Best Stock for 2008: Buffalo Wild Wings

Ring in the new year with more stocks for 2008.

There are two reasons why I chose Buffalo Wild Wings (Nasdaq: BWLD  ) as the Best Stock for 2008. First, the stock has gotten pummeled (it's down more than 45% since its highs six months ago), despite solid growth in overall sales, same-store sales, and earnings. Second, Buffalo Wild Wings is a unique restaurant concept that is still in the earlier stages of its growth.

My first reason signals that the stock is on sale. Let's explore the second reason to find out if it's worth buying.

You can't go home again ... without visiting B-Dubs
The Buffalo Wild Wings in my small hometown in Ohio is the place you go with your family or friends to eat wings. It's where you go to watch the game. It's also where you go to sing karaoke after work. And it's the hottest bar in town on the weekends. You get the idea.

At a typical Buffalo Wild Wings, you can find the following inviting features:

  • More than a dozen different sauces for the restaurant's namesake chicken wings, plus an extensive menu for the wing-averse crowd
  • Around 40 televisions, plus large projection screens
  • 20 domestic and imported beers on tap
  • Ordering at a table or at the counter (16% of the company's sales were takeout last year)
  • Video games and trivia
  • Distinct seating choices for sports fans and families

People so love their Buffalo Wild Wings that across the nation, they've nicknamed it "BW3s" (the discarded third "W" used to stand for "Weck"). Then they shortened it further, to "B-Dubs." I don't believe anyone has a pet name for Ruby Tuesday (NYSE: RT  ) or Chili's (a unit of Brinker International (NYSE: EAT  ) ).

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
And that's exactly my point! Who do you know that has any attachment to the normal casual-dining chains? Can you even tell the difference between Ruby Tuesday, Chili's, TGI Friday's, Bennigan's, and Applebee's (recently acquired by IHOP (NYSE: IHP  ) )? Are you tired of me listing chains? Fair enough, but I bet you're more tired of eating at them.

Go to the mattresses!
Against this backdrop of mediocrity, Buffalo Wild Wings can differentiate itself. It can be like quality-at-a-reasonable-price Chipotle (NYSE: CMG  ) (NYSE: CMG-B  ) , which stands out in a $0.99-value-menu fast-food space.

Turning away from the dinner table, BW3 is doing what Tempur-Pedic and Select Comfort are doing in the mattress industry (Tempur-Pedic currently more successfully than Select Comfort). It's hard to tell a Sealy from a Simmons, but it's easy to feel the difference in a memory-foam mattress or an air-chamber mattress versus a spring mattress. Likewise, it's easy to see the difference between Buffalo Wild Wings and the restaurants that require 15 pieces of flair.

Will it be the Best Stock for 2008?
B-Dubs has the potential to be, as Fool co-founder Tom Gardner says, a "category-killing brand leader." In fact, he's recommended it three times in his Motley Fool Hidden Gems newsletter because it exhibits the six criteria he looks for in a home run stock. But don't just listen to him (or me, for that matter). Investigate it yourself at our CAPS website. If you're convinced after your research, vote it as the Best Stock for 2008 by rating it an "outperform" in CAPS. We will tally the new ratings for each company and declare the winning stock within the next week.

Read/Post Comments (2) | Recommend This Article (34)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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 January 03, 2008, at 12:05 PM, Survayman wrote:

    Too much of a consumer discretionary stock to pick as the top 2008 stock. I personally believe the whole banking/financial crisis has more life in it and until the crisis settles, stock prices will remain stagnant. I know this stock is pumped by all the Fools, primarily the biggest fool, Tom, however; just because the price is down a significant amount does not mean it will go up any time soon.

  • Report this Comment On January 07, 2008, at 8:56 PM, Rbruns8971 wrote:

    I've never commented on the board before but had to when I saw BWW was a "hot stock". I've tried the wings a number of times the last time was a brand new BWW in my near home town of Toledo, on a break from Christmas Shopping. Financials not withstanding... the food sucks. Especially the wings. I love wings there are "wing specials" in Toldeo every day and I used to take full advantage...till I started watching the waist line better. This was not a one time experience...I've tried BWW, I'll admit the resturants were busy, well except for the last excursion but the wings were all bad. Dry, Not much meat, if there was it was lots of skin, sauce lacked punch.

    I'm rambling...what I'm saying is if there main product is bad...check it out...sooner or later...the $$ will follow a better wing. Like Hooters...they are ok...dry to but more to eat, and better ambiance! Or just try your local wings bar in Toledo!

    I'd just never invest in a stock when I hated the product.

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