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Heather Williams

 
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  • Potbelly: Not A Turnaround Quarter, But All Hope Is Not Lost [View article]
    Throughput is a huge problem since the customer is waiting once to place the order and again to receive the order. Having multiple POS areas (or in-line order takers, which I believe some PBPB locations do have) will help alleviate the first wait but may increase the second wait period. The CMG (and similar firms) concept with just one wait time, is an advantage for them.
    Nov 7 05:27 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Unlocking Of The Block's Repurchase Program Is Not The Only Value Creator For HRB [View article]
    Hi - I started to write a response but it ended up being a lot longer than I thought. Here is the link to a new article that explains my thoughts.

    http://bit.ly/1u0HfbF
    Oct 14 12:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Fred's Dead Or Pushing Ahead? [View article]
    If the Cardinal Health Agreement yields $250 million annual product cost savings that would be huge for FRED, considering FRED had about $730 million in annual pharma sales, FY ended 2/14 (which will increase this year). Quick approximate math - using the gross margin for that year for pharma gross margin for that year (pre-margin compression, ~29%), would almost half the prior year annual COGS for pharma, ~$520 -> ~$270 million. The bigger question (for me anyways) would be why is there such a discrepancy between AmerisourceBergen and Cardinal. Any thoughts?
    Sep 25 05:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Culp Worth A Look Before And After Earnings [View article]
    Hi Seterk,

    Yahoo Finance had posted the incorrect earnings date (earlier) on its site for awhile. Culp did not have any press release on its site that stated an earlier date and then moved back.

    Part of the confusion may be that this is a 14 week quarter, ending in first week of August versus last week of July.

    The timing of the Q1 2014 call/earnings release from the close of the quarter (one week later) is the same as Q1 2013 call earnings release so I don't see any issues with that. Hope that helps.
    Sep 4 12:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ride The Wave And Get Out Of Famous Dave's [View article]
    Hi Paul,

    The top and board have been a whirlwind since 2012. Here is a timeline that I hope helps you from my notes. The blurb biography is pasted from the filing or press release. Active large SH are noted with the firm in () besides their names. The BOD has 5 members currently.

    Timeline of Events

    October 2012 – Gilbert elected as CEO, O’Donnell (former CEO) as COO
    Gilbert has been on the Famous Dave's board for a year and also serves on the Board of Ignite Restaurant Group, parent of Joe's Crab Shack. Gilbert had served as President and CEO of Vermont Teddy Bear since 2009. Vermont Teddy Bear is a leading ecommerce retailer. Prior to Vermont Teddy Bear, he served as the Chief Marketing Officer for the TJX companies, the world's largest off-price retailer. Additionally, Gilbert has nearly 20 years of restaurant experience, including top brand leadership roles at Dunkin Donuts, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and TGIFriday's restaurants.
    November 2013 – BOD to increase to 7 from 6 and add Adam Wright (Blue Clay)

    Q1 – when the discounting stopped
    January 2014 – Board of Directors increased to 8 from 7, with addition of Rensi
    Mr. Rensi is a founder of America's Better Burger, LLC, d/b/a Tom & Eddie's, and has served as its President and Chief Executive Officer since 2009. He was an owner and Chief Executive Officer of Team Rensi Motorsports, which competed in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, from 1998 until January 2013. Mr. Rensi was President and Chief Executive Officer of McDonald's U.S.A., a food service organization, from 1991 to 1997. Mr. Rensi currently serves as a director of Snap-On Incorporated. Mr. Rensi previously served as a director of Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. until May 2012, International Speedway Corporation until April 2012, and Freedom Group, Inc. until 2011. Mr. Rensi earned a Bachelor of Science degree in business education from The Ohio State University. 8.01
    February 10, 2014 – Gilbert resigns as CEO, effective immediately, Rensi replaces as interim CEO
    February 20, 2014 Chairman of BOD, Doolin, will resign
    March 3, 2014 – O’Donnell asked to resign as COO and President

    Q2
    May 19, 2014 – Pawloski signs employment agreement to become CFO. Mr. Pawlowski, age 39, has significant experience in acquisition and turnaround strategies, particularly with regard to restaurant companies, and was most recently CEO and co-founder of Capitol C Holdings, LLC, a restaurant development, acquisition and operating company.
    May 21, 2014 – 2 BOD, Kro and Monfort resign
    May 22, 2014 – Purcel, CFO since 2008 agrees to termination agreement and to stay on until July
    May 22, 2014 – Lennon (Pleasant Lake Partners) and Heffes, independent
    June 6, 2014 – Riesen resigns effective immediately from BOD
    June 12, 2014 – Notice of non-compliance from NASDAQ Listing Rule 6505 (BOD independence re: audit committee), no action taken on delisting as DAVE is given time to cure deficiency

    Q3
    July 28, 2014 – Mastrocola (Pleasant Lake Partners) Chairman of Board
    Aug 14 02:57 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ride The Wave And Get Out Of Famous Dave's [View article]
    Hi Ziskan,

    On the COGS margin - this is really firm specific since each concept uses different items, some are heavy beef buyers, others chicken, pork, etc. Some have contracted their purchases, others have not.

    For the labor margins - this is a problem faced by certain firms in the near term. There are really two wage to consider in the restaurant industry. First, the the minimum wage which $7.25/hr at the federal level and higher (and rising) in state and local jurisdictions. The second wage rate is the tipped employee wage rate which is $2.13/hr at the federal level and higher and (and rising) in state and local jurisdictions. Some states have the tipped employee wage rate at the same rate as the non-tipped employee rate.

    So those firms with company owned operations in states with a rising minimum wage will face pressure in 2H '14 and onward, as many states have incremental wage rate hikes in place. Firms who don't have a footprint or only have franchise operations, which typically take a percent of sales and thus the franchisees take the increase, in those states with a rise in wage won't feel the pressure.

    Hope this helps.
    Aug 14 02:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Whoa Nellie, Who's Confused About Pot Belly? [View article]
    It's interesting to note the amount of the share repurchase program is almost equal to the amount that Morgan Stanley recently exited position (~10%).
    Aug 9 07:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Whoa Nellie, Who's Confused About Pot Belly? [View article]
    Hi Benjikrigs,

    Perhaps you are right and that management is on the wrong track by identifying loyalty to GMs as a problem. May be a good short option for you since they are exerting significant effort to correct it? Good luck.

    Best,
    Heather
    Aug 8 02:32 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why I Think Buffalo Wild Wings Gave A Conservative Earnings Estimate And Why It Should Be Exceeded [View article]
    Hi,

    I should have made this point a little more explicit. I didn't meant the conservative scenario-as usual, as a range. I wanted to use the scenario to point out that management known for conservative guidance could conceive it and therefore give a 25% growth target. I think the likelihood of this is very low. I think the as usual (if not better) is much more likely given BWLD's current trend. BWLD SSS looks more impressive in light of some other restaurants SSS. General market pullback may present a good entry point. Cheers!
    Aug 8 01:31 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Off-Balance Sheet Items Are Moving Back On: These Pharmacies Better Be Ready [View article]
    Hi Satyr,

    I wanted to address some of your comments. First, I very much agree that analysts need to adjust GAAP numbers to their needs (otherwise I wouldn't have written the article). I did not adjust for purchase commitments or other disclosed off the balance sheet items because they are minute compared to the leases.

    Second regarding the debt covenants, there have been comment letters submitted to the FASB regarding this problem. It's my understanding that credit ratings firms certainly take operating lease into account but banks do not necessarily. And if they did the covenants are written in such a way that firms would be in technical violation of them.

    http://bit.ly/1hAA5WD

    Also here is an article with some information and quotes from industry, accounting firms and bankers addressing the issue as well.

    http://bit.ly/1hAA6cV

    The last bit of information from the president of International Bancshares Corp. regarding capital requirements makes me wonder if the contracts can be easily rewritten.

    Regarding my comments on Walgreens and Rite Aid, this article is not intended for hedge funds or institutional investors but rather the SA members who may not read every 10k in its entirety or have considered the leases in this light.

    Lastly, I want to be clear that I am neither advocating shorting any of the three firms nor longing CVS. I simply mean to point out that CVS (perhaps because its business is different than WAG and RAD) appears to be a better investment under this analysis than Walgreens and Rite Aid. Moreover, investors who may have based their decisions, without making the adjustment for the off the balance sheet items, may want to reconsider their investment.
    Mar 19 08:04 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • 4 Potential Hurdles For The Restaurant Industry [View article]
    Hi John,

    For the federal tipped wage increase, the proposed bill by Harkin and Miller

    http://1.usa.gov/1lgl3YB

    is very similar to the White House's executive order on federal contractors, where tipped employees would be paid 70% of the federal minimum wage. This law would be federal and override state law.

    http://1.usa.gov/1lgl1zO

    Because the proposal links the tipped employee minimum wage to the actual minimum wage, it should increase every time there is a change in the minimum wage. However, there is a phase in period over a few years.

    For the calculation, I estimated 90% of tipped employees would need their wages increased (10% of stores were located in states that had higher required minimum tipped employee wages). I used an average for the "underpaid" tipped employee wage and did not go state by state with store count and exact tipped minimum wage, which would have given a more refined estimate.

    For the study, here are their presentations that give more detail. You may be interested in their findings regarding "fat tax" and "thin subsidies."

    http://bit.ly/1lgl3YD

    http://bit.ly/1lgl4eW

    Additionally, I came across a later paper (2012) by the same authors titled "Effect of Menu Labeling on Caloric Intake and Restaurant Revenue in Full-Service Restaurants," which may be of interest. However, it has been removed at the request of the authors.

    http://bit.ly/1lgl4eY

    Best,
    Heather
    Mar 8 12:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T's Pension Plastic Surgery: Bad For Pensioners, Worse For Shareholders [View article]
    I have no position on T.
    Oct 1 12:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T's Pension Plastic Surgery: Bad For Pensioners, Worse For Shareholders [View article]
    For cash balance plans the investment risk is borne by the employer. They are typically insured with certain limitations. More information can be found at

    http://www.pbgc.gov
    Oct 1 12:03 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • AT&T's Pension Plastic Surgery: Bad For Pensioners, Worse For Shareholders [View article]
    Like AT&T, the pension obligation is much larger than the plan assets at Verizon creating a pension liability which may present problems down the line. However, Verizon’s pension assets do not contain a significant amount of “employer securities” as AT&T proposes to add to its pension assets in its Notice of Exemption. The risk of a subsidiary missing a dividend payment which would render the parent unable to pay a dividend, as proposed in AT&T’s Notice, is not present for Verizon.
    Oct 1 12:02 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
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