Oct 23 (Reuters) - Chili's Grill & Bar operator, Brinker International Inc, reported a 5 percent rise in quarterly profit as its expenses fell and its restaurant operating margin improved.
The Dallas-based company, which also owns the Maggiano's Little Italy chain, said net income rose to $29.2 million, or 42 cents per share, in the first quarter ended Sept. 25, from $27.9 million, or 36 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, Brinker earned 43 cents per share.
Sales at company-owned Chili's restaurants open for at least 18 months fell 1.6 percent during the quarter, more than the 0.7 percent decline analysts had expected, according to Consensus Metrix.
Same-restaurant sales at Maggiano's rose 0.6 percent, in line with analysts' estimates.
Total revenue was flat at $683.9 million.