Restaurant Stocks to Buy

7 Restaurant Stocks to Buy: Starbucks (SBUX)

Starbucks185 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for ProfitsOne of most famous poster children of discretionary spending is Starbucks(SBUX). Most people still see this as the trendy coffee spot, but over the past few years, SBUX has begun to up its food game.

It’s kind of reverse engineering a casual dining model from a cafe, whereas Panera (PNRA) built a casual dining restaurant with a cafe feel. What it does for SBUX is help boost revenue per customer and extend its revenue stream across the day and evening. The food is fast but quality and surprisingly reasonably priced.

You won’t get a half-pound burger for $5, but you can get grilled cheese, a panini, healthy bistro boxes with hummus and fruit, as well as wraps. All quick, all healthy and all fresh.

This isn’t going to be a gamechanger for SBUX, but it does give the stores more dimension than just a morning place to grab a coffee, or make an afternoon run for an iced macchiatto.

In the last six months the stock is up more than 25%, and there’s a lot of good news that could kick it higher

Darden Restaurants (DRI)

Darden185 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for ProfitsDarden Restaurants (DRI) was famous for its Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants. But it sold Red Lobster and is now in the midst of updating Olive Garden.

The company also owns LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, Seasons 52, The Capital Grille, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood, Wildfish Seafood Grill and Yard House. Many of these are more upscale than their sister shop Olive Garden, and that seems to have been the recent trend in acquiring and growing these brands.

Restaurant stocks are great barometers for the economy. When times are good restaurant stocks soar; when times are bad, only the strong survive. And DRI is certainly one of the savviest restaurant stocks out there.

Last year was tough on DRI but it has turned things around after the sale of Red Lobster and it’s firing on all cylinders again. Net profit margin has more than doubled last year; return on assests has tripled.

The stock is up almost 30% in the past year.As the economy regains momentum and more business start to spend DRI is in great shape to reap the benefits. Add to all that, DRI has a nice dividend around 3.4%.

Cracker Barrel (CBRL)

CrackerBarrel185 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for ProfitsCracker Barrel (CBRL) is one of the great American restaurant chains, especially for travelers. The first one was built in Lebanon, Tennessee, between Nashville and Knoxville by Dan Evins in the late 1960s. His idea was simple; give travelers good homestyle food in a homestyle setting once they get off the road for bit.

The first one opened in September 1969. By 1977 there were 13, from Tennessee to Georgia. Today there are more than 600 in 42 states.

Sales for restaurants open for at least a year (a key measure in this market) were up 5% in the most recent quarter. It also raised its dividend and declared a special $3 a share dividend on Aug. 5, for shareholders as of July 17.

CBRL has a nearly 3% dividend, which is certainly a nice bonus to its 46% stock price move in the past year.

The biggest surprise is, most Americans have yet to hit the highways, so its recent quarterly surprise suggests that coming quarters will also be strong as well.

Jack In The Box (BOX)

jack in the box jack stock 185 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for ProfitsJack In The Box (JACK) is a classic West Coast burger joint that over the decades established a national foothold. But it’s always been a quirky chain, without the spark and brimstone of McDonald’s (MCD) or Burger King(BKW). But it’s a major player; it just doesn’t act like it.

Let’s just say it’s the class clown of quick-service restaurants. It also runs Mexican eatery Qdoba, which is a new “fresh and fast” style of burritos, tacos and salads. Combined the operation has 2,888 stores across the country.

Recently Qdoba has been the engine of growth for the company. In the first quarter, same store sales were up 14% and the average check was up 9%.

JACK stock overall was up 4.4% in same store sales for the quarter. Some of the difference could be the fact that since JACK specializes in hamburgers and the cost of beef rose, its margins were a bit tighter than Qdoba, which has more non-beef options.

Qdoba is a great asset for JACK since it offsets the classic burger joint fare by adding products and a niche that can draw in an entirely different kind of customer — and is doing so.

Texas Roadhouse (TXRH)

texas roadhouse txrh stock 185 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for ProfitsTexas Roadhouse (TXRH) is a family-oriented oriented steakhouse; theOutback Steakhouse of the American west. This isn’t a bargain spot, it’s a mid-priced restaurant focused on family … and steak.

It’s working. It reported its most recent quarterly numbers in early May and TXRH is growing top line and bottom line. This is a classic restaurant stock in growth phase mode.

TXRH has 450 restaurants and expects to add 30 more by the end of 2015, including some of its new Bubba 33 sports bars in select markets.

Revenues were 16% for the quarter, operating income grew 21% and net income jumped 22%. Sales growth was led the industry — 8.9% for company restaurants and 8% for franchise restaurants.

The stock is up 38% in the past year, but the current numbers are very encouraging, considering it hit these numbers in bad weather with prices for many inputs spiking. The spring and summer look very promising indeed.

TXRH also has a nearly 2% dividend. Even as it places its money on growth, that’s a good shareholder-friendly sign.

Sonic (SONC)

sonic sonc stock logo 185 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for ProfitsSonic (SONC) has been one of the winners from the devolution of McDonald’s. As MCD has lost market share, SONC has gained it. This hold true for a number of other burger joints, both large and small.

The thing is, it’s easier to increase market share if you’re SONC than it is if you’re say, Wendys (WEN).

And this has helped boost SONC’s numbers as well as its stock price. The stock is up almost 40% in the past year. But as the fast-food model changes, it’s companies like SONC that will be the winners.

The thing about SONC is, this isn’t some retro fad; this is the real deal. From the company’s website:

“Sonic revolutionized the ordering process in 1953 by using curbside speakers that allowed customers to place food orders without ever leaving their cars. This technology spawned the slogan “Service at the Speed of Sound,” which translated to one word: Sonic. Troy Smith Sr. aptly changed the name from Top Hat to Sonic Drive-In in 1959.”

There’s plenty of opportunity here for SONC and having such a long history in the business but having such a enduring and unique footprint should serve the companies 3,500 restaurants well in coming quarters

Denny’s (DENN)

DennysLogo 7 Restaurant Stocks to Feed Your Appetite for Profits“To serve the best cup of coffee, make the best donuts, give the best service, offer the best value and stay open 24 hours a day.” That was the commitment of the owner of Harold Butler when he opened Danny’s Donuts in LA in 1953.

The name changed, but the commitment never has. Denny’s (DENN) now has 1,700 restaurants across the country.

And this classic all night diner with the bargain meals has made a shift to upgrade its restaurants as well as its menus for a generation of nighthawks. And it’s working. Same store sales were up 7.2% in the first quarter and the company is saying that more people are shifting away from the value meals and buying up on the menu.

That is indicative of two things: they customers like the food they’re getting and are willing to try more expensive items; and customers have more money to try new things beyond the reliable bargains.

Either way, it’s a bullish sign. The stock is up 62% in the past year and there’s plenty left where that came from.

Chipotle: Stock might be pricey, but

with these results, no one cares

from Yahoo

A Chipotle Restaurant sign is shown outside a Chipotle Restaurant in San Diego ,California

View photo

A Chipotle Restaurant sign is shown outside a Chipotle Restaurant in San Diego, California in this file photo taken September 24, 2013. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc on Thursday reported a bigger-than-expected increase in sales at established restaurants and a nearly 30 percent rise in earnings, sending shares up more than 10 percent in extended trading. REUTERS/Mike Blake/Files (UNITED STATES – Tags: BUSINESS)

Chipotle (CMG) investors have gotten used to otherworldly performances from the Denver-based burrito seller, and in a few days they’ll find out if they get to gloat once again — or if they instead get to deal with a rare misstep.

The latter would be stunning, almost certainly leading to a sizable drawdown in the shares, but counting on that to happen might best be left for only the most dedicated contrarians. After the close of trading on Tuesday, fourth-quarter earnings are due, and this time, analysts are planning on a profit of $3.79 a share, up from $2.53 in the same quarter last year. Revenue should advance to $1.08 billion, compared with $844.1 million previously. Same-store sales, which have been absurdly strong in recent quarters, are estimated to climb 16.3% after a 9.3% increase a year ago.

If Wall Street proves to be right, the financials will, again, further solidify Chipotle as the leader of the fast-casual restaurants. At the consensus forecast, earnings per share would be up 49.8% from the fourth quarter last year, while revenue would rise 27.4%. Those readings would surpass both the average estimated growth and the average actual growth over all quarters for the past four years. In that time, analysts have projected year-over-year earnings growth of 22% and revenue growth of 20%. Chipotle has regularly done even better, with an average 26% gain for earnings and 22% on sales. This quarter clearly would outpace that.

Chipotle has seen these types of results because it’s found favor with diners almost everywhere it goes. Its run to 1,700 stores, a total that includes ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen and an investment in the owner of Pizzeria Locale, has been accompanied by a stock that’s been outstanding. Shares are up 11 times from the end of 2008, when they were at $62, to the end of 2014, when they closed at $684. And that even includes a down year in 2012.

So far in 2015, the stock’s up another 4.8%, including setting an all-time high at $727.97 on Jan. 8.

Beyond the numbers, Chipotle’s management presumably will offer further detail on operational matters, in particular how sales are being affected by the removal of carnitas from some of its stores — a move taken because a supplier wasn’t meeting Chipotle’s pork-sourcing standards — and the impact of the late January winter storm in the Northeast. The latter is an issue most every retailer operating in the region will have to address, including chain restaurants.

At some point Chipotle has to slow, as businesses do. But betting against the company’s approach, and its stock, has been a terrible idea. Short sellers aren’t especially interested in the risk, even as Chipotle has risen to be one of the largest U.S. restaurants, with a $22 billion market cap. That’s an impressive achievement for a restaurant chain that sells Tex-Mex-style foods and competes in a crowded market. These days, short interest is right around where it was last year, now at 3.9% of the float.


Those who do like to go against the prevailing view will appreciate that several standard valuation measures on the stock are above their five-year averages. The price-to-earnings ratio on the last 12 months’ earnings is 56 vs. a 47.1 average, whereas the forward multiple is 40.1, above the 35.5 average. Analysts’ consensus price goal is now $745.80, compared with about $712 at the current trading level, and around half of the stock’s followers have a buy rating, with the other half a hold. There are no outright sells.

It’s incredibly difficult to argue against the idea that Chipotle is winning, with the customers who are happy to pay higher prices and with investors who are, too. It’s winning with the better-for-you food movement among restaurants that are trying to provide alternatives to large, entrenched brands like Burger King and McDonald’s (MCD) (the Golden Arches used to own a majority holding in Chipotle). The public has gotten on board with its burrito bowls and chips, with management all the time telling the story of more natural ingredients and concern for the environment. It’s done so well over its two-decade history that traders and the media are on a constant search for the restaurant that can be “the next Chipotle.”

The only surprise with next week’s quarterly earnings will be if it doesn’t keep winning.


See more on Franchise restaurants at

Papa Murphy’s The Rising Dough

Papa Murphy’s (FRSH : NASDAQ : US$9.35), Net Change: 0.30, % Change: 3.31%, Volume: 326,661
Vancouver, Washington-based Papa Murphy’s announced financial results for its quarter ended March 31, 2014
The company earned total revenues of $25.1 million, up $5.5 million Y/Y and the results excludes the $1.8 million of revenues in Q1/14 related to the re-sale of point of sale licenses to franchisees at cost.

Domestic comparable store sales increased 3.3%, including an increase of 7.1% for domestic company-owned stores and 3.1% for domestic franchise stores.
Papa Murphy’s adjusted EBITDA increased 33.7% to 7.5 million for the quarter. 21 new Papa Murphy’s stores were opened system-wide, including 19 new domestic franchises, with 2014 outlook expects 105 new domestic franchises to open.

Ken Calwell, President and CEO, stated, “We are pleased to begin fiscal 2014 with impressive increases in revenue and pro forma profitability. Our success continues to be driven by the collective hard work of our team and franchisees, as we continue to help busy parents and families solve the dinnertime dilemma of providing their family with a high-quality, home-cooked meal, at a great value.”

On May 7 of this year, the company successfully completed an IPO of 5,833,333 shares at $11 per share in which the proceeds to Papa Murphy’s, after deducting underwriter discounts, commissions, and estimated offering expenses, were approximately $55.8 million.

The net proceeds from the IPO were used to pay down $55.5 million of existing debt. Calwell
added that the company is excited about the opportunities head of them and believes that they will continue to drive same store sales growth and improve system-wide profitability by executing their initiatives.

An Open Letter To Burger King

I am a business consultant and herewith offer a few observations at no cost !

I used to have my morning coffee at your rival McDonald’s. I received a coupon promotion for coffee – and for 25 cents I thought I’d give your local restaurant a try. First visit – last week – I find the restaurant not open until 8:00 a.m. – so anyone out for coffee won’t head to BK. One of the great lessons a restaurant learns is that the bank charges interest 24 hours a day .

Second visit 8:05 this week – just me and the staff despite the coffee at a fraction of what others charge . The colors of the restaurant are dull – blue / grey. What you learn is that restaurant patrons do not want to be all alone in a large building.

Why aren’t you advertising to the seniors that fill McDonald’s in the early morning ?People attract people – you are not gaining any ” community ” of early morning patrons or folks grabbing something before their commute / office.

Third visit – the aft ernoon. Much busier – but not to your main rival’s level AND importantly – with only two people asking for coffee : 1) the staff relied on remembering our orders – no display terminal 2) my order – coffee with one cream wrong – and had to be redone 3) the staff calls out orders to each other because there was no display screen for orders

This is not a staff problem – the people were friendly and doing their best. You as an organization are failing your clients , staff and shareholders. Great potential – but they used to say the same about me.   Jack A. Bass

Trading Alert COSI Inc.


Cosi, Inc. owns, operates and franchises restaurants, which sells hot and cold sandwiches, freshly-tossed salads, breakfast wraps, Cosi Squagels, hot melts, flatbread pizzas, S’mores and other desserts, and a range of coffees and specialty coffees along with other soft drink beverages, bottled beverages, including premium still and sparkling water, teas and beer and wine in some locations. The Company’s restaurants are located in a range of markets.
The Company Reports Nov 14th and there may be a battle for control – after years of management change and losses.
Jack A. Bass Managed Accounts have a small position – looking for an upturn in the company fortunes.


Above Average
As of 13 Nov 2013 at 2:58 PM EST.


Open 2.25 P/E Ratio (TTM)
Last Bid/Size 2.35 / 2 EPS (TTM) -0.46
Last Ask/Size 2.37 / 8 Next Earnings 14 Nov 2013
Previous Close 2.23 Beta 1.31
Volume 177,490 Last Dividend
Average Volume 104,757 Dividend Yield 0.00%
Day High 2.42 Ex-Dividend Date
Day Low 2.23 Shares Outstanding 18.1M
52 Week High 3.92 # of Floating Shares 11.62715M
52 Week Low 1.90 Short Interest as % of Float 4.04%

Denny’s Serves Up Grand-Slam Returns

By George Leong, B.Comm. for Profit Confidential

We all know that McDonalds Corporation (NYSE/MCD) is the reigning king of the fast food sector and one of the top performers over the past decade, based on my stock analysis.

In fact, my stock analysis suggests that McDonalds’ rivals are trying to emulate what is working at the company rather than compete against the seller of the iconic “Big Mac.”

Burger King Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE/BKW) may be pursuing a similar strategy to McDonalds’ by diversifying its menu offering with new items and value-conscious options, based on my stock analysis.

Yet while Wall Street focuses on McDonalds and its burger-oriented rivals, my stock analysis reveals that a stock that I feel offers better valuation and potential upside is Denny’s Corporation (NASDAQ/DENN). With a market-cap of $552 million, Denny’s is dwarfed by the $102-billion market cap of McDonalds, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a buying opportunity with Denny’s, based on my stock analysis.

In fact, Denny’s is up 50% over the past 52 weeks and has easily outperformed the S&P 500’s advance of 26.8% and McDonalds’ 11.8% gain, according to my technical analysis.

Denny’s is best known for its “Grand Slam” breakfast offerings. The company has gone through a major structural reorganization in which it sold many of its stores to franchisors, thereby reducing its own operating costs and collecting fees instead. As of March 27, 2013, 1,525 of the company’s 1,689 restaurants were franchised. The end results have been stronger operating numbers and a steady rise in the company’s share price, according to my stock analysis.

About 98 restaurants are situated in Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Guam, Curacao, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and New Zealand.

And in an aggressive and bold move, Denny’s has been looking at expanding into the highly competitive Chinese market, where the top players are McDonalds and YUM! Brands, Inc. (NYSE/YUM)—owner of the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) and Taco Bell brands. The company’s deal with Great China International Group was recently cancelled, likely due to some poor results from the top players in China, based on my stock analysis.

On the operations end, Denny’s reported adjusted earnings of $0.08 per diluted share in its first-quarter earnings season, up 48.4% year-over-year and a penny above the Thomson Financial consensus earnings-per-share (EPS) estimates. It was the third straight quarter of outperformance.

On a comparative valuation basis, Denny’s trades at 1.16X trailing sales and has a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of 0.92, versus 3.71X sales and a PEG ratio of 2.04 for McDonalds.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I still believe McDonalds will continue to be the top player in the restaurant and fast foods sector going forward. (Read “The Secret to Success in the Fast Food Sector.”) But for some added potential, a small-cap such as Denny’s makes sense for the aggressive investor, based on my stock analysis.



Jamba Juice
Jamba Juice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Target: US$3.50

Jamba owns the Jamba Juice brand and restaurant system, which through both company-owned and franchised stores is the largest retailer of smoothies in the US. The company also licenses its brand for development of consumer products and is expanding its franchise system internationally.

Investment recommendation

We maintain our BUY rating and continue to believe that Jamba has successfully developed the operating model for an efficient and profitable growth company.
Investment highlights
 JMBA reported EPS of $(0.09); we and the Street were at $(0.11). While the quarter was mixed vs. our forecast, the trends were generally favorable as a slightly softer comp was met with further profitability gains.
 Comps of -1.2% were pretty resilient when viewed against growth of 7.7% in the prior-year period. Comps through the first two months of Q1/13 are surprisingly strong, trending modestly positive against 12.7% growth in Q1/12.
 F2013 guidance is unchanged, as are our EPS forecasts on modestly higher revenue estimates given the stronger Q1 trends thus far.
The shares trade at 11x F2013 forecasted EBITDA. We view the valuation as attractive given the quality of the brand. Our $3.50 12-month price target is increased from $3 reflects 10x our C2014 EBITDA forecast