Cheesecake Factory's earnings rise 32 percent

CALABASAS HILLS, Calif. -- The Cheesecake Factory reported a 32 percent rise in quarterly earnings Wednesday as more customers showed up to eat at its restaurants.

Net income for the third quarter was $27.2 million, or 49 cents per share. That's up from $20.6 million, or 36 cents a share, in the same period of 2011.

In a statement, Chairman and CEO David Overton credited the sales growth to a strong increase in customers and an effort to keep a lid on costs.

Quarterly revenue climbed to $453.8 million, up 5 percent from $430.4 million the year before.

Analysts had projected the company would report earnings of 49 cents per share on revenue of $458.1 million, according to FactSet.

The company said revenue at restaurants open for at least a year climbed 2.5 percent. That's considered a key measure of a chain's performance because it strips out results from locations recently opened or closed.

Comparable sales at Cheesecake Factory restaurants rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier. But for the Grand Lux Cafe chain they fell 2 percent.

In after-hours trading, shares in the company sank 21 cents to $32.97 following the release of the earnings report. During regular trading hours, they dropped 86 cents to $32.76.

The company, based in Calabasas Hills, Calif., operates 173 restaurants across the country under its various brands: The Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe and one RockSugar Pan Asian Kitchen. In August, it opened a Cheesecake Factory in Dubai and plans to open more restaurants in the Middle East this year.