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Why Buffalo Wild Wings Stock Plunged Today

By Steve Symington - Apr 27, 2016 at 1:33PM

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The wings, beer, and sports-centric restaurant is "dissatisfied" with same-store sales results in Q1.


Image source: Buffalo Wild Wings.

What: Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) fell as much as 15.5% early Wednesday, but were down 12.4% as of 11:00 a.m EST after the restaurant chain announced disappointing first-quarter 2016 results.

So what: Quarterly revenue rose 15.4% year over year, to $508.3 million, driven entirely by new units and franchise acquisitions. That doesn't sound so bad, but these results were held back by same-store sales declines of 1.7% and 2.4% at company-owned and franchised locations, respectively. On the bottom line, that resulted in a 12.8% increase in net income, to $32.8 million, and a 13.5% increase in earnings per diluted share, to $1.73. Buffalo Wild Wings also spent $25 million to repurchase 173,892 shares during the quarter. 

Buffalo Wild Wings CEO Sally Smith stated the company is "dissatisifed" with its same-store sales declines, but also noted they are "undertaking several sales-driving initiatives to regain momentum."

As I outlined in my full earnings take earlier today, these sales-driving initiatives include enhancing its takeout business with special takeout packages leading up to UFC 200, driving incremental revenue with a "speed-of-service" guarantee for its FastBreak lunch program, improving and promoting its value proposition through targeted media campaigns and the impending launch of a new Happy Hour menu, and honing its focus to win traffic related to the year-round soccer market.

Now what: In the meantime, however, Buffalo Wild Wings also reduced guidance for the full year. The company now anticipates 2016 earnings per diluted share of $5.65 to $5.85 -- or growth of 13.7% to 17.7% over 2015 -- assuming "improving" same-store sales. Previously, Buffalo Wild Wings' outlook called for 2016 EPS of $5.95 to $6.20, and same-store sales growth in the mid-single-digit percentage range.

Buffalo Wild Wings is still growing its top and bottom lines at a healthy pace, and I still think its long-term growth story remains firmly intact. But this is also its second-consecutive quarter of posting disappointing comps. When you combine that with its reduced earnings guidance, it's hard to blame the market for taking a step back as B-Dubs works to return all facets of its business to sustained, profitable growth.

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