $608,000 for the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, respectively, and was $297,000 and $635,000 for the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 24, 2014, respectively.

 

 

4. CREDIT AGREEMENTS

On December 11, 2014, the Company refinanced its debt, with EPL, Intermediate, and Holdings entering into a credit agreement with Bank of America, N.A., as administrative agent, swingline lender, and letter of credit issuer, the lenders party thereto, and the other parties thereto, which provides for a $200 million five-year senior secured revolving facility (the “2014 Revolver”). The 2014 Revolver includes a sub limit of $15 million for letters of credit and a sub limit of $15 million for swingline loans. At September 30, 2015, $7.0 million of letters of credit were outstanding and $68.0 million was available to borrow under the revolving line of credit. The 2014 Revolver will mature on or about December 11, 2019.

Borrowings under the 2014 Revolver (other than any swingline loans) bear interest, at the borrower’s option, at rates based upon either LIBOR or a base rate, plus, for each rate, a margin determined in accordance with a lease-adjusted consolidated leverage ratio-based pricing grid. The base rate is calculated as the highest of (a) the federal funds rate plus 0.50%, (b) the prime rate of Bank of America, or (c) LIBOR plus 1.00%. For LIBOR loans, the margin is in the range of 1.75% to 2.50%, and for base rate loans the margin is in the range of 0.75% to 1.50%. The margin was initially set at 2.00% for LIBOR loans and at 1.00% for base rate loans until the delivery of financial statements and a compliance certificate for the first quarter of 2015. The interest rate range was 1.94% to 1.95% and 1.93% to 2.63% for the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, respectively.

The 2014 Revolver includes a number of negative and financial covenants, including, among others, the following (all subject to certain exceptions): a maximum lease-adjusted consolidated leverage ratio covenant, a minimum consolidated fixed charge coverage ratio, and limitations on indebtedness, liens, investments, asset sales, mergers, consolidations, liquidations, dissolutions, restricted payments, and negative pledges. The 2014 Revolver also includes certain customary affirmative covenants and events of default. The Company was in compliance with all such covenants at September 30, 2015. See Note 1 for restrictions on the payment of dividends under the 2014 Revolver.

Early Extinguishment of Debt

The proceeds from our IPO in July 2014 were primarily used to repay the 2013 Second Lien Term Loan. In conjunction with this repayment, we incurred an extinguishment of debt charge of $5.1 million, consisting of $1.5 million in call premium, $2.7 million related to the write-off of remaining unamortized deferred finance costs, and $0.9 million relating to the write-off of unamortized discount.

 

11


Transaction Costs

Transaction costs of $1.5 million were incurred in connection with the December 11, 2014 refinancing and were capitalized and are included in other assets in the accompanying condensed consolidated balance sheets and the related amortization is reflected as a component of interest expense, net, in the accompanying condensed consolidated statements of operations.

Maturities

There are no required principal payments prior to maturity for the 2014 Revolver. During the thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, the Company elected to pay down $40.0 million of outstanding borrowing on our 2014 Revolver, primarily from our cash flow from operations and available cash.

 

 

5. OTHER ACCRUED EXPENSES AND CURRENT LIABILITIES

Other accrued expenses and current liabilities consist of the following (in thousands):

 

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

December 31,

2014

 

Accrued sales and property taxes

 

$

4,123

 

 

$

3,918

 

Income tax receivable agreement payable

 

 

7,609

 

 

 

4,170

 

Gift card liability

 

 

1,386

 

 

 

1,535

 

Other

 

 

3,048

 

 

 

3,390

 

Total other accrued expenses and current liabilities

 

$

16,166

 

 

$

13,013

 

 

 

6. OTHER NONCURRENT LIABILITIES

Other noncurrent liabilities consist of the following (in thousands):

 

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

December 31,

2014

 

Deferred rent

 

$

6,865

 

 

$

6,204

 

Income tax receivable agreement payable

 

 

34,796

 

 

 

37,213

 

Other

 

 

2,813

 

 

 

2,730

 

Total other noncurrent liabilities

 

$

44,474

 

 

$

46,147

 

 

 

7. COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES

Legal Matters

On or about February 24, 2014, a former employee filed a class action in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Orange, against EPL on behalf of all putative class members (all hourly employees from 2010 to the present) alleging certain violations of California labor laws, including failure to pay overtime compensation, failure to provide meal periods and rest breaks, and failure to provide itemized wage statements. The putative lead plaintiff’s requested remedies include compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive relief, disgorgement of profits, and reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. No specific amount of damages sought was specified in the complaint. While the Company is vigorously defending against this action, including its class certification, the ultimate outcome of the case is presently not determinable as it is in a preliminary phase. Thus, the Company cannot at this time determine the likelihood of an adverse judgment nor a likely range of damages in the event of an adverse judgment. Any settlement of, or judgment with a negative outcome arising from, this lawsuit could have a material adverse effect.

 

 

12


Daniel Turocy, et al. v. El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc., et al. (Cas e No. 8:15-cv-01343) was filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California on August 24, 2015, and Ron Huston, et al. v. El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc., et al. (Case No. 8:15-cv-01710) was filed in the United States District Co urt for the Central District of California on October 22, 2015. Plaintiff Daniel Turocy, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and Plaintiff Ron Huston, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, each filed separate putative class ac tion complaints, alleging violations of federal securities laws in connection with Holdings common stock purchased or otherwise acquired and, in the Ron Huston case, the purchase of call options or the sale of put options, between May 1, 2015 and August 13 , 2015 (the “Class Period”). In both cases, the named defendants are Holdings; Stephen J. Sather, Laurance Roberts, and Edward J. Valle (collectively, the “Individual Defendants”); and Trimaran Pollo Partners, L.L.C., Trimaran Capital Partners, and Freeman Spogli & Co. (collectively, the “Controlling Shareholder Defendants”). Among other things, Plaintiffs allege that, in 2014 and early 2015, Holdings suffered losses due to rising labor costs in California and, in an attempt to mitigate the effects of such rising costs, removed a $5 value option from our menu, which resulted in a decrease in value-conscious store traffic. Plaintiffs further allege that during the Class Period, Holdings and the Individual Defendants made a series of materially false and misle ading statements that concealed the effect that these factors were having on store sales growth, resulting in Holdings’ stock continuing to be traded at artificially inflated prices. As a result, Plaintiffs and other members of the putative class allegedly suffered damages in connection with their purchase of Holdings’ stock during the Class Period. In addition, Plaintiffs allege that the Individual Defendants and Controlling Shareholder Defendants had direct involvement in, and responsibility over, the ope rations of Holdings, and are presumed to have had, among other things, the power to control or influence the transactions giving rise to the alleged securities law violations. In both cases, Plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount of damages, as well as cost s and expenses (including attorneys’ fees). Defendants intend to vigorously defend against the claims asserted. In addition, on September 16, 2015, the Company and certain of its officers and directors received an informal, non-public inquiry from the SEC requesting voluntary production of documents and information. All parties are cooperating fully with the SEC's request.

 

On or about November 5, 2015, a purported EPL shareholder filed a derivative complaint on behalf of the Company in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware against certain EPL officers, directors and Trimaran Pollo Partners, L.L.C. The derivative complaint alleges that these defendants breached their fiduciary duties to EPL and were unjustly enriched when they sold shares of EPL at artificially inflated prices due to alleged misrepresentations and omissions regarding EPL’s comparable store sales in the second quarter of 2015. The EPL shareholder’s requested remedies include an award of compensatory damages to EPL, as well as a court order to improve corporate governance by putting forward for stockholder vote certain resolutions for amendments to EPL’s Bylaws or Certificate of Incorporation.

 

The Company is also involved in various other claims and legal actions that arise in the ordinary course of business. The Company does not believe that the ultimate resolution of these other actions will have a material adverse effect on the Company’s financial position, results of operations, liquidity, or capital resources. A significant increase in the number of claims, or an increase in amounts owing under successful claims, could materially and adversely affect the Company’s business, financial condition, results of operations, and cash flows.

Purchasing Commitments

The Company has long-term beverage supply agreements with certain major beverage vendors. Pursuant to the terms of these arrangements, marketing rebates are provided to the Company and its franchisees from the beverage vendors based upon the dollar volume of purchases for system-wide restaurants which will vary according to their demand for beverage syrup and fluctuations in the market rates for beverage syrup. These contracts have terms extending into 2017 with an estimated Company obligation totaling $15.2 million as of September 30, 2015.

At September 30, 2015, the Company’s total estimated commitment to purchase chicken was $12.6 million.

Contingent Lease Obligations

As a result of assigning the Company’s interest in obligations under real estate leases in connection with the sale of Company-operated restaurants to some of the Company’s franchisees, the Company is contingently liable on four lease agreements. These leases have various terms, the latest of which expires in 2022. As of September 30, 2015, the potential amount of undiscounted payments the Company could be required to make in the event of non-payment by the primary lessee was $1,431,000. The present value of these potential payments discounted at the Company’s estimated pre-tax cost of debt at September 30, 2015 was $1,308,000. The Company’s franchisees are primarily liable on the leases. The Company has cross-default provisions with these franchisees that would put them in default of their franchise agreements in the event of non-payment under the leases. The Company believes that these cross-default provisions reduce the risk that payments will be required to be made under these leases. Accordingly, no liability has been recorded in the Company’s condensed consolidated financial statements related to these contingent liabilities.

 

13


Employment Agreements

The Company has employment agreements with four of the officers of the Company on an at will basis. These agreements provide for minimum salary levels, possible annual adjustments for cost-of-living changes, and incentive bonuses that are payable under certain business conditions.

Indemnification Agreements

The Company has entered into indemnification agreements with each of its current directors and executive officers. These agreements require the Company to indemnify these individuals to the fullest extent permitted under Delaware law against liabilities that may arise by reason of their service to the Company and to advance expenses incurred as a result of any proceeding against them as to which they could be indemnified. The Company also intends to enter into indemnification agreements with future directors and executive officers.

 

 

8. NET INCOME PER SHARE

Basic net income per share is calculated using the weighted-average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, and September 24, 2014. Diluted net income per share is calculated using the weighted-average number of shares of common stock outstanding and potentially dilutive during the period, using the treasury stock method.

Below are basic and diluted net income per share data for the periods indicated, which are in thousands except for per share data.  

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

Numerator:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net income

$

4,666

 

 

$

25,849

 

 

$

18,688

 

 

$

37,888

 

Denominator:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weighted-average shares outstanding—basic

 

38,275,317

 

 

 

34,221,829

 

 

 

37,837,610

 

 

 

30,549,979

 

Weighted-average shares outstanding—diluted

 

39,107,241

 

 

 

36,821,095

 

 

 

39,044,388

 

 

 

32,450,231

 

Net income per share—basic

$

0.12

 

 

$

0.76

 

 

$

0.49

 

 

$

1.24

 

Net income per share—diluted

$

0.12

 

 

$

0.70

 

 

$

0.48

 

 

$

1.17

 

Anti-dilutive securities not considered in diluted EPS calculation

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

 

-

 

 

Below is a reconciliation of basic and diluted share counts.

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

Weighted-average shares outstanding—basic

 

38,275,317

 

 

 

34,221,829

 

 

 

37,837,610

 

 

 

30,549,979

 

Dilutive effect of stock options and restricted shares

 

831,924

 

 

 

2,599,266

 

 

 

1,206,778

 

 

 

1,900,252

 

Weighted-average shares outstanding—diluted

 

39,107,241

 

 

 

36,821,095

 

 

 

39,044,388

 

 

 

32,450,231

 

 

 

9. RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

Trimaran Pollo Partners, L.L.C. (“LLC”), owns approximately 43.7% of the Company’s outstanding common stock. This large position means that LLC and its majority owners—predecessors and affiliates of, and certain funds managed by, Trimaran Capital Partners and Freeman Spogli & Co. (collectively, “Trimaran” and “Freeman Spogli,” respectively)—possess significant influence when stockholders vote on matters such as election of directors, mergers, consolidations and acquisitions, the sale of all or substantially all of the Company’s assets, decisions affecting the Company’s capital structure, amendments to the Company’s certificate of incorporation or by-laws, and the Company’s winding up and dissolution. So long as LLC maintains at least 40% ownership, (i) any member of the board of directors may be removed at any time without cause by affirmative vote of a majority of the Company’s common stock, and (ii) stockholders representing 40% or greater ownership may cause special stockholder meetings to be called.

 

14


On November 18, 2005, the Company entered into a Monitoring and Management Services Agreement (the “Agreement”) with Trimaran Fund Management, L.L.C. (“Fund Management”), an affiliate of Trimaran and of certain directors, which provided for annual fees of $500,000 and reasonable expenses. This Agreement was amended on December 26, 2007 to add an affiliate of Freeman Spogli, Freeman Spogli & Co. V, L.P., as a party sharing in the fees paya ble under the Agreement. During the thirteen and thirty-nine weeks ended September 24, 2014, $50,500 and $342,900, respectively, was paid pursuant to this Agreement. This amount was included in general and administrative expenses in the accompanying conden sed consolidated statements of operations. The Agreement terminated as of the Company’s IPO.

 

 

 

 

15


Item 2. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.

Cautionary Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This discussion and analysis should be read in conjunction with Item 1 above and with the financial statements contained in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014. This discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Outcomes may differ materially from our expectations. For more information, we direct you to the sections “Risk Factors” and “Forward-Looking Statements” in our annual report. We make no guarantees regarding outcomes, and assume no obligations to update the forward-looking statements herein, except pursuant to law.

Overview

El Pollo Loco is a differentiated and growing restaurant concept that specializes in fire-grilling citrus-marinated chicken in front of our customers, operating in the limited service restaurant (“LSR”) segment. We believe that we offer the quality of food and dining experience typical of fast casual restaurants while providing the speed, convenience, and value typical of traditional quick service restaurants (“QSRs”), a combination that we call “QSR+” and that provides a value-oriented fast casual dining experience. Our distinctive menu features our signature product—citrus-marinated fire-grilled chicken—and a variety of Mexican-inspired entrees that we create from our chicken. We offer our customers healthier alternatives to traditional food on the go, served by our engaging team members in a colorful, bright, and contemporary restaurant environment. We serve individual and family-sized chicken meals, a variety of Mexican-inspired entrees and sides, and, throughout the year, on a limited-time basis, alternative proteins like shrimp, carnitas, and beef. Our entrees include favorites such as our Poblano Avocado Burrito, Under 500 Calorie Mango Grilled Tostada, Ultimate Pollo Bowl and Baja Shrimp Tacos. Our freshly-prepared salsas and dressings are prepared daily, allowing our customers to create their favorite flavor profiles to enhance their culinary experience. Our distinctive menu with healthier alternatives appeals to consumers across a wide variety of socio-economic backgrounds and drives our balanced day-part mix.

Growth Strategies and Outlook

We plan to continue to expand our business, drive restaurant sales growth, and enhance our competitive positioning, by executing on the following strategies:

 

·

expand our restaurant base;

 

·

increase our comparable restaurant sales; and

 

·

enhance operations and leverage our infrastructure.

As of September 30, 2015, we had 420 locations in five states. In fiscal 2014, we opened eleven new company-operated and five new franchised restaurants across Arizona, California, Nevada, and Texas. For the quarter ended September 30, 2015, we opened one new company-operated restaurant in California and one franchised restaurant in Texas. Year to date, we have opened three new company-operated restaurants (two in Texas and one in California) and two franchised restaurants (one in California and one in Texas). For the remainder of 2015, we intend to open eleven to thirteen new company-operated and three new franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, and Texas. Over the long term, we plan to grow the number of El Pollo Loco restaurants by 8% to 10% annually. To increase comparable restaurant sales, we plan to increase customer frequency, attract new customers, and improve per-person spend. We believe that we are well-positioned for future growth, with a developed corporate infrastructure capable of supporting a future restaurant base that is greater than our existing one. Additionally, we believe that we have an opportunity to optimize costs and enhance our profitability as we benefit from economies of scale. These growth rates are not guaranteed.

Highlights and Trends

Comparable Restaurant Sales

System-wide, for the quarter and year-to-date periods ended September 30, 2015, comparable restaurant sales increased 0.6% and 2.3%, respectively. For company-operated restaurants, comparable restaurant sales remained flat with the same quarter prior year and increased 1.0% year to date, respectively. For company-operated restaurants, the quarter’s comparable restaurant sales consisted of a 1.9% decrease in traffic, offset by a 1.9% increase in average check size year over year. For franchised restaurants, comparable restaurant sales increased 1.1% and 3.3%, respectively.

 

16


Restaurant Development

Our restaurant counts at the beginning and end of each of the last three fiscal years and the thirty-nine weeks ended September 30, 2015, were as follows.  

 

 

 

Thirty-Nine

Weeks

Ended

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended

 

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

2014

 

 

2013

 

 

2012

 

Company-operated restaurant activity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning of period

 

 

172

 

 

 

168

 

 

 

169

 

 

 

165

 

Openings

 

 

3

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

4

 

Restaurant sale to franchisee

 

 

 

 

 

(6

)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closures

 

 

 

 

 

(1

)

 

 

(3

)

 

 

 

Restaurants at end of period

 

 

175

 

 

 

172

 

 

 

168

 

 

 

169

 

Franchised restaurant activity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning of period

 

 

243

 

 

 

233

 

 

 

229

 

 

 

229

 

Openings

 

 

2

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

5

 

 

 

3

 

Restaurant sale to franchisee

 

 

 

 

 

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closures

 

 

 

 

 

(1

)

 

 

(1

)

 

 

(3

)

Restaurants at end of period

 

 

245

 

 

 

243

 

 

 

233

 

 

 

229

 

System-wide restaurant activity:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beginning of period

 

 

415

 

 

 

401

 

 

 

398

 

 

 

394

 

Openings

 

 

5

 

 

 

16

 

 

 

7

 

 

 

7

 

Closures

 

 

 

 

 

(2

)

 

 

(4

)

 

 

(3

)

Restaurants at end of period

 

 

420

 

 

 

415

 

 

 

401

 

 

 

398

 

Restaurant Remodeling

We and our franchisees commenced our remodeling program in 2011 and, as of September 30, 2015, together we had remodeled 104 company-operated and 154 franchised restaurants, or 258 system-wide, over 60% of our restaurant system. Remodeling is a use of cash and has implications for our net property and depreciation line items on our condensed consolidated balance sheets and statements of operations, among others. The cost of our restaurant remodels varies depending on the scope of work required, but on average the investment is $270,000 per restaurant. We believe that our remodeling program will result in higher restaurant revenue and a strengthened brand.

2014 Refinancing

In December 2014, we refinanced a $15 million first lien revolving credit facility (the “2013 Revolver”) and a $190 million first lien term loan facility (the “2013 First Lien Term Loan”) by entering into the 2014 Revolver (the “2014 Refinancing”). The 2014 Revolver carries a longer maturity and a lower interest rate than the indebtedness that it replaced. Following the completion of the 2014 Refinancing, our interest expense declined by approximately $6 million on an annualized basis.

Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates

The preparation of our condensed consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect our reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, and expenses, and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under current circumstances in making judgments about the carrying value of assets and liabilities that are not readily available from other sources. We evaluate our estimates on an on-going basis. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

 

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Accounting policies are an integral part of our financial statements. A thoro ugh understanding of these accounting policies is essential when reviewing our reported results of operations and our financial position. Management believes that the critical accounting policies and estimates discussed below involve the most difficult man agement judgments, due to the sensitivity of the methods and assumptions used. For a summary of our critical accounting policies and a discussion of our use of estimates, see “Critical Accounting Policies and Use of Estimates” in Item 7, “Management’s Disc ussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, and Note 2, “Summary of Significant Accounting Policies,” to Item 8, “Financial Statements and Supplementary Data, ” in our annual report. For a summary of our significant accounting policies and a discussion of our use of estimates, see also Note 1 to Item 1 above.

There have been no material changes to our critical accounting policies or uses of estimates since our annual report on Form 10-K.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

In July 2015, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) No. 2015-11, "Simplifying the Measurement of Inventory." ASU No. 2015-11 requires inventory that is recorded using the first-in, first-out method to be measured at the lower of cost or net realizable value. ASU No. 2015-11 will be effective retrospectively for the Company for the quarter ending December 31, 2017, with early adoption permitted. The adoption of this guidance is not expected to have a significant impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.

In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-03, Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs.  To simplify presentation of debt issuance costs, the standard requires that debt issuance costs be presented in the balance sheet as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of debt liability, consistent with debt discounts or premiums. The recognition and measurement guidance for debt issuance costs would not be affected by the amendments in this Update.  ASU 2015-03 applies to all entities and is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2015, with early adoption permitted.  The standard is to be applied retrospectively.  The Company does not expect that the adoption of this standard will have a material effect on its consolidated financial statements.

In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, "Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606)." ASU No. 2014-09 clarifies the principles for recognizing revenue when an entity either enters into a contract with customers to transfer goods or services or enters into a contract for the transfer of non-financial assets. The original standard was effective retrospectively for the Company for the quarter ending December 31, 2017; however in July 2015, the FASB approved a one-year deferral of the standard. The new standard will become effective retrospectively for the Company for the quarter ending December 31, 2018, with early adoption permitted, but not before the original effective date. The Company does not expect that the adoption of this standard will have a material effect on its consolidated financial statements.

JOBS Act

We presently qualify as an “emerging growth company” (“EGC”) under section 2(a) of the Securities Act, pursuant to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012 (the “JOBS Act”). An EGC has reduced public company reporting, accounting, and corporate governance requirements. We may take advantage of some of these benefits. In addition, the JOBS Act provides that an EGC can take advantage of an extended transition period for complying with new or revised accounting standards, delaying the adoption of these accounting standards until they would apply to private companies. We have irrevocably elected not to avail ourselves of this exemption and, therefore, we will be subject to the same new or revised accounting standards as other public companies that are not EGCs.

We will cease to be an EGC following the earliest of (i) five years after our IPO, (ii) $1.0 billion in annual revenue, (iii) $700.0 million in common stock market capitalization held by non-affiliates, or (iv) $1.0 billion in non-convertible debt security issuance on a three-year rolling basis. Please refer to our annual report on Form 10-K for more information.

Key Financial Definitions

Revenue

Our revenue is derived from two primary sources: company-operated restaurant revenue and franchise revenue, the latter of which is comprised primarily of franchise royalties and, to a lesser extent, franchise fees and sublease rental income.

Food and Paper Costs

Food and paper costs include the direct costs associated with food, beverage and packaging of our menu items. The components of food and paper costs are variable in nature, change with sales volume, are impacted by menu mix, and are subject to increases or decreases in commodity costs.

 

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Labor and Related Expenses

Labor and related expenses include wages, payroll taxes, workers’ compensation expense, benefits, and bonuses paid to our restaurant management teams. Like other expense items, we expect labor costs to grow proportionately as our restaurant revenue grows. Factors that influence labor costs include minimum wage and payroll tax legislation, the frequency and severity of workers’ compensation claims, health care costs, and the performance of our restaurants.

Occupancy Costs and Other Operating Expenses

Occupancy costs include rent, common area maintenance, and real estate taxes. Other restaurant operating expenses include the costs of utilities, advertising, credit card processing fees, restaurant supplies, repairs and maintenance, and other restaurant operating costs.

General and Administrative Expenses

General and administrative expenses are comprised of expenses associated with corporate and administrative functions that support the development and operations of our restaurants, including compensation and benefits, travel expenses, stock compensation costs, legal and professional fees, and other related corporate costs. Also included are pre-opening costs, and expenses above the restaurant level, including salaries for field management, such as area and regional managers, and franchise field operational support.

Franchise Expenses

Franchise expenses are primarily comprised of rent expenses incurred on properties leased by us and then sublet to franchisees, and expenses incurred in support of franchisee information technology systems.

Depreciation and Amortization

Depreciation and amortization primarily consist of the depreciation of property and equipment, including leasehold improvements and equipment.

Loss on Disposal of Assets

Loss on disposal of assets includes the loss on disposal of assets related to retirements and replacement or write-off of leasehold improvements or equipment.

Asset Impairment and Closed-Store Reserves

We review long-lived assets such as property, equipment, and intangibles on a unit-by-unit basis for impairment when events or circumstances indicate a carrying value of the assets that may not be recoverable, and record an impairment charge when appropriate. Closure costs include non-cash restaurant charges such as up-front expensing of unpaid rent remaining on the life of a lease offset by assumed sublease income.

Interest Expense, Net

Interest expense, net, consists primarily of interest on our outstanding debt. Deferred financing costs are amortized using the straight-line method at cost over the life of the related debt.

Provision (benefit) for Income Taxes

Provision (benefit) for income taxes consists of federal and state taxes on our income.

Key Performance Indicators

To evaluate the performance of our business, we utilize a variety of financial and performance measures. These key measures include company-operated restaurant revenue, comparable restaurant sales, company-operated average unit volumes, restaurant contribution, restaurant contribution margin, new restaurant openings, EBITDA, and Adjusted EBITDA.

 

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Company-Operated Restaurant Revenue

Company-operated restaurant revenue consists of sales of food and beverages in company-operated restaurants net of promotional allowances, employee meals, and other discounts. Company-operated restaurant revenue in any period is directly influenced by the number of operating weeks in that period, the number of open restaurants, and comparable restaurant sales.

Seasonal factors and the timing of holidays cause our revenue to fluctuate from quarter to quarter. Our revenue per restaurant is typically lower in the first and fourth quarters due to reduced January and December traffic and higher in the second and third quarters. As a result of seasonality, our quarterly and annual results of operations and key performance indicators such as company -operated restaurant revenue and comparable restaurant sales may fluctuate.

Comparable Restaurant Sales

Comparable restaurant sales reflect year-over-year sales changes for comparable company-operated, franchised, and system-wide restaurants. A restaurant enters our comparable restaurant base the first full week after it has operated for fifteen months. At September 30, 2015 and September 24, 2014, there were 397 and 393 such restaurants, 160 and 164 company-operated and 237 and 229 franchised, respectively. Comparable restaurant sales indicate the performance of existing restaurants, since new restaurants are excluded.

Comparable restaurant sales growth can be generated by an increase in the number of meals sold and/or by increases in the average check amount, resulting from a shift in menu mix and/or higher prices resulting from new products or price increases.

Company-Operated Average Unit Volumes

We measure company-operated average unit volumes (“AUVs”) on both a weekly and an annual basis. Weekly AUVs consist of comparable restaurant sales over a seven-day period from Thursday to Wednesday. Annual AUVs are calculated using the following methodology: First, we divide our total net sales for all company-operated restaurants for the fiscal year by the total number of restaurant operating weeks during the same period. Second, we annualize that average weekly per-restaurant sales figure by multiplying it by 52. An operating week is defined as a restaurant open for business over a seven-day period from Thursday to Wednesday. This measurement allows management to assess changes in consumer spending patterns at our restaurants and the overall performance of our restaurant base.

Restaurant Contribution and Restaurant Contribution Margin

Restaurant contribution and restaurant contribution margin are neither required by, nor presented in accordance with, GAAP. Restaurant contribution is defined as company-operated restaurant revenue less company restaurant expenses. Restaurant contribution margin is defined as restaurant contribution as a percentage of net company-operated restaurant revenue. Restaurant contribution and restaurant contribution margin are supplemental measures of operating performance of our restaurants, and our calculations thereof may not be comparable to those reported by other companies. Restaurant contribution and restaurant contribution margin have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation or as substitutes for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Management believes that restaurant contribution and restaurant contribution margin are important tools for investors, because they are widely-used metrics within the restaurant industry to evaluate restaurant-level productivity, efficiency, and performance. Management uses restaurant contribution and restaurant contribution margin as key metrics to evaluate the profitability of incremental sales at our restaurants, to evaluate our restaurant performance across periods, and to evaluate our restaurant financial performance compared with our competitors.

A reconciliation of restaurant contribution and restaurant contribution margin to company-operated restaurant revenue is provided below:

 

 

 

Thirteen Weeks Ended

 

 

Thirty-Nine Weeks Ended

 

(Dollar amounts in thousands)

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

 

September 30,

2015

 

 

September 24,

2014

 

Company-operated restaurant revenue

 

$

82,986

 

 

$

80,861

 

 

$

251,295

 

 

$

238,432

 

Company restaurant expenses

 

 

65,400

 

 

 

64,120

 

 

 

196,774

 

 

 

186,477

 

Restaurant contribution

 

$

17,586

 

 

$

16,741

 

 

$

54,521

 

 

$

51,955

 

Restaurant contribution margin (%)

 

 

21.2

%

 

 

20.7

%

 

 

21.7

%

 

 

21.8

%

 

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New Restaurant Openings

The number of restaurant openings reflects the number of new restaurants opened by us and our franchisees during a particular reporting period. Before a new restaurant opens, we and our franchisees incur pre-opening costs, as described below. New restaurants often open with an initial start-up period of higher than normal sales volumes, which subsequently decrease to stabilized levels. New restaurants typically experience normal inefficiencies in the form of higher food and paper, labor, and other direct operating expenses and, as a result, restaurant contribution margins are generally lower during the start-up period of operation. The average start-up period after which our new restaurants’ revenue and expenses normalize is approximately ten to sixteen weeks. When we enter new markets, we may be exposed to start-up times and restaurant contribution margins that are longer and lower than reflected in our average historical experience.

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA

EBITDA represents net income before interest expense, provision for income taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA represents net income before interest expense, provision for income taxes, depreciation, amortization, and items that we do not consider representative of our on-going operating performance, as identified in the reconciliation table below.

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA as presented in this report are supplemental measures of our performance that are neither required by, nor presented in accordance with, GAAP. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not measurements of our financial performance under GAAP and should not be considered as alternatives to net income, operating income, or any other performance measures derived in accordance with GAAP, or as alternatives to cash flow from operating activities as a measure of our liquidity. In addition, in evaluating EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA, you should be aware that in the future we will incur expenses or charges such as those added back to calculate EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA. Our presentation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be construed as an inference that our future results will be unaffected by unusual or nonrecurring items.

EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA have limitations as analytical tools, and you should not consider them in isolation, or as substitutes for analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Some of these limitations are (i) they do not reflect our cash expenditures, or future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments, (ii) they do not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs, (iii) they do not reflect the significant interest expense, or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments, on our debt, (iv) although depreciation and amortization are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, and EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA do not reflect any cash requirements for such replacements, (v) they do not adjust for all non-cash income or expense items that are reflected in our statements of cash flows, (vi) they do not reflect the impact of earnings or charges resulting from matters we consider not to be indicative of our on-going operations, and (vii) other companies in our industry may calculate these measures differently than we do, limiting their usefulness as comparative measures.

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