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Noble Roman's reports profit despite lower revenue

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Indianapolis-based Noble Roman’s Inc. said late Monday that it posted a third-quarter profit of $459,535, or 2 cents per share—a 44-percent improvement over the same period last year. But revenue for the quarter fell to $1.9 million, from $2.2 million in 2008.

The company attributed the profit growth to a year-old plan that calls for discontinuing operations of most company-owned stores and focusing on franchised locations in “non-traditional venues” such as hospitals, military bases, universities, convenience stores and hotels.

“This strategy has allowed the company to narrow its focus and decrease its overhead and operating expenses during this period of weakened consumer activity,” Noble Roman’s said in a statement.

The franchisor of Noble Roman’s Pizza and Tuscano’s Italian Style Subs also has been making progress on growing its new “take-and-bake” pizza options—both in its franchises and as a stand-alone offering in grocery stores.

Noble Roman’s said it has signed agreements for 44 grocery store locations, up from 22 in the second quarter, and it sells take-and-bake pizzas at 16 convenience stores, generating “significant add-on sales.” The company expects considerable growth in grocery store outlets over the next several months.

A similar grab-and-go program for a portion of the Tuscano’s menu is in place at seven traditional Noble Roman’s Pizza and/or Tuscano’s Subs locations.

Profit during the Noble Roman's nine-month period totaled $1.3 million, or 7 cents per share, up 26 percent despite an 18-percent drop in revenue, to $5.7 million.

Company shares rose from 61 cents to 70 cents each yesterday, prior to the earnings announcement.

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