We’re asking analysts to give us their 2013 stock picks for a story to run in the Monitor. Mark Smith, analyst at Feltl & Company, dithered for a while. “The problem is,” he confessed, “I just don’t like anybody right now.” He doesn’t see a lot of positive for the restaurant industry this year, and his pessimism isn’t unique.
If Patrick Dempsey ultimately gets the Tully’s Coffee chain for $9.15 million, he should probably send some autographed photos to Green Mountain headquarters. That’s because his victory in the auction last week came about only after the Vermont-based coffee maker—and owner of Tully’s brand name—objected to partial bids, according to sources.
Morehead Capital is taking a bite of some salad. The North Carolina-based fund late last month completed a recapitalization and equity investment in the 20-unit New York-based salad chain Chop’t. Terms of the deal were not disclosed but, according to CEO Nick Marsh, “It was a pretty significant transaction.”
Barring some sort of unforeseen roadblock, the Tully’s Coffee chain will remain in tact, all thanks to an actor. Global Baristas, the company formed by an investment group led by Patrick Dempsey, won yesterday’s auction—according to Dempsey himself, who declared via Twitter that rival bidder Starbucks “blinked.”
Few restaurant stocks performed as well last year as did Oklahoma City-based drive-in chain Sonic, which seemed to recover from a lengthy slump that had taken it down from a lofty perch as a darling of the franchise restaurant world. Now the company hopes that an even bigger emphasis on national ads can help it maintain that success.
Despite a presidential election, problems in Europe and fiscal cliff concerns, investors generally had a good 2012. For all of that volatility, the S&P 500 finished with its best increase in three years, up more than 13 percent for the year. The restaurant industry mostly matched this growth.
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