Costs and Hurricane Irene hit Cheesecake Factory results

Wed Oct 19, 2011 6:07pm EDT

A sign for The Cheesecake Factory restaurant is pictured in Glendale, California April 19, 2011. REUTERS/Fred Prouser

A sign for The Cheesecake Factory restaurant is pictured in Glendale, California April 19, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser

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(Reuters) - Cheesecake Factory Inc's (CAKE.O) third-quarter profit fell short of expectations after higher costs and Hurricane Irene dented results.

Shares in the restaurant chain, known for its array of cheesecakes and ample portions, slipped 1 percent in extended trading after it also forecast fourth-quarter earnings that could fall below analysts' average estimate.

The company expects fourth-quarter earnings of 51 cents to 53 cents per share for the current quarter, Chief Financial Officer Doug Benn said on a conference call.

Analysts, on average, are expecting a profit of 53 cents per share in the latest quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Cheesecake Factory's third-quarter net income fell more than 6 percent to $20.6 million, or 36 cents per share, for the quarter ended September 27. Analysts, on average, were looking for a profit of 38 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company, which raised menu prices in the summer to help offset higher commodity costs, said revenue was up almost 3 percent to $430.4 million.

Total costs and expenses added up to 93 percent of revenue in the latest quarter, up from 92.5 percent a year earlier.

High food costs have been a persistent pain for restaurants. At Cheesecake Factory, dairy and produce prices exerted the most pressure in the latest quarter.

Overall sales at restaurants open at least 18 months were up 0.8 percent in the recent quarter. Excluding the impact of Hurricane Irene, same-restaurant sales would have increased 1.2 percent, the company said.

Same-restaurant sales inched up 0.8 percent at the Cheesecake Factory and rose 0.9 percent at Grand Lux Cafe.

Looking ahead, the company forecast a 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent rise in overall same-restaurant sales for the fourth quarter.

Shares fell 3.1 percent to $25.25 in extended trading, after closing 4.3 percent lower at $26.05 on Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Lisa Baertlein; editing by Carol Bishopric and Richard Chang)

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