McAlister's Deli announced same-store sales increased 7 percent during the third quarter of 2012. Company-owned restaurants were up 6.9 percent and franchise restaurants were up 7 percent, said McAlister's Deli President and CEO Frank Paci.

"Our continued strong system sales growth is a testament to the strength of the brand and the quality food and genuine hospitality delivered by our dedicated franchisees and operators to our guests," Paci said.

Company sales performance was driven by a 5.8-percent increase in entrée sales. For the first three quarters of 2012, system comparable sales were up 7.4 percent, with company restaurants up 7.8 percent and franchise restaurants up 7.4 percent. In addition to reporting comparable sales growth, McAlister's announced the opening of four new restaurants in the third quarter and is expected to open another six new restaurants in the fourth quarter.

Over the past two years, McAlister's has undertaken initiatives to strengthen the McAlister's Deli brand including upgrading menu offerings and improving speed of service, Paci said. A recent Technomic Fast Casual trends study ranked McAlister's Deli as the top choice by customers in five different categories including Food, Service, Beverage, Atmosphere and Value.

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