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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where's the dinner tonight?

Well, being a connoisseur of food, I love to visit world cuisines and new restaurants in the proximity. And that includes few restaurant chains as well. I am a global individual, ain't I? Restaurant/dining sector was punished hard during the recession of 2007. Few chains were not able to produce profits for consecutive 2 years. And few bounced back like a marathon spring. But as they are saying, gone are the days! Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) is up again and back at 2005-2007 levels. Consumers have started to hate cooking food at home and so the sector components have started to cook some profits after years.

Here are some of the characteristics of this rebounding and bullying sector:

  • Industry leaders: Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc (CMG), Panera Bread Company (PNRA), BJ's Restaurant Inc (BJRI) and Domino's Pizza, Inc (DPZ) are leading the sector with handsome growth and stock appreciation. 
  • Other growth proponents: Few restaurants chains have not been able to beat the market, but they have succeeded to help sector to boost its performance. They are Yum! Brand, Inc (YUM), Darden Restaurants, Inc (DRI), Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Inc (RRGB), The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (CAKE), California Pizza Kitchen, Inc (CPKI), Papa John's International, Inc (PZZA) and many others.
  • Turnarounds: A rise in consumer confidence, fall in unemployment rate, introduction of breakfast menus like Subway did, diversification in the traditional core menu like Domino's did by introducing all those gourmet pastas and subs and expansion of operations in emerging markets where consumers have newly found wealth to spend. 
  • Optimism: Rise in IPOs is a good indication of industry optimism. Recently, Arcos Dorados Holdings, Inc (ARCO), Bravo Brio Restaurant Group, Inc (BBRG) and Country Style Cooking Restaurant Chain Co. Ltd (CCSC) went public. Leading coffee giant Dunkin Donuts Inc has just filed for an IPO under the ticker of DNKN.
  • Pessimism: This sector is not an exception and that is the reason why it has also been affected by rising oil prices and skyrocketing inflation. These macroeconomic factors have caused restaurant chains to increase the noticeable prices in their menus.

... Mind well! Subway Restaurants have the honor of being considered as the world's largest restaurant chain after their locations figure surpassed McDonald's Corp (MCD) in the beginning of this year. And and and... The world's largest restaurant chain is still not publicly traded.

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