In the wake of a number of national restaurant operators having to restate earnings due to lease accounting errors, the Securities and Exchange Commission advised restaurant companies to assess the impact of such errors in order to determine whether restatements are necessary, according to The Wall Street Journal. In a letter sent to the American Institute of CPAs, SEC chief accountant Don Nicolaisen wrote that restaurateurs who "determine their prior accounting to be in error should state that the restatement results from the correction of errors, or, if restatement was determined by management to be unnecessary, state that the errors were immaterial to prior periods." Operators such as Red Lobster and Olive Garden parent Darden Restaurants Inc.; Brinker International, operator of the Chili's and Macaroni Grill concepts; and Carl's Jr. parent company CKE Restaurants Inc., have all restated financials due to lease accounting errors.
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