Which Restaurants Are the Winners this Football Season?

Chicken wings and pizza are currently the second and third most-eaten items, respectively, during Super Bowl weekend -- both coming behind classic salsa and dip. Therefore, Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ: BWLD  ) and Domino's Pizza (NYSE: DPZ  ) are among the best investments on the upcoming Super Bowl, the playoffs, and the dozens of upcoming NCAA football bowl games.

In addition, as Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) continues to market its holiday catering deals, which include an offer of chips, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream for every two burritos ordered, as well as its Super Bowl party promotions, Chipotle will be another winner for this coming football post-season and beyond.

Buffalo Wild Wings for 365 days a year
It is estimated that 26.5 billion wing portions will be sold in all of 2013. While this is slightly down from 2012, it is not due to a lack of demand. There are just fewer birds available due to droughts and higher feed prices in parts of the country this past year.

To put into perspective why Buffalo Wild Wings will be a winner for this upcoming fourth quarter and into Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 2, 2014, look no further than the company's sales trend the past few years on Super Bowl Sunday alone. In 2009 Buffalo Wild Wings sold 5.1 million wings, while this year it has sold 8.8 million wings -- a 72% increase in just five years.

Buffalo Wild Wings October 2013 Presentation

Minus the annual Super Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings still wins. On average, the chain sells 26 million traditional and boneless wings each week, and it sold more than 1.3 billion wings total in 2012. For the third quarter, revenue grew 27.9% to $315.8 million year-over-year, while net earnings surged 66.9% to $17.9 million.

During the conference call, CEO Sally J. Smith stated that Buffalo Wild Wings will reach 1,000 restaurants within the first quarter of 2014, and it has a goal of 1,700 within the next decade.

With a market cap under $3 billion while it has shown an increasing ability to capitalize on sporting events throughout the year, Buffalo Wild Wings still has plenty of upside.

Killing two birds with one stone with Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza sold nearly 11 million slices of pizza during the Super Bowl earlier this year. Although it is the world leader in pizza delivery and logged about 4 million miles on Super Bowl Sunday alone, this doesn't mean the chain is only pizza driven. Domino's Pizza also sold 2.5 million chicken wings during this past Super Bowl.

In the third quarter, supply chain improvements at the franchise and company-store owned levels led to a 6.9% increase in revenue, while net earnings jumped 17.9% year-over-year.

Domino's October 2013 Presentation

International sales currently contribute 52% of total sales for Domino's Pizza as its global footprint has grown 43% in the past five years. By comparison, Yum! Brands, which owns rival Pizza Hut, grew just 23% internationally in the same time period. The fact that Domino's Pizza has produced 79 straight quarters of international same-store sales growth makes the argument for the chain that much stronger.

Chipotle catering to everyone for all occasions
In November, Chipotle announced  that it is now offering nationwide catering just in time for the holidays. The promotion is expected to last through the end of December.

If Chipotle's Super Bowl plans are similar to what happened in the past couple of years, fans of the chain should expect either discounts, freebies, or both on Feb. 2. In 2012, Chipotle offered 50% off your order of six or more burritos on Super Bowl Sunday. This past Super Bowl Chipotle offered free burritos.

Until then, the chain should be able to cater to those who want other options besides chicken wings and pizza during the holidays, playoffs, bowl games, and beyond. Chipotle's new Sofritas, which is a vegetarian-friendly tofu burrito filling, is sure to attract customers that either don't eat meat or are lactose intolerant.

Higher beef prices make Buffalo Wild Wings, Domino's Pizza, and Chipotle bigger winners
2014 is expected to be a continuation of 2013 in regard to rising beef prices according to the USDA. The lack of necessary rainfall has led to a domino effect for farming issues from the pastures all the way to the cows themselves. As a result, these three companies have a clear advantage if customers trade hamburgers and steaks for chicken wings, pizza, and beef-free Chipotle options.

By fr:Utilisateur, via Wikimedia Commons

The USDA currently projects the first three quarters of 2014 to show lower beef production than the same quarters of 2013. This will further push beef prices to historic levels due to supply and demand.

Bottom line
Outside of everything Buffalo Wild Wings, Domino's Pizza, and Chipotle are already doing right, the upcoming holidays and the ends of both the NFL and NCAA football seasons should boost these companies' revenues even further. Buffalo Wild Wings and Domino's Pizza are well-positioned to dominate Super Bowl Sunday. With or without Feb. 2, Chipotle will continue to see success as it continues to expand. Becoming a staple food for not only the Super Bowl but other sporting events as well would be like a two-point conversion for Chipotle.

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