3 Huge Catalysts for Buffalo Wild Wings

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Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD  ) are currently trading near all-time highs after rising 9% since the company reported solid second-quarter earnings last week.

As a result, and considering the stock is up nearly 50% so far in 2013, many shareholders are wondering whether Buffalo Wild Wings may be just a bit too spicy for their investing taste.

However, I think last Wednesday's report showed remarkable strength in the business, which should continue thanks to three significant catalysts going forward:

The same chicken, only cheaper
First, remember that shares of Buffalo Wild Wings took a dive last quarter after traditional wing costs remained frustratingly high.

However, CEO Sally Smith also pointed out that the company was finally seeing some moderation in prices and expected to pay an average of just $1.75 per pound for the months of April and May.

Lucky for them, those prices continued to fall as the quarter wore on, and Buffalo Wild Wings paid an average of just $1.61 per pound for all of Q2. For those of you keeping track, that's a 15% decrease from the $1.90-per-pound average it paid during all of 2012.

As it stands, while Smith also said the cost of wings has turned up slightly since June to an average of $1.64 per pound for the first two months of the third quarter, that's still a heck of a lot better than the $1.97 it paid during the same period last year.

The same food, only (slightly) different amounts
Next, as I mentioned in February, Buffalo Wild Wings has been working feverishly to bring down their controllable costs as well, including supply chain expenses, efficiency improvements, and select price increases.

Those price increases, however, came in the form of B-Wild's new pricing structure, in which the company moved away from the old fixed-quantity model as the chicken industry as a whole moved toward physically larger birds.

According to Smith, as of last month all B-Wild locations have officially implemented the new pricing strategy of selling wings by more vague small, medium, or large portions, enabling them to give each guest a more consistent portion of chicken in their meals that's in line with what Buffalo Wild Wings actually pays.

Of course, this strategy is absolutely brilliant in that it gives the company the ability to adjust the amount of food in each portion up or down slightly to account for costs without significantly altering the price. What's more, diners should be much less sensitive to price changes this way than if B-Wild were to change the much more noticeable per-wing price.

Are you ready for some football?
Last but certainly not least, you can bet Buffalo Wild Wings is looking forward to taking advantage of all that football season has to offer.

In fact, Smith also noted in the company's earnings announcement that it's already "gearing up for fantasy football draft parties and are excited for the beginning of the NFL and NCAA football seasons."

This is especially true this year as the company's same-store sales in the first four weeks of Q3 have grown just 1.5% at company-owned locations and 1.2% at franchised units so far, thanks largely to the fact that diners had one less UFC pay-per-view fight to enjoy compared with this time last year.

This year, however, B-Wild should be able to offset that weakness as it gets to include one extra week of football games in its third quarter.

And considering it also teamed up with Red Hook brewery to bring its exclusive Game Changer Ale to taps around the country just last month, you can bet they are more than willing to quench footballs fans' thirst for a great beer to complement those wings.

Foolish takeaway
Though Buffalo Wild Wings may look expensive on the surface trading at 33 times last year's earnings and 24 times next year's estimates, I think the three catalysts above make that premium look well-deserved.

In the end, Buffalo Wild Wings is a great company that I'm convinced will continue setting new all-time highs on a regular basis going forward.

Of course, we should also remember Buffalo Wild Wings is just one of many great growth stocks out there.

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Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 07, 2013, at 6:06 PM, USAFTV1365 wrote:

    I just saw two guys, on Fox Business News, debating the use of Ethanol as a gasoline additive. The anti guy said Ethanol is driving up food prices, the pro guy stated that the Corn crop is at an all time high and that food inflation will be at 2% next year. I know this is about BWW, but food is food, and the TXRH people are predicting a 6-7% food inflation next year. Cattle and chickens both eat corn. If the pro ethanol guy is correct would this not bode well for both BWW and TXRH? Personally I would prefer they keep Ethanol out of my gas tank.

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9/23/2016 4:00 PM
BWLD $155.38 Up +0.28 +0.18%
Buffalo Wild Wings CAPS Rating: ****