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Mar. 7, 2015, 10:13 AM
- A powerhouse quarter of improved comps and widened margins is in the books for the restaurant industry as investors look forward to see if the trend extends.
- The industry is in a growth phase with eating and drinking establishments adding 58.7K jobs in February on a seasonally adjusted basis to mark the biggest monthly gain since December of 2012.
- The early read on Q1 traffic is favorable (ex-weather), although chains could see some wage inflation pressure and innovation outlays with differentiated concepts popping up at Habit Restaurants (NASDAQ:HABT), Zoe's Kitchen (NYSE:ZOES), Shake Shack (NYSE:SHAK), and a host of others.
- Major digital initiatives at chains such as Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) and Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) also have the potential to be disruptive.
- A few screens to pick through the restaurant stock menu are listed below.
- Lowest forward P/E ratio: McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Ruth's Hospitality (NASDAQ:RUTH), and Cracker Barrel (NASDAQ:CBRL).
- Lowest price/free cash flow ratio: Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RT), Nathan's (NASDAQ:NATH), Jack in the Box (NASDAQ:JACK).
- Dividend yield +3%: DineEquity (NYSE:DIN), Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI), McDonald's, and Arcos Dorados (NYSE:ARCO).
- Top YTD performers: Jack in the Box (JACK), Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN), Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC), El Pollo LoCo (NASDAQ:LOCO).
- PEG ratio below 2.00: Chuy's Holdings (NASDAQ:CHUY), Ruth's Hospitality, Krispy Kreme Donuts (NYSE:KKD), Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE), Brinker International (NYSE:EAT), Denny's (NASDAQ:DENN), Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD).
- Short ratio below 2%: Yum Brands (NYSE:YUM), Jack in the Box (JACK), Chipotle (NYSE:CMG), DineEquity, Bloomin' Brands (NASDAQ:BLMN), Denny's (DENN), McDonald's (MCD).
- Previously: Restaurant stocks continue hot streak (Feb. 24)
Mar. 2, 2015, 2:34 PM
- Coffee prices are in retreat as extended rain in Brazil and increased production capacity has helped to soothe the market and push up forecasts on output.
- Data from the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission indicates a sharp drop in bullish bets on coffee as experts now ease off some previous concerns on supply vs. demand.
- Arabica prices are still higher than where they were a year ago.
- There could be a lag factor for many companies to see a benefit from lower coffee commodity costs. Starbucks tipped off during its FQ1 earnings call (transcript) it has 94% of its 2015 coffee needs already priced.
- Arabica coffee price chart
- Related stocks: GMCR, SBUX, JVA, SJM, KRFT, DNKN
- Related ETFs: JO
Mar. 2, 2015, 10:26 AM
- Starbucks (SBUX +0.7%) introduces the Starbucks Reserve subscription service.
- Subscribers receive a new original coffee every month within days of the small-lot coffee being roasted.
- The company is charging $24 per month for the service.
- A single purchase of the Reserve coffee of the current month is also available.
- What to watch: Starbucks is attempting to stay ahead of the burgeoning craft coffee market after seeing the disruption craft played in the beer industry.
Feb. 26, 2015, 7:18 PM
- Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is the highest quality large cap story in the restaurant sector, according to a bullish note from Jefferies.
- The revival in U.S. restaurant traffic sets up well for Starbucks which is pushing new growth channels in food and tea.
- The investment firm took its price target on SBUX up to $108 on confidence EPS growth can stay comfortably at a double-digit rate.
- Piper and Wedbush are also in the Starbucks $100 PT club.
Feb. 26, 2015, 10:42 AM
- Shares of J.M. Smucker (SJM +1%) and Dunkin Brands' (DNKN +2.9%) are both higher after the two companies sign a deal to broaden distribution for Dunkin' Donuts K-cups.
- J.M. Smucker is handling distribution to grocery stores and club chains, while Keurig Green Mountain (GMCR -0.1%) will cover office supply stores and specialty stores.
- Perhaps the most important aspect of the new distribution deal is that Dunkin' K-Cup packs will now be sold online.
- The K-cup shakeup isn't expected by most analysts to have a major impact on Starbucks (SBUX +0.2%) which is also a Keurig partner. Smaller coffee brands could suffer though.
Feb. 18, 2015, 4:02 PM
- The International Coffee Organization expects global coffee demand to rise 25% by 2021.
- Expectations for rising demand in China, India, and Latin America is partially behind the strong forecast.
- The coffee market is under pressure currently from tight supply due to crop difficulties in Brazil.
- A sharp drop in the real has counterbalanced the supply shortage to a degree.
- Related stocks: GMCR, SBUX, JVA, SJM, KRFT, DNKN
- Related ETFs: JO
Feb. 18, 2015, 2:09 PM
- JPMorgan sees a bounce in retail sales over the next two quarters as stronger employment rates and lower gas prices underpin demand.
- A screen by JP dug out the 12 stocks which show the largest correlation with headline retail sales growth.
- A dozen to watch in retail: GM, F, COH, SBUX, BWA, DLPH, VFC, IPG, LB, OMC, TSCO, HOG
Feb. 17, 2015, 2:26 PM
Feb. 14, 2015, 10:13 AM
- Craft soda is starting to become a trend to watch closely, according to industry insiders.
- Though still accounting for only ~1% of the total U.S. soda market, major retail chains have increasingly been willing to bet on local craft brands in store aisles.
- The craft craze is old news for the beer industry where coming-of-age millennials buy craft/local beers at a 50% higher rate than brand-loyal older generations. Fading stars such as Budweiser and Bud Light are testament to the impact of the millennial paradigm.
- The craft influence in coffee hasn't been lost on Starbucks which has strategically deployed trucks on college campuses in an effort to win over students.
- Despite the progressive reputation of Starbucks, analysts think new upstarts such as Craft (subscription) and Cups (app) have a shot of gaining influence with the Indie-minded millennial crowd on "customization" and pricing.
- What to watch: An increase in M&A activity in the beverage sector is expected as major companies strategically pick off more local craft brands to incubate.
- Craft beer watch: BUD, OTCPK:SBMRY, TAP, OTCQX:HEINY, SAM, BREW, STZ, OTC:BIBLF, OTCPK:BRBMF.
- Craft coffee watch: GMCR, SBUX, JVA, SJM, KRFT, DNKN, QSR, MCD.
- Craft soda watch: PEP, KO, MNST, COT, DPS, OTCQB:JSDA, REED, SODA, FIZZ.
Feb. 12, 2015, 9:43 AM
- The read on retail sales in the U.S. isn't nearly as bad as the headline -0.8% M/M drop for January.
- Retail sales were up 3.3% compared to a year ago with a few sectors showing strong growth.
- Restaurant sales +11.3% Y/Y: The strong read follows up on a positive report from Black Box Intelligence on the sector. CAKE, CBRL, CMG, DPZ, DRI, EAT, JACK, PNRA, RRGB, RT, SBUX, SONC, WEN, BWLD, BDL, NATH, LUB, CHUY, BLMN, PZZA, TXRH, DENN, KKD, BBRG, DFRG, BOBE, RUTH, IRG, DIN, HABT, NDLS, PLKI, LOCO, YUM, KKD, TAST, GTIM, FRSH, COSI, FRS, PBPB, FRGI, QSR, CBRL, BLMN, ZOES.
- Sporting goods +8.0% Y/Y: DKS, BGFV, CAB, HIBB, SPWH.
- Building material and garden +6.9% Y/Y: A favorable weather compare came to the aid of this category. HD, LOW, LL.
- Health and personal care +6.6% Y/Y: Online channels have contributed for companies selling beauty and health items. ULTA, SBH, CVS, WBA, RAD.
Feb. 11, 2015, 10:37 AM
- Chain restaurants recorded their strongest pace of same-store sales in six years during January at 6.1%, according to data from Black Box Intelligence.
- An easier weather compare, $2 gas, and a more stable economic backdrop were factors.
- Traffic was up 2.4% during the month.
- The sales lift was delivered without much help from McDonald's which saw a marginal +0.4% comp gain.
- Comp sales in the Midwest improved 11.2% after the region had a much easier time with weather during January than a year ago.
- Chains with a large focus in the Midwest include Steak 'n Shake (NYSE:BH), Jimmy John's, Culvers, and Bob Evans (NASDAQ:BOBE).
- Restaurant stocks: CAKE, CBRL, CMG, DPZ, DRI, EAT, JACK, PNRA, RRGB, RT, SBUX, SONC, WEN, BWLD, BDL, NATH, LUB, CHUY, BLMN, PZZA, TXRH, DENN, KKD, BBRG, DFRG, BOBE, RUTH, IRG, DIN, HABT, NDLS, PLKI, LOCO, YUM, KKD, TAST, GTIM, FRSH, COSI, FRS, PBPB, FRGI, QSR, CBRL, BLMN, ZOES.
Feb. 4, 2015, 9:35 AM| Feb. 4, 2015, 9:35 AM | 11 Comments
Feb. 3, 2015, 11:15 AM
- The integration of mobile ordering is a major theme in the restaurant industry this year.
- Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) and Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) have raised the bar the highest, while peers have gone into chase mode.
- Today, Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN) reported a significant 3% sales lift in a 35-unit test run of an app order/dedicated drive-through program (h/t Barbarian Capital, Wendy's Investor Day webcast ).
- Two companies struggling with their drive-through windows due to kitchen complexity, Panera Bread (NASDAQ:PNRA) and McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), have their eyes on in-store ways to boost sales. In the case of McDonald's, the plan is to use self-order kiosks.
- Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) reports Q4 results after the bell today where there will be a focus on if the company's new mobile app had any impact on pick-up orders.
Jan. 23, 2015, 11:25 AM
- Analysts note McDonald's is not a bellwether stock for the restaurant industry anymore as the sector has many more names putting in gains today than losses despite the poor sales report from the Golden Arches.
- The quick (and perhaps obvious) take from within the sector is that chains sticking with a simple laser-focused message are winning out. Chipotle, Wendy's, and Domino's all fit that description.
- The copycat approach of McDonald's (McCafe, wings, premium burgers) and Olive Garden (prior to Starboard) hasn't worked, while a measured pace to expansion in new markets has also paid off (Starbucks vs. KFC).
- Previously: Restaurant comps ignited off of $2 gas effect (Jan. 09 2015)
- Previously: $2 gas little help to McDonald's in Q4 (Jan. 23 2015)
- Restaurant stocks: CAKE, CBRL, CMG, DPZ, DRI, EAT, JACK, PNRA, RRGB, RT, SBUX, SONC, WEN, BWLD, BDL, NATH, LUB, CHUY, BLMN, PZZA, TXRH, DENN, KKD, BBRG, DFRG, BOBE, RUTH, IRG, DIN, HABT, NDLS, PLKI, LOCO, YUM, KKD, BOBE, TAST, GTIM, FRSH, COSI, FRS, PBPB, FRGI, QSR, CBRL, BLMN, MFRD, ZOES, MCD, YUM.
Jan. 23, 2015, 9:51 AM
- Starbucks (SBUX +5.7%) execs talked more about the future than the past quarter during its conference call last night.
- Delivery: The company will roll out two different models, say execs. One will be an in-house solution and the second will be in partnership with another company. A sales lift is expected from the venture.
- China: The comp in China outpaced the overall +8% pace of the CAP segment.
- Mobile: The order-by-app service will be expanded to more than 600 stores in the Pacific Northwest. A question on the functionality of ordering a hot drink for pickup is tackled eagerly and pretty effectively.
- Packaged coffee: The company's massive loyalty program seems to be helping grocery sales. Starbucks increased market share for packaged coffee to over 28% in Q4 and topped 30% for the key week of the holiday period.
- Commodity costs: Starbucks sees "significant" coffee pricing advantages in Q1, but that environment easing off in the back half of the year. Dairy and diesel costs should become more favorable in the back half (hedges play a factor).
- The big picture: CEO Howard Schultz brings back up the "seismic" shift in consumer behavior by saying the shift to digital/mobile/delivery won't work for many brick-and-mortar mainstays. The company is planning on leveraging its 9M My Starbucks Rewards members in making the jump.
- Starbucks earning call transcript
Jan. 22, 2015, 6:03 PM
- Kevin Johnson, once the CEO of telecom equipment vendor Juniper Networks and before that a senior Microsoft exec, has been named Starbucks' (NASDAQ:SBUX) president and COO, effective March 1. Johnson has been on Starbucks' board since 2009.
- News of the hiring comes two weeks after Starbucks announced Troy Alstead would be stepping down as COO.
- SBUX +3.9% AH to new all-time highs in response to its in-line FQ1 results, healthy comps, and FY15 revenue guidance reiteration.
Starbucks Corp is the roaster, marketer & retailer of specialty coffee in the world, operating in 65 countries. It sells a variety of coffee & tea products. It sells goods and services under brands under Teavana, Tazo, Seattle's Best Coffee, etc.
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