McAlister's Deli recently announced a same-store sales increase of 8.3 percent during the fourth quarter of 2012. Company-owned restaurants were up 9.2 percent, and franchise restaurants were up 8.2 percent, said McAlister's Deli President and CEO Frank Paci. Company sales performance was driven by a 7.6-percent increase in entrée sales, indicating overall traffic gains for McAlister's restaurants system-wide.

For the full year, total system sales were $419 million. System comparable sales increased 8 percent, with company restaurants up 8.4 percent and franchise restaurants up 7.9 percent. In addition to reporting comparable sales growth, McAlister's announced the opening of six new restaurants in the fourth quarter for a total of 12 new locations in 2012.

"McAlister's experienced a very strong 2012," Paci said. "It is rewarding to see that our guests appreciate the great food and genuine hospitality provided each and every day by our dedicated franchisees and operators."

Over the past two years, McAlister's has undertaken initiatives to strengthen its brand including upgrading menu offerings and improving speed of service. Technomic recently recognized McAlister's as an inaugural winner of the Chain Restaurant Consumers' Choice Awards in the fast casual category for its food and beverages.

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