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America Runs on Dunkin' and So Should Your Portfolio

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Value investors are constantly on the prowl for companies with huge growth potential, but it is not always easy finding one that is safe enough for a large investment. These plays are often made on speculation and carry smaller investments, which, in turn, makes for smaller capital gains. However, when you find a company with established brands, high earnings growth, and a dividend to boot, you have found a yourself an absolute goldmine. Dunkin' Brands  Group  (NASDAQ: DNKN  )  fits this description and has had a big run over the last year, but the earnings expectations predict this is only the beginning.

The brands

Dunkin' Brands Group owns, operates, and franchises quick service restaurants under the Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins brands. Dunkin' Donuts is the world's largest coffee and baked goods restaurant and Baskin-Robbins is the world's largest specialty ice cream chain. Being home to two of the world's leading brands gives Dunkin' an edge in the industry. 

Last quarter

On July 25, Dunkin' Brands reported second quarter earnings and the results were mixed, but impressive.

  Reported Expected
EPS $0.41 $0.40
Revenue $182.49 million $183.09 million

Earnings per share and revenue rose 24.2% and 5.9% respectively, while quarterly profit soared to $40.8 million from just $18.5 year over year. The highlight of this report was the higher-than-expected domestic same-store sales; Dunkin' Donuts increased 4% and Baskin-Robbin's increased 2.6%. The increased sales were not from higher prices, but from a rise in the average ticket by its customers; this can be credited to the constant innovations driven by consumer demand.

The wild wild West

With more than 7,000 Dunkin' Donuts locations in North America, shockingly there are zero in the western United States. Baskin-Robbins has been very successful in this area, but its sister brand never made its way over. However, this is set to change very soon. On July 25, Dunkin' reported its deal with 4 franchise groups to open 45 restaurants in California in 2015, just weeks after the first deal for 18 restaurants was signed. California is only the beginning as Dunkin' Brands has a long-term goal of having over 15,000 locations in the United States. This projected store count would more than double its domestic royalty income, cause a spike in franchise fees, and provide more capital toward marketing and adding company-owned locations. Expansion and innovation are two core characteristics of great companies.

Future expectations

In its second quarter report, Dunkin' projects earnings per share to be between $1.50-$1.53 in 2013, in line with analyst expectations. This growth is not expected to slow up anytime soon either. Take a look at the earnings projections, provided by TD Ameritrade, through 2015:

2013: 19.5% growth

2014: 19% growth

2015: 18.7% growth

According to Yahoo! Finance, the industry average price-to-earnings multiple of restaurants companies is 27.17. This means that if Dunkin' Brands were to trade at the industry average multiple in 2015, the stock would surpass $58 per share. However, with expansion being ignited in the West in 2015, it has the potential to continue trading at its current multiple of 36; this would propel the stock well beyond $75 per share. Potential gains like these cause value investors to salivate.

Return to shareholders

Dunkin' currently pays a $0.19 quarterly dividend, resulting in a yield of roughly 1.8% annually. It was increased from $0.15 in 2012, so there is a strong possibility for more raises in the future, as long as free cash flow continues to rise. Healthy dividends are hard to find in high-growth companies.

In the second quarter, Dunkin' repurchased approximately 400,000 shares of its common stock. There is another $33 million remaining for repurchases under previous buyback authorizations. By reducing the share count, earnings per share will increase, making the remaining shares more valuable.

Dividends and share repurchases are two of the most bullish moves a management team can make and both dramatically benefit shareholders. With management expecting $125 to $135 million in free cash flow for fiscal 2013, the dividend could be increased and another round of repurchases could be authorized.

Industry competition

Starbucks  (NASDAQ: SBUX  )  and McDonald's  (NYSE: MCD  )  are the two main competitors of Dunkin' Brands. All three are quick-serve restaurants aimed at being the consumers' number one choice for coffee and food. However, Dunkin' Donuts dominates as the top retailer for coffee in America, as well as being the number one baked goods and coffee chain in the world.


Dunkin' Brands



Market Cap

$4.61 billion

$53.1 billion

$95.8 billion





Forward P/E




Dividend Yield




Latest U.S. same-store sales growth

Dunkin Donuts: +4%

Baskin-Robbins: +1.6%



YTD Performance




Starbucks has been on a tear this year and blew away earnings in July. It has the projected earnings growth and expansion plans to support a continued run higher. It also has a healthy dividend, which could easily be raised due to increased free cash flow. It has pulled back about 5% since reaching its 52-week high and could be a top performer for the rest of 2013 and in 2014.

McDonald's, arguably the most recognizable brand in the world, has one of the best dividends you will find. It has paid and raised its dividend every year since going public in 1976, a feat few other companies can rival. However, McDonald's has had a tough stretch over the last three months. It missed on both the top and bottom lines in its second quarter earnings report last month, and management said they expect results for the rest of the year to be "challenged." This may be due to its negative same-store sales in China, Japan, Australia, and some European nations, but regardless, this is not something you want to hear as an investor. The stock has fallen about 5% since this report and could fall further if it falters again in the third quarter.

Dunkin' Brands has the edge in this comparison due to its high growth and dividend, but both Starbucks and McDonald's are in great positions to outperform the market in 2014. If Starbucks were to pull back another 5%, I would be a buyer because of its international growth. I would also be a buyer of McDonald's if it fell to where it yielded 3.5%, because the yield would provide income while waiting for the company's operations to turn itself around.

The Foolish bottom line

Dunkin' Brands is home to two of the largest and best brands on Earth. It has pulled back slightly since reaching its 52-week high a few short weeks ago, but this is nothing more than a buying opportunity. I have been long Dunkin' Brands for over a year and will continue adding to this position on any pullbacks. 

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Read/Post Comments (1) | Recommend This Article (3)

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  • Report this Comment On August 27, 2013, at 3:21 PM, whodidntante wrote:

    "...but from a rise in the average ticket by its customers..."

    I think the Dec. quarter could bring the biggest surprise. The hot breakfast sandwiches (and tot-like hash browns) should guarantee an increase in the avg. ticket. That many more customers will be grabbing the combo for breakfast... That many more families will opt for Dunkin on the way to the pee wee football and soccer games...

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Related Tickers

9/28/2016 4:00 PM
DNKN $50.42 Up +0.11 +0.22%
Dunkin' Brands Gro… CAPS Rating: ***
MCD $115.18 Down -1.70 -1.45%
McDonald's CAPS Rating: ***
SBUX $53.98 Down -0.21 -0.39%
Starbucks CAPS Rating: ****