COLUMBUS, Ohio--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Max & Erma's Restaurants, Inc. (Nasdaq/NMS:MAXE - news)

Fourth Quarter and Year-End Highlights:

Net income hits a record $2.4 million, or $0.93 per share, for 2001
Same-store sales up 0.9%; 2.3% year-to-date
Five Company-owned and four franchised restaurants open in 2001
Development plans on schedule with six to seven Company-owned and four to five franchised units planned for 2002
Revolving credit line extended through 2002

Max & Erma's Restaurants, Inc. (Nasdaq/NMS:MAXE - news) today reported fourth quarter and fiscal 2001 year-end results.

Revenues for 2001 rose 14% to a record $141.1 million from $124.2 million in 2000. The Company also reported record net income and net income per share of $2.4 million or $0.93 per diluted share for fiscal 2001. A fourth quarter 2000 pre-tax charge of $2,461,000 for the closing of two under-performing restaurants reduced 2000 net income to $183,000 or $0.07 per diluted share.

The Company also reported fourth quarter 2001 revenues of $32.4 million, a 9% increase over fourth quarter 2000 revenues of $29.7 million. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2001 was $474,000 or $0.18 per diluted share as compared to a net loss of $1.3 million or $(0.52) per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2000. Exclusive of the pre-tax charge of $2,461,000 in the fourth quarter of 2000 pre-tax income increased from $48,000 for the fourth quarter of 2000 to $507,000 for the fourth quarter of 2001.

Todd Barnum, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Max & Erma's, said he is pleased with the revenue gains and performance of the Company's restaurants in 2001. Despite world events and a slowing economy, the Company reported that same-store sales were up 0.9% during the fourth quarter of 2001, the tenth consecutive quarterly increase in same-store sales. For the entire year Mr. Barnum noted that same-store sales increased 2.3% over fiscal 2000. Mr. Barnum added that in addition to same-store sales increases, five restaurant openings and an accelerated franchising program also contributed to the 16% revenue increase in 2001. Four franchise restaurants opened during fiscal 2001. He went on to say he was pleased that the Company's restaurants were able to show a slight margin improvement in 2001, despite significant increases in natural gas prices and ground beef prices. He noted that prices peaked earlier in the year on both items and probably impacted store level profit margins by as much as a half a percentage point. He added that both costs are returning to more normal levels.

Looking ahead to 2002, Mr. Barnum said the Company has plans to open six to seven restaurants and anticipates four to five franchised openings. At year-end the Company had three restaurants under construction in Chicago, Cleveland and Pittsburgh. He added that two franchised restaurants were also under construction at year-end in St. Louis, Missouri and Wilmington, Ohio. Mr. Barnum said the Company is negotiating several additional multi-unit franchise agreements, which he expects will be signed during 2002.

Mr. Barnum said the Company's banks have extended its revolving credit line through 2002. Mr. Barnum said that its bank line, real estate and equipment leasing and cash flow from operations should very adequately fund its cash needs next year.

Max & Erma's currently owns and operates 62 casual dining full-service restaurants under the Max & Erma's name in Akron, Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Dayton and Niles, Ohio; Indianapolis, Indiana; Detroit, Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, Michigan; Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Chicago, Illinois; Charlotte, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia and Norfolk, Virginia. The Company also franchises nine restaurants in Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Sandusky, Ohio, the Ohio Turnpike, St. Louis, Missouri and Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Company's common shares are traded on the NASDAQ National Market System under the symbol MAXE.