Like a full-course meal, restaurant news keeps coming. Let's dig into a few of the industry events that made headlines this week.
1. Leave Carl's Jr. alone
Shares of Carl's Jr. and Hardee's parent CKE Restaurants
CKE had posted healthy comps trends earlier in the week -- up 3.6% for its latest quarter -- but rising food costs are leaving analysts worried. Most of the leading burger chains have been able to boost their unit level sales in this tricky climate, but the real challenge now is to see if they can pass on the commodity spikes to their hungry patrons.
2. Checkmate, BK
Fast food royalty Burger King
Analysts were only expecting a profit of $0.34 a share out of the company. The Whopper topper has beaten Wall Street's earnings estimates for eight consecutive quarters.
Comps were also crown-worthy, with a 5.3% gain globally during the period. Worldwide comps for Burger King have now risen in each of the past 18 quarters.
3. Hold the green peppers and the lettuce
Rising food costs and customers with empty pockets find casual dining chains in a bind. BJ's Restaurants
4. Hasta la pasta
Brinker will record a cash tax benefit on the sale, though one has to wonder if it's unloading the right concept. Macaroni Grill may have been a dog in the company's portfolio a year ago, but it has actually been one of the company's better performers lately.
5. Don't take anything for granite
Eateries love to issue press releases when they open new locations, but you rarely come across a release detailing a single closing. Granite City Food & Brewery
Could it be that Granite is so small, with 25 locations, that every closing counts? It's more than that. The restaurant being closed opened just 10 months ago, but was a drain on the company. The unit generated a net loss of $1.3 million, with the company faulting a pivotal road closure eating into the area's traffic. In short, Granite City is making the closing public so investors see this as an isolated incident.
6. Bowling for bagels
Noah's Bagels, part of the Einstein Noah Restaurant Group
Don't worry, Starbucks
Check out this week's dessert specials: