California Pizza profit eases 15% in Q1

by Eric Schroeder
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LOS ANGELES — Net income at California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. in the first quarter ended April 3 fell to $2,125,000, equal to 9c per share on the common stock, down 15% from $2,500,000, or 10c per share, in the same period a year ago. Total revenues also were lower, slipping to $155,963,000 from $156,694,000.

Despite lower year-over-year comparisons, Rick Rosenfeld and Larry Flax, co-chief executive officers of California Pizza Kitchen, said they were pleased with first-quarter earnings that exceeded their previously estimated range. The executives credited effective cost management at both the restaurant and corporate level for achieving the results.

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2011, Mr. Rosenfeld and Mr. Flax identified several focus areas that will serve as a foundation for building sustainable shareholder value.

“Menu optimization should not only reduce costs, but also scale our menu selections to a level that improves overall execution,” they said. “New product introductions will include a balance of craveable CPK items as well as seasonal selections and choices in line with health and wellness trends. Our global presence will continue to expand with the expected opening of 10 international franchised locations, and we will continue to optimize our four-wall full-service restaurant portfolio. Achieving measurable success across these objectives will not only enhance our brand equity, but also increase our return on assets, bolster our free cash flow, and further strengthen our balance sheet.”

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