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How Sustainable Is the Growth Plan at Bojangles Inc?

By Motley Fool Staff - Mar 22, 2016 at 3:39PM

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The quick-serve chicken restaurant has seen its stock price gain 16% in March, but investors should consider whether its growth plans are realistic.

A few weeks ago, fast food chicken chain Bojangles' (BOJA) reported higher-than-expected fourth quarter profits and revenue, and the stock traded up over 23% as a result.

In this segment from the Motley Fool Money podcast, Jason Moser and Chris Hill go over what led to that success, what investors need to know about management's long-term growth plans for the chain, whether it can successfully execute those plans, and how the stock looks at its current price.

A transcript follows the video.

This podcast was recorded on March 11, 2016. 

Chris Hill: Let's start with Bojangles'. Fourth-quarter profits coming in higher than expected, revenue higher than expected, and the stock up more than 17% on Friday. I know you like the chicken, Jason. How are you liking the stock?

Jason Moser: I just like seeing the 'Jangler, takes me back to my childhood. I think the important thing here, investors want to focus on the fact that Bojangles' management is meeting the targets and expectations that they set. Let's not worry about the expectations that Wall Street is setting for this business. Really, we want to focus on whether they're meeting their own benchmarks. And they certainly are. 

And I think that, you look at the growth that's coming from new stores. In the short run, that's OK. In the long run, we really want to see their ability to grow beyond just opening new stores. And I think that remains the biggest question. If we look at their market opportunity, they see their market opportunity as around 1,400 stores in the states where they have a presence today, and around 3,500 stores total around the United States, versus about 660 or so that they have today. And that always has been the big question: Does that market opportunity really extend that far? I'm still not sold on that. I do love the chicken, I love the iced tea. And honestly, I think with the stock today, it's trading around 20 times full-year 2016 estimates, which is pretty reasonable. If they are able to get close to that market opportunity that they see, then I think today's stock level is actually a pretty attractive opportunity.

Ron Gross: Are there any [Bojangles'] remotely near where we are right now?

Moser: I think that's the biggest problem. I don't think there really are.

Gross: I have to taste this.

Moser: There are some in this area, but not really close by. It is very much a Southeastern concept. I know that they went through and shut a bunch down in Florida recently. So, that's the biggest question: Does this reach across the country?

Gross: Better than Chick-fil-A? Where do you put it? Nothing's better then Chick-fil-A.

Moser: Uh ... I'm going to defer my answer until a later time ...

Jeff Fischer: Jason, did you say they shut a bunch of stores down in Florida?

Moser: They did, they shut a bunch of stores down in Florida, which I thought was a bit odd, given that Florida is a Southeastern state. (laughs) 

Fischer: What, they just weren't performing?

Moser: Just under-performers.

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