Chanticleer Holdings posts larger loss in first quarter

Chanticleer Holdings recorded a loss of $1.5 million in the first quarter, the Charlotte-based investment company said Thursday, as it posted higher expenses it attributed to recent restaurant acquisitions.

The first-quarter loss was 24 cents a share, up from a loss of 20 cents a share the same quarter last year when the company reported a net loss of $737,843.

The company said expenses were higher than the same quarter a year ago because of investments it made last year. Those investments include, among other things, its purchase of a Hooters restaurant in England, the Charlotte-based American Roadside Burgers chain and a majority interest in the Charlotte-based Just Fresh restaurant chain.

Revenue in the first three months of this year rose to $5.6 million, up 234 percent from a year ago. That was offset by $7.2 million in expenses, which were up 197 percent. Restaurant operating costs of $3.3 million were a large driver of the increase in expenses.

Chanticleer, whose focus had been solely on owning and operating Hooters in other countries, began investing in other restaurant brands last year. CEO Mike Pruitt said in a statement he expects expenses as a percentage of revenues to continue to fall as Chanticleer brings more restaurants on line.

“Our growth obviously comes with increased expense but the incremental expense growth was within our operating plan,” he said.