Restaurant stocks gone wild? It has been awhile since we saw two eatery stocks go public in the same month. Yesterday it was Kona Grill
You probably don't know a whole lot about Kona. It has just seven locations at the moment but looks to double in size to 13 or 14 units by the end of next year. It specializes in contemporary American cuisine with an island flair. Given its Hawaiian name, the menu includes unique eats such as Macadamia Nut Chicken and Big Island Meat Loaf.
Kona isn't the first company to try to expand a concept where tropical touches spice up continental fare. Darden Restaurants
The last few eatery IPOs haven't gone too well. Go back a couple of years and you will find chains such as Cosi
Kona is intriguing. It's in the same generally upscale mold that works well for P.F. Chang's
The four original Kona Grill locations averaged $5.5 million apiece in revenue last year. That's an impressive sum that lands the chain on top of the more prolific producers in casual dining. Kona barely broke even on sales of $25.1 million last year, but those figures are likely to escalate if the company's ambitious expansion plans bear fruit.
After the 2.5 million new shares that were issued yesterday, Kona has just 5.3 million shares outstanding. However, the company has another 1.3 million shares reserved for issuance as a result of either warrants or stock option grants. Still, even with the expected dilution, Kona's market cap stands at a reasonable $83 million (a quarter of that backed by the company's net cash position). That's roughly what Kona stands to generate in revenues come 2007, if you go by its expansion plans. If margins improve, the upside can inch up considerably from there. That, indeed, would be a better wakeup call than a shot of Kona coffee.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been to Kona, but never to a Kona Grill. He does own shares in Cheesecake Factory. The Fool has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.