The company revised its preliminary adjusted results showing earnings in January to reduce the estimate for charges related to discontinuing breakfast at certain locations and to reduce depreciation and amortization. It now says adjusted earnings were 9 cents per share in the period.
Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected 8 cents per share.
Revenue rose 2 percent to $629.9 million. Analysts expected revenue of $630 million.
Its shares rose 20 cents, or 3.6 percent, to close at $5.70 Thursday.
As previously reported, the company said sales at established restaurants slipped 0.2 percent, after a strong performance in the year-ago period that got a boost from the introduction of Dave's Hot 'n Juicy burgers. The measure is a key indicator of a financial health because it strips out the impact of newly opened and closed locations.
Looking ahead to 2013, the company affirmed its outlook for growth of 2 percent to 3 percent at restaurants open at least 15 months and remodeled restaurants open at least three months. It reaffirmed its forecast for adjusted earnings between 18 cents and 20 cents per share. Wall Street predicts 18 cents per share.