Wall Street has been turning up its nose at many stocks in the food biz, which could create some tasty offerings for Foolish investors. The Cheesecake Factory
Sonic saw comparable same-store sales increase a stout 4.4% in the fourth quarter. Strong comps and an increase of 175 drive-in units over fiscal 2005 led to 13% top-line growth in the most recent period, matched by 13% net income growth.
One concern: Higher energy costs lowered Sonic's operating margins from 26% to 21.8% year over year. Going into next year, the company expects these costs to be offset by softening commodities prices, which should help stabilize margins.
Higher energy costs and tighter margins have put many restaurant stocks under pressure this past year. This may explain why Motley Fool Hidden Gems pick Middleby
Do these beaten-down restaurant stocks truly offer an enticing buying opportunity? Right now, Wall Street is hyping gold and oil stocks, with more than a few good reasons. But buying on hype can often backfire, and right now, there are several food franchises that look good to this Fool.
Sonic's weak stock has become a buying opportunity for, well, Sonic itself. The company maintains a healthy cash flow, which it uses to fund expansion and repurchase shares. In September alone, it bought back $33.9 million worth. Since share buybacks are an assertion of value at current prices, Foolish investors would be wise to take a closer look.
Read on for more quarter-pound Foolishness:
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Middleby and Buffalo Wild Wings are Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendations.