What: Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD) fell 20.2% in October, according to S&P Capital IQ data, after the wings, beer, and sports-centric restaurant chain announced weaker-than-expected third-quarter 2015 results.
To be fair, B-Dubs shareholders have grown accustomed to enduring similar post-earnings volatility. But as it stands, the most recent plunge puts Buffalo Wild Wings stock down around 15% year to date:
So what: Specifically, third-quarter revenue climbed 22% year over to year to $455.5 million, translating to a 12.3% decline in earnings per diluted share to $1.00. Analysts were anticipating higher revenue of $465 million and earnings of $1.29 per share.
To Buffalo Wild Wings' credit, same-store sales did climb a healthy 3.9% at company-owned locations, despite a shift in the sports calendar that gave the chain one less week of football and fewer pay-per-view events to drive traffic. But that shift also had a negative impact to same-store sales of roughly 80 basis points -- more severe than the 50-basis-point impact Buffalo Wild Wings management predicted during the previous quarter's conference call.
In addition, Buffalo Wild Wings saw the price of traditional wings rise 19% year over year to $1.79 per pound, while the cost of labor rose 24.1% because of minimum-wage increases and higher-paid "Guest Experience Captain" positions added to all company-owned locations over the past year.
On top of that, keep in mind that Buffalo Wild Wings also closed on its $160 million acquisition of 41 franchised locations during the quarter -- a move that singlehandedly boosted the size of its lucrative company-owned store base by nearly 8%. But in doing so, Buffalo Wild Wings also added almost 2,600 new employees, including 180 managers, who in turn collectively participated in over 10,000 hours of training as more than 300 existing employees worked to ensure a smooth transition of ownership. The incremental cost of this effort had a negative-$0.13-per-share impact on Buffalo Wild Wings' earnings.
As a result, Buffalo Wild Wings reduced its 2015 net earnings growth goal to a single-digit percentage range, down from 13% previously.
Now what: That said, Buffalo Wild Wings also carefully implemented a price increase at the beginning of this month to help offset these higher costs. And looking forward, it expects to build roughly 50 new Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants in 2016 (increasing its company-owned store count by another 8%), add 30 new Buffalo Wild Wings franchises, and remodel between 120 and 130 locations (70 company-owned and 50 to 60 franchised) to feature its well-received Stadia seating design.
All the while, Buffalo Wild Wings now expects earnings growth to exceed 20% in 2016.
But as a longtime investor myself, my eyes are fixed even further down the road: Buffalo Wild Wings eventually wants to nearly triple its total number of restaurants -- including those of several other concepts such as its younger R Taco and Pizza Rev brands -- from 1,142 at the end of Q3 to 3,000 locations worldwide. For investors willing to ignore these short-term movements and watch that growth story unfold, the financial rewards could be truly satisfying.