It's been a busy week for restaurant stocks, so I hope you're hungry. Let's dig into a few of the earnings reports and headlines that you can cut like a knife.
Believe it or not, most of the stories in this out-of-favor sector are actually quite positive this time around. Bon appetit!
1. Putting on a Show at CPK
The gourmet-pie tossing culinary geniuses at California Pizza Kitchen
Walking down the income statement, CPK's performance takes a turn for the ugly before cleaning up nicely in the end. See, operating profits fell during the quarter as margins were squeezed, with food and labor costs outpacing the top-line gains. Net income squeaked out a 4% increase, but it gets even better on a per share basis -- up 24% to $0.26 -- given the company's aggressive share repurchases over the past year.
Beyond its namesake chain, the company will open its second LA Food Show restaurant in Beverly Hills. The original -- in Manhattan Beach, California -- serves up a slightly more upscale menu with more of an emphasis on international dishes than what CPK loyalists get at the flagship concept.
2. You're going to Hollywood, Buca
Investors may have forgotten about Buca
3. Go fish, Landry's
Another company that is on a rocky road to privatization is Landry's
Shares closed yesterday at $15.75, indicating that there is a fair deal of skepticism that the deal will go through. The stock's prospects may begin to improve, though, after this morning's solid quarterly report. Net income from continuing operations roughly doubled to $0.91 a share, despite a mere 1% gain in revenue. Sharp attention to keeping costs in check at the eatery level and slashing corporate overhead helped drive profits higher. Analysts were expecting just $0.59 a share in earnings, so keep fishing Wall Street.
4. You go, Ronald
If you thought that Chipotle Mexican Grill
Yes, McDonald's showing was fueled by favorable currency movements and robust international performance, but even its stateside burger joints came through with a 6.7% uptick in comparable sales.
5. C'mon Dave, give me a break
Your appetite is no match for Famous Dave's of America
A million shares may not seem like much, but Famous Dave's only has 9.3 million shares outstanding. In other words, going through with this week's buy would reduce the stock count by 11%.
6. Bennigan's version 2.0
Don't bury Bennigan's and Steak and Ale just yet. The parent company may have shocked the casual dining industry two weeks ago with its bankruptcy liquidation, but some of the Bennigan's franchisees that won't close their stores may make a play for the company-owned units that did shut down.
I've had my doubts about the future of Bennigan's franchisees. Without a parent company to lend marketing support and menu standardization, what's the point? How can traffic grow when the consumer falsely believes that all of the locations went out of business? Why not simply reopen as Ben Again's -- or heck, even Born Again's -- and give it a new go? Well, those franchisees have more spunk than I gave them credit for. Good luck out there, and save a Monte Cristo sandwich for me.
Check out this week's dessert specials:
Famous Dave's of America is a Motley Fool HG PayDirt selection. Chipotle Mexican Grill Ord Shs is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick. Chipotle Mexican Grill is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is the rare foodie that embraces restaurant chains. He's busy looking for that elusive Monte Cristo. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.