There always seems to be restaurant news on the menu. As I do every week, let's take a look at some of this week's more appetizing stories.
1. Living up to its name
Fast food giant Yum! Brands
Comps are also holding up in the current quarter, trending toward a 2% gain domestically across all of its concepts, and a healthier 3% spurt for its company-owned units.
2. John's back
Founders coming back as CEOs are becoming common in the tech world, so now even the eatery space is giving it a crack. John Schnatter -- the John in Papa John's
3. Hard prizes at Hardee's
The promo is tied to the Rev Theory rock band, and so are many of the prizes. Instant winners may score prizes like dinner with the band (at a Carl's Jr. or Hardee's, of course), signed guitars, or an appearance in an upcoming video.
4. Analysts gone wild
Given the perpetually sinking stock prices, analysts find themselves hacking away at near-term price targets to remain reasonable. UBS analyst David Palmer is lowering his price targets on Darden
It's not all bad news. In fact, Palmer is actually upgrading shares of Darden -- the company behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster -- from Neutral to Buy. He's encouraged by Red Lobster's new wood-grilled menu, but not that excited. Lowering his price target on the stock from $29 to $20 is a steep slice, and not that far from the $17.04 price that the shares were fetching just before his Wednesday morning update. Even worse for investors looking to get in now, the stock has already made up more than half of the difference between $17.04 and $20 over the past two trading days.
5. Like a virgin
Palmer isn't the only one cutting into Burger King these days. Skepticism is percolating over the company's new Whopper Virgins campaign and it hasn't even officially started.
The world's second largest burger chain's new marketing message is going to be controversial. BK scoured the globe, trekking off to remote regions within Thailand, Greenland, and Romania, giving rural locals their first taste of a Whopper.
Filming folks who have never sampled a burger going through a taste test between a Whopper and a Big Mac may seem like a good idea at first. They have unbiased palates. However, even with Burger King issuing a press release this week detailing how it has donated educational and medical supplies to the areas depicted in the ads, critics are going to argue that feeding locals with limited diets a pair of fatty burgers is exploitation.
Juicy, succulent, flame-broiled exploitation.
6. More change in your pocket
Who says restaurant stocks are fickle? Frisch's Restaurants
Yes, that takes you all the way back to the company's IPO in 1960. Frisch's also points out that is has posted a profit every year since going public. Yes, the company behind the Big Boy concept is as consistent as it is timeless.
Check out this week's dessert specials: