As if its stock needed another boost, Cracker Barrel this morning reported another strong financial quarter. Comp sales were up in its fiscal third quarter, retail sales were up, and the company raised its earnings guidance and increased its dividend. The result: The company’s stock hit yet another all-time high.
Restaurant owners sure are feeling more confident all of a sudden. Now that they’ve survived the wintertime same-store-sales cliff, commodity prices appear to be easing and the stock and housing markets are flourishing again, operators are feeling pretty good. Good enough, perhaps, to raise more prices. But that could be a risk.
Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen just reported another good quarter: comp sales grew 4.5 percent; global system sales grew 10.2 percent. EBITDA was 30 percent of total revenues and net income rose. But this is the number that watchers should be more concerned with: franchisee profits rose to 20.4 percent of total revenues.
Restaurant industry traffic remained stable in the first quarter of the year, according to the latest figures from the NPD Group, and that is a good thing—given the quarter’s low expectations. Sales are expected to improve, but the industry is still dealing with a host of issues that kept those expectations depressed.
Restaurants should enjoy easing prices on food next year as the weather improves and the corn crop is healthy and prices come down—unless your restaurant happens to serve a lot of steak or hamburgers or roast beef or shortribs. Then you’re pretty much out of luck for another two to three years.
Groupon likes restaurants, but the feeling hasn't always been mutual. In the nearly five years since the Chicago-based company started its first deal, restaurants have been divided about the daily deal industry. Some love it. Some hate it. Many ignore it. But now the company is working hard to tip the scales.
Noodles & Company, the Broomfield, Colorado chain of pasta-centric restaurants, is planning a $75 million initial public offering. The 18-year-old company filed its registration statement with the SEC this morning, giving public restaurant investors another option in the high-growth fast-casual sector.
When Arby's was planning its limited time roast beef sandwich on a Kings Hawaiian bun, the company's distributors thought it would distribute 7,000 cases a week. It has distributed 30,000. So it has to be tempting for the Atlanta-based QSR to promote the sandwich to its regular menu, right? Perhaps, but that doesn't mean it'll give in.
Frozen yogurt is here to stay. Let's face it: those pastel colors and swirly logos are going to be part of our retail and franchise lives forever. There will be no 90s-style industry collapse like last time. People are just too into yogurt, and thus the lines at Pinkberry and its ilk are too long. But that doesn't mean the industry shouldn't worry.
There may be a lot of uncertainty over how much it's going to cost, but there's no doubt that the Affordable Care Act--which goes into effect in a mere seven months--will have a significant impact on restaurants' labor force strategies. But no businesses are in as difficult a state as those on the bubble.
The malaise that ultimately killed McDonald’s Angus Burger line is apparently infecting other items at the burger chain, at least according to Bloomberg. The company is considering the removal of more, poor-selling menu items. Which makes me wonder whether the broad menu that helped improve the chain’s sales could be hurting it.
Two years ago, San Diego-based burger chain Jack in the Box struggled to compare to its fast-casual subsidiary, Qdoba. In its 2010 fiscal year, Jack’s same-store sales declined 8.6 percent while Qdoba’s sales grew and there was talk about “reinvigorating” Jack in the Box. There’s been a stunning role reversal since then.
Since March, stock in Minneapolis-based barbecue chain Famous Dave’s is up more than 22 percent. This isn’t entirely unusual—most restaurant stocks are up, after all. But this is coming in spite of weak financials, including declining sales, especially for franchisees, and profits. And now we know why.
By all accounts, this should be a perfect time for a privately owned restaurant to jump into the IPO market. The market has rallied all year, and the vast majority of publicly held restaurant companies are up big so far in 2013. And still we have yet to see the first restaurant industry IPO. Why not?
Pizza Inn shareholders must have a nasty case of whiplash. The Texas-based pizza buffet chain’s stock is getting hammered today, down more than 30 percent, after the company reported a steep decline in same-store sales, unit counts and earnings, continuing the stock’s 27-month roller coaster ride.
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