All right, that's not the usual analogy, but "diamond" doesn't rhyme.
Small restaurateur Luby's
Revenue came in right in line with expectations, too, at $78 million. According to the conference call, increased customer traffic was the main source of the increase in sales. This is in contrast to similar chain restaurants, such as Bob Evans Farms
In addition, Luby's has enjoyed 10 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth, an unusual distinction among restaurant chains at the moment. This success could stem partly from Luby's clever promotions, such as fish during Lent; its emphasis on value and convenience; or even its sponsorship of the Houston Astros where kids five to 12 years old can get a chance to call out "Play ball!" behind the plate at home games. How cool is that?
Now that the restaurant business is stabilized, management is attempting to grow the business in other ways, including providing food services at hospitals and other health-care facilities in competition with Aramark
So with decent earnings and revenue, a nice string of same-store sales increases, and the prospect of a new business line, is the company worth nibbling on as an investment? Perhaps.
Adjusted EBITDA was down 7% for the quarter, as general and administrative (G&A) expenses increased much faster than revenues -- 23.5% versus 3.4% -- year over year. As a percent of sales, G&A expenses increased from 5.9% to 7.1% in the same time frame. The hike came from increased stock option and staff expenses. Keep an eye on this going forward; when sales growth is slow, costs need to be controlled.
I think Luby's could be a ruby in the rough, but only if it can generate growth from its newest initiative and keep its costs under control.
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