After discussing same-store sales growth, let’s look now at another revenue driver: unit growth. All casual dining restaurants are primarily company-owned. So we have to be careful when comparing unit growth since opening new company-owned restaurants requires more capital expenditure. The median unit growth for casual dining restaurants in 4Q15 was 3.4%.
Of all the casual dining restaurants we’re covering in this series, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) had the highest unit growth in 4Q15 with the addition of 93 restaurants. That represents a unit growth of 8.6%. In the last 12 months, BLWD has added 105 company-owned restaurants and closed 12 franchised restaurants.
BWLD was followed by Texas Roadhouse (TXRH) with a 7.1% unit growth. It added 29 company-owned restaurants and three franchised restaurants. TXRH forms 0.16% of the holdings of the iShares Russell 2000 ETF (IWM). The Cheesecake Factory’s (CAKE) unit growth was 5.8% with the addition of 11 restaurants, to take its total unit count to 200.
In 4Q15, Bloomin’ Brands (BLMN) posted the least unit growth of -0.1%. The company sold its Roy’s concept, which operated 20 units in January 2016. After leaving Roy, the company expanded its units from 1,488 to 1,507, an increase of 1.3%.
In our next article, we’ll see how well these restaurants are utilizing their resources and revenue per square foot.