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Famous Dave's of America Inc. [NASDAQ:DAVE] announced on Monday that its franchises dropped 4.7 percent in same-restaurant sales for 2016 compared to the year before. Company stores fell 5 percent in comparable sales. Dave's had a net loss of several stores to its network and a net loss of $5 million before income taxes in 2016.
On the same day that it announced its troubled year, the firm also announced the February 27, 2017 appointment of board member Charles W. Mooty as its new non-executive chairman of the board.
"While 2016 was a challenging year for the industry and Famous Dave's, we remain focused on the all-important return of our brand to a position of strength," said Famous Dave's chief executive and operating officer Mike Lister. "The foundation of the brand and the quality of our people is unquestionable. I am confident that together with the leadership of the board, Chuck's invaluable insights, and our people we will elevate Famous Dave's to the next level."
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Famous Dave's franchises had a steeper drop of 5.5 percent in same-restaurant sales. Company-owned restaurants fell by only 5 percent compared to the same quarter the year before. By the end of 2016 the barbecue chain had 139 franchises and 37 company-owned restaurants, down 3 restaurants compared to the year before.
Mooty succeeds Joseph Jacobs as chairman. Jacobs is the president and co-founder of Wexford Capital LP. He had served as non-executive chairman of the board since 2015 and will remain on Famous Dave's board of directors. Mooty has served in key leadership positions at International Dairy Queen, owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Currently, Mooty serves as president and CEO of Jostens Inc.
"As a strong believer in the brand, it is truly an honor to assume the responsibility of chairman at this pivotal time for the company and to further lead its evolution," said Famous Dave's new chairman Charles Mooty. "I am confident that together with the leadership of the board, our management team and our franchisees, we will drive enhanced total returns for our shareholders."