BJ Restaurants: Shares Attractive With Plans For 425 Establishments

| About: BJ's Restaurants, (BJRI)
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Restaurant and brewhouse operator BJ's Restaurants (NASDAQ:BJRI) reported fourth quarter earnings on Wednesday. The company continues to post positive same store sales growth and strong revenue increases from its expansion efforts. The company ended the quarter with 130 locations and continues to expand its base, setting up shareholders for the future.

In the fourth quarter, revenue increased 8% to $184.8 million. Excluding the comparison of an extra week in 2011, revenue would have been up 17%. Same store sales increased 3% in the fourth quarter and 3.2% in the fiscal year. Earnings per share for the fourth quarter were $0.27. Revenue increased 14% (17% without the extra week) for the entire fiscal year to $708.3 million. For fiscal 2012, BJ's saw earnings per share of $1.12.

There were 16 new restaurant openings in fiscal 2012. Five restaurants opened in the fourth quarter. At the end of the fourth quarter, BJ's Restaurants now has 130 locations open in 15 states including:

· California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, Ohio, Oregon, Oklahoma, Washington, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and New Mexico.

The company has a large presence in the three states of California (61), Texas (28) and Florida (11). One of BJ's goals for 2013 is to create its first concepts in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States, according to a presentation. In 2013, BJ's Restaurants will open 17 locations across the US. If this goal is achieved, BJ's would have 147 locations at the end of fiscal 2013.

The company continues to believe it can hold 425 restaurants in the domestic market. With revenue of $708.3 million in fiscal 2012, each of the 130 locations was responsible for around $5.4 million in sales. Now, every location was not open for the entire year, so $5.0 million seems like a more conservative per restaurant average. If BJ's continues to open at a rate of 15-20 restaurants a year, it will take them 15-20 years to reach their domestic goal.

Assuming that the company reaches their goal of 425 restaurants in place, the company would see annual revenue of $2.13 billion. This is assuming an average of $5.0 million per restaurant and no same store sales growth. This revenue mark is about triple what the company posted in fiscal 2012.

From this example, you can see that in 15 years, BJ's can more than triple its yearly revenue. With tighter cost controls and more profitable menu items, the company can continue to grow earnings per share on the bottom line. Shares are a value here at fifty two week lows and a great long term bet.

Back in April, I mentioned BJ's as an acquisition target of Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD). Buffalo Wild Wings had announced it was looking to strengthen its company by adding a unique second brand. BJ's will also look attractive to private equity that can help the expansion of the restaurant chain and take it public again down the road.

Shares of BJ's Restaurant now trade at 52-week lows. The shares are trading hands at around $30.50. Over the last 52 weeks, shares have seen a range of $29.00 to $51.23. Shares traded for over $45 as recently as October and over $50 as recently as April. Analysts are calling for earnings per share of $1.25 in fiscal 2013 and $1.51 in fiscal 2014.

Investing in one of the more mature restaurant chains will give you steady earnings and a possible dividend. However, BJ's is increasing revenue at double digit rates and expanding heavily. The company has reached less than a third of its targeted unit base. The long bull case for BJ's Restaurant shares is present now.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.