It's safe to say at this point that the business model for Famous Dave's of America
Third-quarter results for the barbecue specialist were finger-lickin' delicious, with the top line increasing by 17.3% to $30.8 million. Even more encouraging were its same-store sales, which rose 3.1% this quarter. For the trailing nine months, comps are at 3.3%. Famous Dave's is showing clear signs of improvement in this metric: Comps in the year-ago quarter were 1.9%, and were even less in 2004 at just 0.2%.
To his credit, CEO David Gronkin predicted earlier in the year that the positive comps would continue. A contributing factor is that Famous Dave's is using a much more focused real estate strategy that is moving new stores to more desirable locations like busy retail centers.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Despite flat operating margins for the quarter, which remained at 9.4%, diluted earnings-per-share growth increased 36.4% year over year to $0.15. Two cents of this gain, however, is related to a one-time reserve benefit. A share repurchase program contributed modestly to the increase -- the company has 1% fewer shares outstanding than a year ago.
With only 40 company-owned locations and another 102 franchise sites, it's obvious that restaurant unit expansion will be an important part of Famous Dave's growth strategy. It opened a new market by going into Florida during the third quarter. Look for it to open eight additional sites around the country in the fourth quarter. It has more than 160 development agreements with franchisees, and this doesn't include plans for company-owned units. Clearly, Famous Dave's has some aggressive plans.
In recent trading, shares of the restaurateur are being dropped, but I attribute some of this sell-off to the fact that the stock rose sharply just before the earnings release, and that it is not cheap, now trading at 21 times trailing-12-months earnings.
The big picture shows a concept with accelerating comps, stable margins, and plenty of unit growth opportunities, which should be quite appetizing for long-term-minded shareholders.
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At the time of publication, Fool contributor Jeremy MacNealy had a player rating of 96.99 and was ranked 373 out of 12,017 participants at Motley Fool CAPS; his profile is listed under jmacn22. He has no financial interest in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a nifty disclosure policy.
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