Cheesecake Factory tops expectations, to start dividend
* Q2 EPS $0.51 exceeds Wall Street view of $0.49
* To start paying $0.12 quarterly dividend in August
* Same-restaurant sales up 1.7 percent overall
July 25 (Reuters) - Cheesecake Factory Inc reported a better-than-expected rise in quarterly profit as more patrons dined at its namesake restaurants, and said it would start paying a quarterly dividend of 12 cents per share next month.
Second-quarter profit rose to $28.4 million, or 52 cents per share, from $24.7 million, or 42 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, Cheesecake Factory earned 51 cents per share in the latest quarter, topping analysts' average forecast of 49 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue at the company, which is known for its array of cheesecake and ample portions, rose 5.6 percent to nearly $454.8 million.
Overall sales at restaurants open at least 18 months rose 1.7 percent during the quarter, slightly below the 1.9 percent rise analysts expected, according to Thomson Reuters data. Comparable restaurant sales rose 2.1 percent at The Cheesecake Factory and fell 2.9 percent at Grand Lux Cafe.
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