Buffalo Wild Wings: En Fuego

Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD  ) , operator of bar-and-grill gathering spots that specialize in spicy buffalo wings, just hit an all-time stock high after releasing impressive first-quarter results. As stretched as the share-price multiple is becoming, B-dub's could continue to reward investors.

Results released after the market closed yesterday stayed hot, thanks to strong sales gains and same-store sales that jumped 9% at company-owned locations, which make up 32% of the total store base. Comps at franchised stores rose a respectable 3.3%, leading to lucrative franchise royalties and other fees, which now account for just more than 11% of revenue.

B-dub's is also showing some impressive earnings growth by keeping a tight lid on expenses. Earnings advanced nearly 60% for the first quarter, a nice encore to the 82% gain for all of last year.

So what can investors expect going forward? Well, management has your back for this year. It plans to meet the company's "annual performance targets of over 15% unit growth, over 20% revenue growth, and over 25% net income growth in 2007." A small store base and only a few hundred million in annual sales suggest that the company can grow rapidly for some time before worries of market saturation begin to surface.

As it stands currently, Buffalo Wild Wings is trading at around 30 times projected earnings for fiscal 2007. Right now the company has the growth to support such a high multiple, and cash flow trends are very strong. That means B-dub's doesn't have to rely on debt to keep breakneck expansion going.

The current share-price valuation suggests that the company will have to grow by double digits for a long time to justify its stock price. It may be worth the risk for growth-minded Fools, since B-dubs is one of the hottest restaurant concepts out there right now, along with P.F. Chang's (Nasdaq: PFCB  ) and Kona Grill (Nasdaq: KONA  ) .

Of course, there is a risk of a hangover if growth doesn't turn out as planned. Firms that have already hit a wall and are looking to get their sales and earnings growth back on track include Applebee's (Nasdaq: AAPB  ) , Landry's Restaurants (NYSE: LNY  ) , and Wendy's (NYSE: WEN  ) .  

For related Foolishness:

Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection, and you can learn much more about it with a free 30-day trial subscription.

Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further.


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