• Dec. 30, 2016, 10:24 AM
    • The restaurant sector heads into 2017 with plenty of uncertainty as the impact of a new administration is hard to quantify. In general, operators in the U.S. have felt pressure from higher labor costs and soft traffic trends, although a post-election surge in consumer confidence bodes well.
    • A few restaurant sector morsels are posted below.
    • Top performers of 2016: RCI Hospitality Holdings (NASDAQ:RICK) +79%, Arco Dorados (NYSE:ARCO) +73%, Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK) +49%, Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) +48%, Biglari Holdings (NYSE:BH) +48%.
    • Worst performers of 2016: Bravo Brio Restaurant Group (NASDAQ:BBRG) -58%, Noodles (NASDAQ:NDLS) -56%, Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT) -40%, One Group Hospitality (NASDAQ:STKS) -26%, Habit Restaurants (NASDAQ:HABT) -25%.
    • Lowest forward P/E ratios: One Group Hospitality 8.50, RCI Hospitality 10.24, DineEquity (NYSE:DIN) 12.30, Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN) 12.57, Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) 13.21.
    • Highest dividend yields: DineEquity 4.99%, Ark Restaurants (NASDAQ:ARKR) 4.28%, Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM) 3.21%, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) 3.06%, Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) 3.04%.
    • Highest operating margins: Dunkin' Brands (NASDAQ:DNKN) 42%, Wingstop (NASDAQ:WING) 32%, McDonald's 31%, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (NASDAQ:PLKI) 27%, Nathan's (NASDAQ:NATH) 27%.
    • Now what's the most appetizing pick in the sector?
    • Related ETF: MENU.
    Dec. 30, 2016, 10:24 AM | 21 Comments
  • Dec. 20, 2016, 7:07 AM
    • Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) reports same-restaurant sales increased 1.7% in FQ2 to improve 40 bps sequentially. Six out of seven of the company's chains recorded positive same-store sales growth for the quarter.
    • Same-restaurants sales by brand: Olive Garden +2.6%, Longhorn Steakhouse +0.1%, Capital Grille +1.2%, Yard Hosue 0.7%, Eddie V's +2.7%, Seasons 52 -0.3%, Bahama Breeze +2.6%.
    • Darden reaffirmed FY17 EPS guidance of $3.87 to $3.97.. The company expects FY17 same-restaurant sales growth of 1% to 2%.
    • Previously: Darden Restaurants EPS in-line, misses on revenue (Dec. 20)
    • DRI +0.03% premarket to $75.70.
    Dec. 20, 2016, 7:07 AM
  • Dec. 20, 2016, 7:01 AM
    • Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI): FQ2 EPS of $0.64 in-line.
    • Revenue of $1.64B (+1.9% Y/Y) misses by $10M.
    • Press Release
    Dec. 20, 2016, 7:01 AM
  • Dec. 19, 2016, 5:30 PM
    Dec. 19, 2016, 5:30 PM | 13 Comments
  • Dec. 14, 2016, 4:52 PM
    • Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) declares $0.56/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 2.93%
    • Payable Feb. 1; for shareholders of record Jan. 10; ex-div Jan. 6.
    Dec. 14, 2016, 4:52 PM
  • Dec. 12, 2016, 1:04 PM
    • Fitch expects market share to shift in the restaurant sector in 2017.
    • The research firms forecasts food away from home sales to increase 4% next year vs. 5% growth in 2016.
    • "Even as the job market improves, consumers are looking for relatively low price points and the convenience to order online when they eat away from home," says Fitch director Carla Norfleet Taylor.
    • "With persistent food price deflation, deal promotions will likely be a tactic restaurants use to get people in the door," she adds.
    • Fitch thinks Starbucks (SBUX -0.4%) and Darden Restaurants (DRI -0.8%) will gain market share due to their strong positions in coffee and to-go, respectively. McDonald's (MCD +0.1%) is seen losing U.S. market share as specialty burger competitors continue to rise and Brinker International's (EAT -1.6%) high exposure to energy-dependent markets is seen as a negative.
    • Related ETF: MENU.
    Dec. 12, 2016, 1:04 PM | 5 Comments
  • Dec. 8, 2016, 11:35 AM
    • Donald Trump is expected to name CKE Restaurants CEO Andy Puzder as the labor secretary. An official announcement is expected shortly.
    • Puzder can be expected to be sympathetic to restaurant companies on the crucial issues of minimum wages, overtime rules, the Affordable Care Act and franchiser joint employee rules.
    • Related ETFs: BITE, MENU.
    Dec. 8, 2016, 11:35 AM | 62 Comments
  • Dec. 1, 2016, 1:15 PM
    • Darden Restaurants (DRI +2.8%) rallies after a strong endorsement arrive from Guggenheim.
    • Analyst Matthew Difrisco says he has "increased confidence" the company can deliver earnings outperformance.
    • Difrisco's new price target of $88 on Darden stands out in the crowd (average Street PT=$70.11).
    Dec. 1, 2016, 1:15 PM | 3 Comments
  • Nov. 29, 2016, 10:35 AM
    • Darden Restaurants (DRI -1.6%) trades lower after Credit Suisse downgrades the restaurant stock to Neutral due to valuation.
    • Shares look overvalued even factoring in a higher premium for Darden in comparison to casual dining peers.
    • CS adjusts its price target on Darden to $72. Darden traded as high as $74.99 last week.
    Nov. 29, 2016, 10:35 AM | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 28, 2016, 11:41 AM
    • Maxim turns cautious on Darden Restaurants (DRI -1.3%) after shares rose 20% in less than two months. Shares are rated at Neutral.
    • The long-term view on the restaurant operator from Maxim is still positive with Darden building new high-end restaurants and the labor regulatory environment expected to ease.
    • The investment firm also shifts to Neutral on Cracker Barrel (CBRL -1.5%) on a similar outlook. Shares of CBRL are up 18% since the U.S. election.
    • Source: Bloomberg
    Nov. 28, 2016, 11:41 AM | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 17, 2016, 11:49 AM
    • It's been a frisky few weeks for restaurant stocks as 41 out of 51 companies with a market cap of over $50M are in positive territory for the period. Some pleasing reports during the earnings season and a positive read on the sector post-election have factored in to the gains for the previously beaten-down sector.
    • +20% gainers over the last month include Red Robin Gourmet Burgers (NASDAQ:RRGB), Fogo De Chao (NASDAQ:FOGO) and Texas Roadhouse (NASDAQ:TXRH).
    • +10% risers include Denny's (NASDAQ:DENN), Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD), Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL), Chuy's Holdings (NASDAQ:CHUY), Ruth's Hospitality (NASDAQ:RUTH), Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (NASDAQ:PLKI), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), Bojangles (NASDAQ:BOJA), Del Frisco's Restaurant Group (NASDAQ:DFRG), Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE) and Wendy's (NYSE:WEN).
    • A piece in the WSJ today argues that investors may want to consider selling out of restaurant names after the recent rally.
    • Related ETF: BITE.
    Nov. 17, 2016, 11:49 AM | 3 Comments
  • Nov. 15, 2016, 9:52 AM
    • Amazon (AMZN +2.6%announced today that it launched its one-hour restaurant delivery service in Irvine, California. More than 50 restaurants are included in the program, with most appearing to be independent operators.
    • Amazon Restaurants is now active in six California cities. The program is for Prime members only and includes no mark-ups from the pricing listed on the restaurants' menus.
    • A broader roll-out of Amazon Restaurants could eventually threaten InstaCart, GrubHub (NYSE:GRUB), HelloFresh and Blue Apron - as well as nip at after work takeout traffic at Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ:WFM). It could also be a concern for operators such as DineEquity (NYSE:DIN), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI) and Brinker International (NYSE:EAT) as it gives independent restaurants a formidable partner.
    Nov. 15, 2016, 9:52 AM | 20 Comments
  • Nov. 9, 2016, 6:47 AM
    Nov. 9, 2016, 6:47 AM | 118 Comments
  • Oct. 17, 2016, 1:18 PM
    Oct. 17, 2016, 1:18 PM | 5 Comments
  • Oct. 17, 2016, 5:33 AM
    • In just one recent week alone, three restaurant companies filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection - Cosi (OTCPK:COSIQ), Rita Restaurant (Don Pablo), and Garden Fresh Corp. (Souplantation, Sweet Tomatoes). At least five other operators have done the same this year.
    • Rattled by so many filings in such a short time frame, industry experts now say to expect more bankruptcies, closings, consolidations, and management shake-ups. Famous Dave's of America (NASDAQ:DAVE) is in the midst of closing many of its barbecue restaurants and last week named its fourth new CEO in four years.
    • Late this summer, Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT) announced plans to close almost 100 locations, and Bob Evans (NASDAQ:BOBE) in April shuttered 27 restaurants on top of 20 closed last year.
    • Behind the problems: Restaurant supply for years up until 2014 had been growing even as foot traffic hadn't. While restaurants have seen net closings since, other options have been drawing away even more customers - think meal-kit delivery services like Blue Apron, better prepared meal choices at supermarkets, and improved offerings at convenience stores.
    • "Restaurants are competing against a lot of those other choices, not just restaurants,” Darden (NYSE:DRI) CEO Eugene Lee told investors earlier this month.
    • Source: Julie Jargon and Lillian Rizzo at the WSJ
    Oct. 17, 2016, 5:33 AM | 8 Comments
  • Oct. 14, 2016, 2:54 PM
    • Piper Jaffray is out with the results of its annual Taking Stock With Teens Survey. The top brands listed by the 10K teens included in the survey are posted below.
    • Top clothing brands: Nike (NYSE:NKE) 29%, American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) 9%, Forever 21 5%, Ralph Lauren (NYSE:RL) 4%, Urban Outfitters (NASDAQ:URBN) 3%.
    • Top handbag brands: Michael Kors (NYSE:KORS) 34%, Kate Spade (NYSE:KATE) 19%, Coach (NYSE:COH) 10%, Louis Vuitton (OTCPK:LVMHF) 5%, Longchamp Vera Bradley (NASDAQ:VRA) 3%.
    • Top footwear brands: Nike 51%, Vans (NYSE:VFC) 9%, Converse 7%, Adidas (OTCQX:ADDYY) 6%, Steven Madden (NASDAQ:SHOO) 2%.
    • Top restaurant chains: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) 14%, Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) 11%, Chick-fil-A 10%, Taco Bell (NYSE:YUM) 3%, Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) 3%, McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) 3%, Olive Garden (NYSE:DRI) 3%.
    • Nothing earth-shattering in the tech results, dominating teen mindspace are Snapchat (Private:CHAT), YouTube, Instagram and Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).
    Oct. 14, 2016, 2:54 PM | 44 Comments