more complex casual dining restaurants. How quickly new restaurants achieve their targeted operating margin depends on many factors, including the level of consumer familiarity with our brand
when we enter new markets, as well as the availability of experienced managers and team members, and the time required to negotiate and obtain favorable costs for certain fresh food items and other supplies from local suppliers. As a result, a
significant number of restaurant openings in any single fiscal quarter, along with their associated opening expenses, could have a significant impact on our consolidated results of operations for that period. Therefore, our results of
operations for any single fiscal quarter are not necessarily indicative of results expected for any other fiscal quarter nor for a full fiscal year.
RESTAURANT OPENING EXPENSES
Restaurant opening expenses (also referred to as
preopening expenses) include incremental out-of-pocket costs that are directly related to the openings of new restaurants that may not be otherwise capitalized. As a result of the more complex operational nature of our
casual-plus restaurant concept compared to that of a typical casual dining chain restaurant, the preopening process for our new restaurants is more extensive, time consuming and costly. The preopening expense for one of our restaurants
usually includes costs to compensate an average of six to seven restaurant management team members prior to opening; costs to recruit and train an average of 150 hourly restaurant team members; wages, travel and lodging costs for our opening
training team and other support team members; costs for practice service activities; and, straight-line minimum base rent during the construction and in-restaurant training period in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
(U.S. GAAP). Preopening expenses will vary from location to location depending on a number of factors, including the proximity of our existing restaurants; the amount of rent expensed during the construction and in-restaurant training
periods; the size and physical layout of each location; the number of management and hourly team members required to operate each restaurant; the relative difficulty of the restaurant staffing process; the cost of travel and lodging for different
metropolitan areas; the timing of the restaurant opening; and, the extent of unexpected delays, if any, in obtaining necessary licenses and permits to open the restaurant. The acquisition of our necessary operating licenses and permits may also be
dependent on our landlords obtaining their licenses and permits, as well as fully completing their construction activities for the retail projects in which our leased premises are located.
Our preopening expense for a prototypical BJs Restaurant &
Brewhouse® location averaged approximately $0.5 million in 2011. Preopening expenses could be higher for
non-prototypical, custom footprint restaurants and for a restaurants initial entry into a new market. We usually incur the most significant portion of direct preopening costs within the two-month period immediately preceding and
the month of a restaurants opening. Preopening costs can fluctuate significantly from period to period, based on the number and timing of restaurant openings and the specific preopening costs incurred for each restaurant. We expense
preopening costs as incurred.
Sales of our proprietary recipe, handcrafted beers represented approximately 10% of our total restaurant sales during fiscal 2011. On average, each of our larger-format restaurants utilized approximately
550 barrels of our proprietary handcrafted beer during fiscal 2011. Our internal brewery operations originated in 1996 with the opening of the first large-format BJs Restaurant &
Brewery® location in Brea, California, which included our first on-site brewery. The Brea BJs
Restaurant & Brewery serviced not only that restaurant, but also several other California restaurants, using a hub and spoke production and distribution model that is legally permitted in California with certain limitations and
restrictions. Over the years we gradually increased the number of our on-site breweries. Starting in 2002, we also began utilizing qualified contract brewers to produce our beer in Texas and other jurisdictions where the hub and spoke
production model was not legally permitted. In 2011, our internal breweries produced approximately 20,000 barrels of beer, and contract brewers produced approximately 37,000 barrels of beer. Our on-site breweries are typically staffed with a head
brewer and an assistant brewer, which report to a brewing director. Production planning and quality control are monitored by our corporate brewery operations department which is led by a Senior Vice President of Brewing Operations. Additionally, our
on-site and contract breweries periodically send out samples of each batch of BJs beer to an independent laboratory for quality control testing purposes.