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Total revenue decreased to $35.3 million for the quarter ended March 26, 2001 as compared to $52.2 million for the quarter ended March 27, 2000. This decrease was primarily due to the sale of company-owned restaurants to franchisees during fiscal 2000. Accordingly, royalty revenue and franchise fees increased by $1 million, up to $3.5 million compared to $2.5 million one year ago. EBITDA was $4.0 million compared to $3.7 for the same quarter in 2000, an 8.1% increase.
Comparable company-owned restaurant sales increased by 12.3% during the first quarter as compared to those units that were operating for the full quarter ended March 27, 2000. Comparable franchise restaurant sales increased 1.9%. The franchise sales were impacted negatively by extreme winter weather condition during the quarter.
In addition to following up 2000 with a profitable first quarter in 2001, Checkers improved its working capital position by refinancing $5.8 million of debt coming due in June 2001 with a loan through Heller Financial, Inc. that amortizes over a 30 month period. "This refinancing completes the final step in our restructuring of debt. We obtained more favorable terms on this $5.8 million refinance and kept intact a revolving credit facility with Textron that will give us a working line of capital at LIBOR plus 4.5% interest,'' commented Wendy Beck, Checkers' Chief Financial Officer.
Checkers' Chief Executive Officer and President, Daniel J. Dorsch commented, "I am delighted to report that Checkers Drive-In Restaurants has been turned around financially and is headed in the right direction, which is supported by this 4th consecutive quarter of profitability reported, but we are not satisfied. We are profitable, sales are growing steadily and we anticipate those trends to continue. During the first quarter we installed 92 corporate restaurants with new POS technology by NCR giving us better controls on restaurant operations. We will continue to rollout one or two restaurants each day until we have completed all company stores with the touch screen technology. Training continues to be a focus, as sales are climbing and the new technology is installed in the restaurants. Our new advertising campaign is hitting a positive cord with consumers. You Gotta Eat(TM) has people singing in our drive-thrus and has had a similar effect on recruitment. We are winning right now and it has our people feeling very proud to be a part of a company that just a year ago was on a much different course. Most recent weekly corporate sales are up $1,600 per week over a year ago and the momentum seems to be continuing. The causes are simple to me, get to know your managers, treat them like the important people they are, improve operations a little each day and miracles begin to happen. There is good reason for us to believe that our sales and our profits will continue to grow, just ask our franchisees what difference one year can make.''
As of March 26, 2001, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants, Inc. and its franchisees own 421 Checkers (R) operating primarily in the Southeastern United States and 424 Rally's (R) operating primarily in the Midwestern United States. Checkers is headquartered in Clearwater, Florida. For more information about the company, please visit www.checkers.com.