In the following video, The Motley Fool's Chris Hill and Bill Barker discuss the state of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen (NASDAQ:PLKI), from the company's strong third quarter performance to its explosive growth, and of course, how darn good that chicken is.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Nov. 12, 2015.
Chris Hill: Third-quarter profits for Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen came in higher than expected. They raised guidance for the full fiscal year. If there was a downside to this quarter and the way this business is going right now, I'm not really seeing it. Stock up about 6% today. And, as we were talking about earlier with Austin Morgan, gosh... the food!
Bill Barker: Love that chicken.
Hill: It's really good. It's not at all healthy.
Barker: It's maybe not good for you. We haven't conducted our own research, other than experiential, going there. But, there are those who believe it may not be good for you.
Hill: The stock's doing well, though.
Barker: Yeah, the stock has had an amazing run since 2008. Like many things, it sort of bottomed out there and had not been a company of much achievement for shareholders going into that time, but it's up tenfold since 2008, and has done more than just bounced back off of the virtually dead file. It's taken a little bit of a breather as a stock this year after being up -- in the last six years, it's been up 75%, 70%, 6%, 78%, 47%, 46%.
And now, this year, it's basically flat. In fact, it's down. The report today has gotten it back to about flat, but you just can't go up 70% all the time, especially not with a quick-serve restaurant with not explosively growing assets. It is growing its franchise operations at a reasonable clip these days, same store sales are very good. And, it's a reminder that, boy, it's good tasting chicken.
Hill: It really is. They've also announced a $200 million stock buyback plan. That's the only thing that I just look at and, I don't know management well enough to know what sort of track record they have, if any, with stock buybacks. But, the stock is not at an all-time high, but the stock, just listening to you tick off what it's done over the last 6 years individually, this is not a particularly cheap stock. They're not getting the best price if they're starting this buyback plan today.
Barker: Well, they're getting a better price than they would have gotten earlier in the year. But you're right, it would have been nice to be buying all of this back five or six years ago. They had to straighten out their operations and recover and get everything under control, but I don't mind seeing a company with measured growth.
They were talking about increasing store count by 5% over the next year. That sounds like plenty to me. It's not like there's a huge need for 10% or 20% more Popeyes a year. They're shutting down many locations, opening up many others, and I think, rationalizing where their stores are is a good plan, too. And with the cash beyond that, they can buy back some shares.
Hill: Do you ever watch the Jerry Seinfeld web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee?
Barker: You are always trying to get me to watch that, and I think I've watched like two.
Hill: You should watch 'em, they're good. They're only about 15 minutes long, that kind of thing. It's just him with another comedian. He did one with Chris Rock, and at one point, Popeyes comes up in the conversation, and Chris Rock is saying, I can't go to Popeyes. It's too good. That's how good the chicken is there, it's too good. If I go there, that I'm just going to want to go there day after day.