Del Frisco's Restaurant Group reports Q4 net earnings of US$4.6M, down 39.5% from year-ago period amid ineffiencies at some new restauants, slightly later restaurant openings; consolidated revenues rise 20.5% to US$97.5M

SOUTHLAKE, TEXAS , February 26, 2014 (press release) – Company Provides Outlook for Fiscal Year 2014

Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc. (DFRG), the owner and operator of the Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Del Frisco's Grille restaurant concepts, reported financial results today for the 17-week fourth quarter and 53-week fiscal year ended December 31, 2013. The Company also provided its outlook for the 2014 fiscal year.

Key highlights from the fourth quarter 2013 compared to the fourth quarter 2012 include:

Consolidated revenues increased 20.5% to $97.5 million from $80.9 million. The 17th week in the fourth quarter 2013 contributed $5.8 million to consolidated revenues.

Comparable restaurant sales (on a 16-week comparable basis) increased 5.2% at Del Frisco's Double Eagle. This follows a comparable restaurant sales increase of 5.9% in the fourth quarter of the previous year and represented its 16th consecutive quarter of positive comparable restaurant sales.

Comparable restaurant sales (on a 16-week comparable basis) decreased 0.7% at Sullivan's. This follows a comparable restaurant sales decrease of 1.5% in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Blended comparable restaurant sales (on a 16-week comparable basis) increased 2.8% across all three concepts and benefited from one additional operating day versus the prior year.

Cost of sales, as a percentage of consolidated revenues, decreased to 30.3% from 30.4%.

Net income of $4.6 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared to net income of $7.6 million, or $0.32 per diluted share.

Adjusted net income*, a non-GAAP measure, of $8.6 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, compared to $7.5 million, or $0.31 per diluted share.

Restaurant-level EBITDA**, a non-GAAP measure, increased 13.2% to $23.2 million from $20.5 million.

Key highlights from the fiscal year 2013 compared to fiscal year 2012 include:

Consolidated revenues increased 16.9% to $271.8 million from $232.4 million. The 53rd week in the 2013 fiscal year contributed $5.8 million to consolidated revenues.

Comparable restaurant sales (on a 52-week comparable basis) increased 4.4% at Del Frisco's Double Eagle. This follows a comparable restaurant sales increase of 6.6% in the 2012 fiscal year and represented its fourth consecutive year of positive comparable restaurant sales.

Comparable restaurant sales (on a 52-week comparable basis) decreased 3.0% at Sullivan's. This follows a comparable restaurant sales increase of 1.2% in the 2012 fiscal year.

Blended comparable restaurant sales (on a 52-week comparable basis) increased 1.3% across all three concepts and benefited from one additional operating day versus the prior year.

Cost of sales, as a percentage of consolidated revenues, decreased to 30.2% from 30.6%.

Net income of $12.2 million, or $0.51 per diluted share (on a share base of 23.9 million shares), compared to net income of $13.8 million, or $0.67 per diluted share (on a share base of 20.4 million shares).

Adjusted net income*, a non-GAAP measure, of $20.7 million, or $0.87 per diluted share, compared to $19.3 million, or $0.94 per diluted share. The 53rd week during 2013 provided approximately $0.03 per diluted share.

Restaurant-level EBITDA**, a non-GAAP measure, increased 9.9% to $62.1 million from $56.5 million.

* Adjusted net income, a non-GAAP measure, represents pre-tax income from continuing operations plus asset advisory agreement termination fees, management fees and accounting expenses paid to a related party, write-off of debt issuance costs, secondary public offering costs public offering transaction bonuses, and non-cash impairment charges, minus income tax expense at an effective tax rate of 30%. For a reconciliation of adjusted net income to the most directly comparable financial measure presented in accordance with GAAP and a discussion of why we consider it useful, see the financial information accompanying this release.

** Restaurant-level EBITDA, a non-GAAP measure, represents net income before interest, taxes and depreciation and amortization plus the sum of certain non-operating expenses, including pre-opening costs, management fees and accounting expenses paid to a related party, secondary public offering costs, public offering transactions bonuses, non-cash impairment charges, and general and administrative expenses. For a reconciliation of restaurant-level EBITDA to the most directly comparable financial measure presented in accordance with GAAP and a discussion of why we consider it useful, see the financial information accompanying this release.

Mark S. Mednansky, Chief Executive Officer of Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc., said, "Quarterly results fell short of our expectations due to a combination of factors -- inefficiencies at four newly opened Grille restaurants, slightly later new restaurant openings within the quarter, lower operating leverage on the 17th week than we had anticipated, and weather issues during our very profitable holiday season. Still, Del Frisco's Double Eagle delivered impressive, industry-leading sales and traffic gains, while at Sullivan's, trends improved sequentially as brand enhancements began to take hold. Looking ahead, we are very optimistic that our guests will be eager to dine out in 2014 and we will continue to focus on reducing new unit inefficiencies."

Mednansky concluded, "After more than two years and 11 successful openings across multiple geographies, we are more confident than ever that Del Frisco's Grille has earned its place as our dominant expansion vehicle. The Grille's ability to attract a broad demographic of upwardly mobile and affluent guests -- millennials, generation x, and even baby boomers, is quite extraordinary and truly 'next generation'. Discerning guests of all ages appreciate the Grille's casual atmosphere and upscale experience and it has quickly become a dining and social destination in every market that it serves. We will open five Del Frisco's Grilles this year as we expand our footprint in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Florida, and California. We will also be opening a Del Frisco's Double Eagle in Washington, DC, at CityCenter, one of the most exciting development projects in our nation's capital in some time."

Review of Fourth Quarter 2013 Operating Results

Consolidated revenues increased $16.6 million, or 20.5%, to $97.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $80.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. This increase was due to 113 additional operating weeks resulting from eight restaurant openings subsequent to the third quarter of the previous year along with one additional operating week in the recent fiscal period. The additional 17th week in the fourth quarter 2013 contributed $5.8 million to consolidated revenues. The fourth quarter benefited from the favorable comparison against lost revenues related to Hurricane Sandy during the fourth quarter of 2012; however, this benefit was significantly offset by lost operating days in December 2013 resulting from ice and snow storms.

Total operating weeks for all concepts during the fourth quarter of 2013 increased 21.4% to 640 from 527 in the fourth quarter of 2012. Total comparable restaurant sales increased 2.8% (on a 16-week comparable basis) following a total comparable restaurant sales increase of 2.7% in the fourth quarter of the previous year.

Cost of sales increased $4.9 million, or 19.9%, to $29.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $24.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. As a percentage of consolidated revenues, cost of sales decreased to 30.3% from 30.4%.

Restaurant-level EBITDA** increased $2.7 million, or 13.2%, to $23.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $20.5 million in the third quarter of 2012. As a percentage of consolidated revenues, restaurant-level EBITDA decreased to 23.8% from 25.4%.

General and administrative costs increased $0.5 million, or 11.5%, to $5.3 million, or 5.4% of consolidated revenues, from $4.8 million, or 5.9% of consolidated revenues. In addition to the extra week during the quarter, this net increase was due to growth in corporate level personnel and management training expenses to support recent and anticipated growth along with increased non-cash stock compensation expense. These increases during the quarter were significantly offset by reduced incentive bonus compensation.

Net income in the fourth quarter of 2013 was $4.6 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared to net income of $7.6 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2012. Adjusted net income*, a non-GAAP measure, was $8.6 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to $7.5 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of the previous year. The share base was 23.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to 23.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Segment Results

We operate the Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Del Frisco's Grille brands as operating segments.

Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House

Revenues increased $7.5 million, or 17.4%, to $51.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $43.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. This increase was primarily due to an additional 22 operating weeks during the quarter (to 170 from 148) inclusive of the 17th operating week in the recent fiscal period, along with a 5.2% increase in comparable restaurant sales (on a comparable 16-week basis). The growth in comparable restaurant sales was comprised of a 4.5% increase in entree counts and a 0.7% increase in average check and marked the 16th consecutive quarter of positive comparable restaurant sales. In the fourth quarter of the previous year, comparable restaurant sales increased 5.9%.
Restaurant-level EBITDA** increased 15.7%, or $2.1 million, to $15.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $13.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 as the brand experienced higher cost of sales and restaurant operating expenses as a percentage of revenues.

For the full year, revenues increased $19.9 million, or 16.0%, to $144.6 million from $124.7 million in 2012. The improvement was primarily due to a 4.4% increase in comparable restaurant sales, comprised of a 3.9% increase in entree counts and a 0.5% increase in average check. This increase follows a comparable restaurant sales increase of 6.6% in the previous year. Operating weeks for the year increased to 530 from 472. For the full fiscal year, the average unit volume of Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House increased 5.3% to $14.5 million.

Sullivan's Steakhouse

Revenues increased $1.6 million, or 5.8%, to $28.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $27.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase was entirely due to an additional 19 operating weeks during the quarter (to 323 from 304) resulting from the 17th operating week that were partially offset by a 0.7% decline in comparable restaurant sales (on a comparable 16-week basis). The decrease in comparable restaurants sales was comprised of a 3.0% decrease in entree counts, coupled with a 2.3% increase in average check. In the fourth quarter of the previous year, comparable restaurant sales decreased 1.5%.

Restaurant-level EBITDA** decreased 7.1%, or $0.4 million to $5.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $5.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, as the concept experienced higher restaurant operating expenses as well as marketing and advertising costs as a percentage of revenues.

For the full year, revenues were $83.0 million compared to $83.8 million in 2012. Comparable restaurant sales decreased 3.0% and were comprised of a 0.7% decrease in average check and a 2.3% decrease in entree counts. This decrease follows a comparable restaurant sales increase of 1.2% in the previous year. Operating weeks for the year increased to 1,007 from 988. For the full fiscal year, the average unit volume held steady at $4.4 million.

Del Frisco's Grille

Revenues increased 73.3%, or $7.5 million, to $17.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $10.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase was primarily due to 72 additional operating weeks (to 147 from 75) stemming from seven openings subsequent to the third quarter of 2012 and the 17th operating week in the recent fiscal period, as well as positive comparable restaurant sales.

Restaurant-level EBITDA** increased 55.8%, or $1.0 million, to $2.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 from $1.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The increase was primarily due to operating week growth as the concept experienced higher restaurant operating expenses as a percentage of revenues due to new restaurant inefficiencies.
For the full year, revenues increased $20.2 million, or 84.1%, to $44.1 million compared to $24.0 million in 2012. Operating weeks for the year increased to 359 from 168.

Restaurant Portfolio

As of December 31, 2013, Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc. owned and operated 40 restaurants across 20 states and Washington, DC, including ten Del Frisco's, 19 Sullivan's, and eleven Del Frisco's Grille locations. During the fourth quarter of 2013, the Company opened Del Frisco's Grille locations in Palm Beach, FL; Fort Worth and Southlake, TX; and Chestnut Hill, MA.

Stock Repurchase

During the fourth quarter of 2013, the Company repurchased 196,500 shares of common stock for approximately $3.7 million under the $10 million authority provided by our Board of Directors. As previously communicated, this authority for up to $10 million will be utilized for the repurchase of our common stock in order to offset dilution caused by the issuance and exercise of stock options and other equity compensation.

Outlook

The following statements are not guarantees of future performance, and therefore, undue reliance should not be placed upon them. We refer all of you to our recent filings with the SEC for a more detailed discussion of the risks that could impact future operating results and financial conditions.

Based on current information, Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc. is introducing the following guidance for the 52-week fiscal year 2014, which ends on December 30, 2014.

Total comparable restaurant sales increase of 1.5% to 2.5% (on a comparable 52-week basis)

One Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House opening and five Del Frisco's Grille openings

Cost of sales of 29.9% to 30.4% of consolidated revenues

Restaurant-level EBITDA** of 22.9% to 23.4% of consolidated revenues

Pre-opening expenses of approximately $4.9 to $5.5 million

General and Administrative expenses of $20.0 million to $21.0 million

Effective tax rate of approximately 30% to 32%

Earnings per diluted share of $0.94 to $0.98 based on an annual weighted average diluted common shares outstanding of approximately 24.0 million

Gross capital expenditures (before tenant allowances) of $38 million to $40 million

Development in the 2014 fiscal year will begin at the end of the second quarter and will be spread evenly throughout the balance of the year. It includes one Del Frisco's Double Eagle restaurant in Washington, DC (Q3), and five Del Frisco's Grille locations with currently executed leases in Burlington, MA; Rockville, MD; Irvine, CA; and Tampa, FL.

Conference Call

We will host a conference call to discuss the financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2013 today at 7:30 AM Central Time. Hosting the conference call will be Mark S. Mednansky, Chief Executive Officer; Tom Pennison, Chief Financial Officer; and Jeff Carcara, Chief Operating Officer.

The conference call can be accessed live over the phone by dialing 888-437-9481 or for international callers by dialing 719-325-2461. A replay will be available afterwards and can be accessed by dialing 877-870-5176 or for international callers by dialing 858-384-5517; the passcode is 2661880. The replay will be available until Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

The conference call will also be webcast live from our corporate website at www.DFRG.com under the investor relations section. An archive of the webcast will also be available through the corporate website shortly after the call has concluded.

About Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc.

Based in Southlake, Texas, near Dallas, Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc. is a collection of 40 restaurants across 20 states and Washington, D.C., including Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House, Sullivan's Steakhouse, and Del Frisco's Grille. Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steak House serves up flawless cuisine that's bold and delicious, an extensive award-winning wine list and a level of service that reminds guests that they're the boss. Sullivan's Steakhouse is a great neighborhood place for a big night out on the town - with outstanding food, hand-shaken martinis, an award winning wine list, and live entertainment all under one roof. Del Frisco's Grille is modern, inviting, stylish and fun, taking the classic bar and grill to new heights, and drawing inspiration from bold flavors and market-fresh ingredients.

For further information about our restaurants, to make reservations, or to purchase gift cards, please visit: www.DelFriscos.com, www.SullivansSteakhouse.com, and www.DelFriscosGrille.com. For more information about Del Frisco's Restaurant Group, Inc., please visit www.DFRG.com.

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