There always seems to be restaurant news on the menu. As I do every week, let's take a look at some of this week's more appetizing stories.
1. There's gold in them thar arches
Sure, the burger-flipping giant's biggest gains are coming from abroad. Just this week, the company opened its 1,000th unit in China. However, even if you back out the huge uptick in foreign comps, domestic eateries still came through with a 5.3% increase last month.
2. Sting like an Applebee's
Casual-dining chains keep rolling out value menus, and Applebee's is no exception. The DineEquity
The economy may be a stinker, but casual-dining fans with the disposable income to spare clearly have some great eatery deals to mull over.
3. What about Bob?
You rarely see a company increase its dividend just as it's lowering its guidance, but Bob Evans
The upside for yield-chasers? The payout's expanding like a regular patron's waistline. Bob Evans is boosting its quarterly dividend by 14%, to $0.16 a share.
4. The steaks aren't high
There's more shake than steak at Steak n Shake
I don't get it. I thought Steak n Shake had what it takes to survive a recessionary slowdown. You can get fed for a fiver at the restaurant, if you know what to order. It's one of the cheapest table-service concepts out there. Maybe the company just isn't getting that thrifty message across in its marketing. Let's hope one of its new holiday shakes is fortified with additional common sense.
5. Nothing fishy about it
Is this the last public quarter for Landry's
Landry's posted an operating loss on a small dip in revenue during the third quarter. This may be the company's final hurrah, since CEO Tilman J. Fertitta is in the process of taking the company private at $13.50 a share -- the new, lower price to which the deal sank in October. Will the company's sloppy operations find Fertitta playing "how low can you go" limbo again? That's unlikely, though the widening spread between the stock's current price and the buyout bid clearly has the market nervous.
6. No softness at Hardee's
McDonald's isn't the only fast-food chain chiming in with higher comps for the month of October. CKE Restaurants
7. Eat this, Nathan's
I have a new contest idea for next summer. Instead of Nathan's Famous
Nathan's is certainly trying to set the right example. It announced a 500,000-share buyback authorization yesterday. I have a tip for Nathan's: Dip the certificates in water first, Kobayashi style. They go down easier that way.
Check out this week's dessert specials:
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is the rare foodie who embraces restaurant chains. 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.
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