Feb 27 (Reuters) - Chili's Grill & Bar parent Brinker International Inc on Wednesday tempered its 2013 profit forecast, citing diners grappling with the U.S. payroll tax hike, more expensive gasoline and delayed federal tax refund checks.
The news from Brinker comes just days after a similar warning from rival and Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc.
Dallas-based Brinker said it now expects 2013 earnings per share, before special items, to be at the lower end of its range of $2.30 to $2.45.
It also expects sales at established restaurants to grow about 1 percent for the year.
Brinker said same-restaurant sales for its current fiscal third quarter were running down 2.2 percent at Chili's as of Feb. 25. Results at Maggiano's, its smaller chain, were flat.
Brinker will report its third-quarter results on April 23.