The business released its quarterly earnings figures on Nov. 23.
Comparisons of 2020 and 2021 are inexact, as Jack in the Box had a 53 week year in fiscal 2021, and a 52 week year in fiscal 2020. In addition, the recently ended fourth quarter had 13 weeks, while the fourth quarter of 2020 had 12 weeks.
Fourth quarter sales increased 0.2%, or 20 basis points, when excluding the 53rd week for the purpose of comparison to the prior year.
Net earnings for the 2021 fiscal year were $165.8 million, or $7.37 per diluted share. Net earnings for fiscal 2020 were $89.8 million, or $3.86 per diluted share.
Revenue for the full year was $1.14 billion, up from $1.02 billion in fiscal 2020.
During the fourth quarter, same store sales grew by 0.1%, or 10 basis points. For the entire fiscal year, same store sales grew 10.3%. Total stores at the end of fiscal 2021 were 2,218, down from 2,241 at the end of fiscal 2020.
“Our solid performance results despite a challenging fourth quarter environment demonstrated the strength of our economic model at both the company and store level,” CFO Tim Mullany told analysts on a conference call.
In his remarks, Mullany spoke of some stores being open for limited hours because of staffing challenges.
“As I look back at our Q4 and full fiscal year results, I am extremely proud of the ability of this brand to remain strong in our performance during these interesting times,” said CEO Darin Harris during the call. While the industry faces headwinds, Jack in the Box is “laser focused” on mitigating their impact and placing its attention on the long-term health of the business, the CEO said.
Plans for 2022 and Beyond
Looking ahead to fiscal 2022, the company plans to fund up to five company-owned restaurants. In 2023, the company plans to fund between seven and 15 company-owned restaurants.
In 2022, the company projects capital expenditures and other investments of $65 million to $75 million.
Restaurant-level margin during 2022 is expected to be 20% to 21%, which includes mid-to-high single digit price increases. Wages are expected to rise 8% to 10% compared to 2021.
Looking farther ahead to the next three to five years, Jack in the Box reiterated its guidance from its June 29 investor day. Same store sales are expected to rise 2% to 3%. Unit growth is expected to rise 1% to 3%. System-wide sales are expected to rise 3% to 5%.
The corporation’s goal is to have stores in 40 states by 2030, Mullany told analysts. It currently operates in 21 states.
On Nov. 19, the board declared a cash dividend of 44 cents per share. The dividend will be paid on Dec. 23 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Dec. 9.
Also on Nov. 19, the board approved a new stock buyback plan, authorizing an additional $200 million in buybacks through Nov. 20, 2023.
Editor's note: This story was published in the Dec. 6 print edition of the San Diego Business Journal, which went to press prior to Jack in the Box announcing it had agreed to buy Del Taco.
Jack in the Box
CEO: Darin Harris
HEADQUARTERS: Kearny Mesa
BUSINESS: Fast food chain
REVENUE: $1.14 billion in 2021; $1.02 billion in 2020
STOCK: JACK on Nasdaq
EMPLOYEES: 388 corporate and field representatives
NOTABLE: Jack in the Box has stores in 21 states as well as Guam