Top 5 Restaurant Stocks For 2014

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article incorrectly referred to HIV as AIDS in some instances. This has been revised in the headline and body of the article. The Fool regrets the error.

Is this the HIV cure we’ve been waiting for?

According to multiple reports, Harvard researchers Timothy Henrich and Daniel Kuritzkes have recently noted a surprising side-effect to cancer treatments performed on two separate patients who also happen to be HIV-positive.

After undergoing bone marrow transplants to treat cancers of the blood, both men were later discovered to have no trace of HIV left in their system.

Encouraged by the results, the patients have since stopped taking anti-HIV drug treatments. Seven weeks later (for one patient), and 15 weeks later (for the other), the virus has not returned. And while the researchers are hesitant to pronounce the men “cured” — warning that there’s still a risk the virus can resurface even months after initially disappearing — they do cautiously concede that the patients are “doing very well.”

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks For 2014: Noodles & Co (NDLS)

Noodles & Company, incorporated on December 19, 2002, is a casual restaurant concept offering lunch and dinner. The Company offers noodle and pasta dishes, staples of many cuisines, with the goal of delivering fresh ingredients and flavors globally under one roof from Pad Thai to Mac & Cheese. The Company’s globally inspired menu includes a variety of cooked-to-order dishes, including noodles and pasta, soups, salads and sandwiches, which are served on china by its friendly team members.

As of May 28, 2013, including the 16 Company owned restaurants and one franchise restaurant opened in 2013. The Company opened 39 new company owned restaurants and six franchise restaurants. In 2012, the Company began using Your World Kitchen to describe the breadth of its offering and its customers’ dining experience.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]

    Justin Sullivan/Getty Images March hasn’t been a good month for the quick-service industry. Sbarro — the pizza and pasta chain that’s a staple in many malls — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization earlier this month. A few days later it was toasted-sandwich maker Quiznos following suit. This doesn’t mean that you’ll never have another slice of Sbarro’s New York-style pizza or a French dip sub at Quiznos. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, where cash-strapped companies wind down their operations, Chapter 11 gives companies another chance to get it right after negotiating with creditors. It’s not a good place to be — and this is the second time Sbarro has gone this route in the past three years. However, things have to be pretty bad if you’re willing to risk upsetting creditors and potentially hand over ownership in the pursuit of a cleaner balance sheet. Sbarro and Quiznos hope that a fiscal makeover will turn the tide. Sbarro will surrender ownership to lenders in a move that will replace 80 percent of its debt with equity. Quiznos filed a prepackaged restructuring plan that would shave $400 million of debt. Both chains will live on, but they may not be the same. Mauled at the Mall Sbarro has shut 180 company-owned locations with plans to shutter dozens more. There are now less than 800 units. Quiznos has 2,100 largely franchisee-owned locations, but we’ll have to see how that holds up over time. Sbarro cited an “unprecedented decline in mall traffic” as a factor in its slide. As shoppers migrate online, there has been slower foot traffic at the suburban mall and hence to the food court. Quiznos relies on standalone locations and strip-mall outlets that haven’t necessarily suffered from the thinning shopping mall crowds that have hurt Sbarro. However, Quiznos has been hit by everything from the larger Subway following it into toasted subs to folks scaling back on carbohydrates. It didn’t seem as if this was a problem last year. Two of the hotte

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    What happens when noodles gets overcooked? They turn into a gooey, mushy mess. What happens when Noodles & Co (NDLS), which trades at a 78.5 times forward earnings, releases disappointing results? It too turns into a gooey, mushy mess.

  • [By Lauren Pollock]

    Noodles(NDLS) & Co.’s third-quarter profit soared as the fast-casual dining chain’s sales were bolstered by new restaurant openings and rising demand at established locations. Though sales were boosted by higher traffic and an increase in the amount spent per customer, shares of Noodles dropped 7.9% to $43 in premarket trading as the revenue growth wasn’t as lofty as analysts expected.

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks For 2014: Einstein Noah Restaurant Group Inc (BAGL)

Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc. (ENRGI), incorporated on October 21, 1992, is an owner/operator, franchisor and licensor of bagel specialty restaurants in the United States. ENRGI operates under the Einstein Bros. Bagels (Einstein Bros.), Noah’s New York Bagels (Noah’s) and Manhattan Bagel Company (Manhattan Bagel) brands. ENRGI operates in three business segments: the Company-owned restaurants segment, the manufacturing and commissary segment, and the franchise and license segment. The Company-owned restaurants segment includes the restaurants that it owns. The manufacturing and commissary segment produces and distributes bagel dough and other products to its Company-owned restaurants, licensees and franchisees and other third parties. The franchise and license segment earns royalties and other fees from the use of trademarks and operating systems developed for the Einstein Bros., Noah’s and Manhattan Bagel brands.

During the fiscal year ended Jan uary 1, 2013 (fiscal 2012), ENRGI acquired eight restaurants and opened an additional 15 Company-owned restaurants. It closed one Company-owned restaurant during fiscal 2012. On January 31, 2012, the Company sold a Company-owned restaurant. As of January 1, 2013, it had 816 restaurants in 39 states and in the District of Columbia. In January 2013, the Company opened an Einstein Bros. franchise in Montana. Its product offerings include fresh-baked bagels and other bakery items baked onsite, ma de-to-order breakfast and lunch sandwiches on a range of bagels, breads or wraps, gourmet soups and salads, assorted pastries, premium coffees and an assortment of snacks. Its manufacturing and independent distribution network delivers ingredients that are delivered fresh to its restaurants.

Company-owned restaurants

Einstein Bros. offers a menu that provides food for breakfast and lunch, including fresh-baked bagels and hot breakfast sandwiches, freshly prepa red lunch sandwiches, cream cheese and other spreads, specia! lty coffees and teas, soups, salads and other menu offerings. Noah’s is a neighborhood-based bakery/deli restaurant that serves fresh-baked bagels, hot breakfast sandwiches, made-to-order deli-style sandwiches, cream cheese and other spreads, specialty coffees and teas, soups, salads and other menu offerings. Manhattan Bagel provides a traditional New York style boil and baked bagel. Manhattan Bagel also serves a range of grilled sandwiches, freshly made deli sandwiches, freshly prepared breakfast sandwiches, soups, and a range of other fresh-baked sweets. Similar to Einstein Bros. and Noah’s, Manhattan Bagel also features a line of fresh brewed coffees and specialty coffee/espresso beverages. During fiscal 2012, ENRGI generated approximately 90% of its total revenue from restaurant sales at its Company-owned restaurants.

Manufacturing and Commissaries

ENRGI operates a bagel dough manufacturing facility in Whittier, California and has contracts with two suppliers to produce bagel dough and sweets to the specifications. These facilities provide frozen dough, partially-baked frozen bagels and fully baked sweets for its Company-owned restaurants, franchisees and licensees. These operations provide the restaurants with food products, such as sliced meats, cheeses, and/or certain salad ingredients. It has recipes and production processes for the bagel dough, cream cheese and coffee. Frozen, or partially baked and frozen, bagel dough is shipped to all of its Company-owned, franchised and licensed restaurants where the dough is then baked onsite. Its purchases other ingredients used in the restaurants, such as meat, lettuce, tomatoes and condiments, from a select group of third party suppliers.

Franchise and Licensing

ENRGI offers Einstein Bros. franchises to qualified area developers. As of January 1, 2013, the Company was registered to offer Einstein Bros. franchises in 49 states and the Distr ict of Columbia. It also has a franchise base in the Manhatt! an Bagel ! brand. Its licensees are located primarily in colleges and universities, hospitals, airports and military bases. As of February 25, 2013, it had 28 development agreements in place for 136 total restaurants, 34 of which have already opened. During fiscal 2012, it opened 13 franchised locations and 27 licensed locations. During fiscal 2012, approximately 3% of its total revenue was generated by the Company’s franchise and license operations.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By MARKETWATCH]

    SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Wall Street hedge-fund investor David Einhorn was active in the last quarter of 2013, taking new stakes in technology and energy companies, while trimming existing holdings in insurer Aetna (AET) , NCR Corp (NCR) and WPX Energy (WPX) , according to an SEC filing Friday. Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital picked up stakes in Anadarko Petroleum (APC) , BP (BP) , McDermott Intl. (MDR) , Micron Technolgy (MU) and Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) , according to the latest 13F filing. He trimmed stakes in Aetna, Einstein Noah (BAGL) and WPX Energy, according to the filing.

  • [By John Udovich]

    At the end of last week, small cap sandwich stock Potbelly Corp (NASDAQ: PBPB) had a delicious surge of 120% for its IPO – meaning its probably a good idea to see whether its still worth getting in on the action plus take a look at the performance of peers Cosi Inc (NASDAQ: COSI), Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ: PNRA) and Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Inc (NASDAQ: BAGL) as Subway remains private. I should mention that competing with Subway in the sandwich business is a tall order as they have 40,229 restaurants in 102 countries and territories as of early September – making them the largest single-brand restaurant chain and the largest restaurant operator globally. However, Potbelly Corp and its peers Cosi Inc, Panera Bread Co and Einstein Noah Restaurant Group aren’t slugging it out directly with Subway.

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks For 2014: Sodexo SA (SW)

Sodexo SA, (formerly Sodexho Alliance SA), is a global provider of services in three primary business areas: The On-site Services Solutions offer various services that range from food services to construction management, reception to the maintenance of scanners and laboratory equipment, management of data centers, leisure cruises and provides housekeeping to rehabilitation services at correctional facilities. The Motivation Solutions division provides passes and vouchers, comprising Restaurant Pass, Gift Pass, Sport Pass, Training Voucher, Service Card and Book Card, among others. The Company also provides Personal and Home Services in the form of childcare, tutoring, concierge services and in-home service care facilities. The Company is present in 80 countries in a number of geographic areas, such as North America, South America, Continental Europe and United Kingdom and Ireland. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Glenwoods]

    Recently giant food conglomerate, Cargill announced it had partnered with the Swiss biosynthetic pharmaceutical company, Evolva (EVE:SW), to develop a more consistent and less expensive stevia sweetener via Evolva’s microbial fermentation-based process.  This is big news for the future of stevia because a microbial fermentation-based process does not have to rely on soil conditions or weather, and stevia can be manufactured anywhere, thus having the potential of guaranteeing an endless supply line of stevia.  Through the microbial fermentation, the manufacturer has the capability to process the key sweet individual components of stevia using low-cost plant sugars, and allows for the individual components of stevia, regardless of how minute, to be developed creating blends in any volume, which then could open the door for these manufacturers to fine-tune its stevia to local tastes.  But what would be most attractive is that, because the fermentation process does not require the entire plant, the method could conceivably shave upwards of 70% off the cost of producing stevia extracts. 

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks For 2014: Ignite Restaurant Group Inc (IRG)

Ignite Restaurant Group, Inc., incorporated on February 4, 2002, operates two restaurant brands, Joe’s Crab Shack (Joe’s) and Brick House Tavern + Tap (Brick House). The Company’s Joe’s Crab Shack and Brick House Tavern + Tap operate in a diverse set of markets across the United States. Joe’s Crab Shack is a national chain of casual seafood restaurants serving a variety of seafood items, with an emphasis on crab. Brick House Tavern + Tap is a casual restaurant brand that provides guests a gastro pub experience by offering a blend of menu items. As of December 31, 2012, the Company owned and operated 144 restaurants in 33 states. In September 2013, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc announced the opening of its newest Joe’s Crab Shack restaurant, located in Newark, New Jersey.

Joe’s Crab Shack

The Company’s Joe’s Crab Shack offers an outdoor patio for guests to enjoy eating and drinking and a children’s playground. Joe’s also has many locatio ns that are located on waterfront property. Interior design elements include a nautical, vacation theme to invoke memories of beach vacations and a genuine crab shack experience. Joe’s Crab Shack restaurants have over 200 seats. Many of the Company’s restaurants also include a small gift shop where guests can purchase souvenirs to commemorate their dining experience. Joe’s Crab Shack also leverages its crab-forward menu with other crab items, including Made-From-Scratch Crab Cakes, Crab Nachos and Crazy-Good Crab Dip. In addition to its core crab-focused menu, Joe’s also offers a range of entrees featuring a variety of seafood, including the Get Stuffed Snapper, Surf ‘N Turf Burger and The Big Hook Up, as well as a range of traditional seafood entrees like the Fisherman’s Platter. Joe’s also offers several out of water options, such as Pan Fried Cheesy Chicken and Whiskey Smoked Ribs. In addition, alcoholic beverages include the Shark Bite, Category 5 Hurricane and Mason J ar cocktails emerging as guests’ top choices. Joe’s menu inc! ludes more than 29 items made with either Queen, Snow, Dungeness or King Crabs sourced from government regulated and sustainable fisheries. Its menu offers 14 appetizers, including Made-From-Scratch Crab Cakes, Crab Nachos and Crazy-Good Crab Dip, and over 50 entrees, including Steampots, Crab in a Bucket, Skillet Paella, Stuffed Snapper and out of water options like Whiskey Smoked Ribs.

Brick House Tavern + Tap

The Company’s Brick House’s interior decor includes custom lighting, dark mahogany woods, open sight lines, high definition television (HD TVs), and an inviting fireplace. In addition to a traditional dining room and bar area, Brick House also offers large communal tables and a section of leather recliners positioned in front of large HD TVs, where guests receive their own TV tray for dining. Outdoor seating is also available on the patio or around an open fire pit at nearly all locations. Both food and beverages are served by personable and engaging service staff. The typical Brick House restaurant is approximately 8,500 square feet and averages approximately 250 seats, which includes both traditional tables and seating options. Brick House offers its guests a selection of contemporary tavern food. Brick House’s menu includes 17 appetizers and over 53 entrees. Handcrafted appetizers include Deviled Eggs, Meatloaf Sliders, Brick Pizza, Meat and Cheese Board and Fried Stuffed Olives. Brick House offers an array of burgers, including The Kobe, which is hand formed from American Wagyu beef. Guests can also choose from a selection of homemade entrees, such as Drunken Chops, BBQ Baby Backs, Chicken & Waffles, and its Prime Rib Sandwich. In addition, Brick House’s Brick Burgers, include the Gun Show Burger and the Black & Bleu Burger. Brick House’s beverage selection includes imported and domestic beers along with hand-pulled cask beer. All Brick House restaurants have a bar that supports a variety of liquor drin ks, wine and beer cocktails like the Shandy and Bee Sting, a! s well as! specialty cocktails like the Dark & Stormy, Moscow Mule and The Zombie.

The Company competes with Red Lobster, Bonefish Grill, Landry’s Seafood, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, BJ’s Restaurants, Yard House, Cheesecake Factory, Bravo Brio and Buffalo Wild Wings, Applebee’s, Chili’s, T.G.I. Friday’s, Texas Roadhouse and Outback Steakhouse.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Victor Selva]

    The firm is currently Zacks Rank # 3 – Hold, and it also has a longer-term recommendation of “Underperfom.” For investors looking for a Zacks Rank # 1 – Strong Buy, Ignite Restaurant Group Inc. (IRG) and The Wendy’s Company (WEN) could be the options.

  • [By Seth Jayson]

    Margins matter. The more Ignite Restaurant Group (Nasdaq: IRG  ) keeps of each buck it earns in revenue, the more money it has to invest in growth, fund new strategic plans, or (gasp!) distribute to shareholders. Healthy margins often separate pretenders from the best stocks in the market. That’s why we check up on margins at least once a quarter in this series. I’m looking for the absolute numbers, so I can compare them to current and potential competitors, and any trend that may tell me how strong Ignite Restaurant Group’s competitive position could be.

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks For 2014: Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW)

Burger King Worldwide, Inc., incorporated on April 2, 2012, is a fast food hamburger restaurant, under the Burger King brand. The Company generates revenues from three sources: franchise revenues, consisting primarily of royalties based on a percentage of sales reported by franchise restaurants and fees paid by franchisees; property income from properties that it leases or subleases to franchisees, and retail sales at Company restaurants. In September 2012, it sold 41 Company-owned BURGER KING restaurants in Singapore to Rancak Selera Sdn Bhd. As of December 31, 2012, it owned or franchised a total of 12,997 restaurants in 86 countries and United States territories. In April 2013, it announced the sale of Burger King Restaurants of Canada (BKRC), including 94 Company owned BURGER KING restaurants in the Canada market to Redberry Investments Corp.

The Company operates in the FFHR category of the quick service restaurant (QSR), segment of the restaurant industry . In the United States, the QSR segment is the segment of the restaurant industry and has demonstrated steady growth over a long period of time. The Company launched four new menu platforms (salads, wraps, smoothies and desserts) and expanded its chicken, coffee and ancillary menu platforms. It has established a data driven marketing process, which is focused on driving restaurant sales and traffic, while targeting a broader consumer base with more inclusive messaging to reach women, parties with children and seniors.

United States and Canada (U.S. and Canada)

As of December 31, 2012, the Company had 7,293 franchise restaurants and 183 Company restaurants in the U.S. and Canada. During the year ended December 31, 2012, the Company refranchised 752 restaurants in the U.S. and Canada, bringing the region to 98% franchised. During the year ended December 31, 2012, it also continued to implement its Four Pillars strategy to improve comparable sales gro wth and franchise profitability by enhancing its Menu, Marke! ting Communications, Image, and Operations.

Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA)

As of December 31, 2012, the Company had 2,989 franchise restaurants and 132 Company restaurants in EMEA. While in Germany continues with 684 restaurants as of December 31, 2012, Turkey and Russia are two of its growing markets with net openings of 78 restaurants and 47 restaurants, respectively, during the year ended December 31, 2012.

Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC)

As of December 31, 2012, the Company had 1,290 franchise and 100 Company restaurants in LAC. In 2011, the Company entered into a joint venture agreement with Vinci Partners for Brazil and granted franchise and development rights to the joint venture. The Company received a minority stake and board seats in the joint venture without deploying its own capital.

Asia Pacific (APAC)

As of December 31, 2012, the Company had 1,007 franchise and 3 C ompany restaurants in APAC. As of December 31, 2012,the Company had 357 restaurants in Australia. It contributed 44 Company restaurants in China. In September 2012, the Company sold 38restaurants to Rancak Selera, the Burger King franchisee in Malaysia.

The Company competes with McDonald’s Corporation, Wendy’s Company, Carl’s Jr., Jack in the Box and Sonic.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Bloomberg Businessweek]

    Alamy McDonald’s (MCD) may recently have struggled to lure customers, but it still does far more business at each location than rival burger chains. The average McDonald’s restaurant in the U.S. drew $2.6 million in revenue last year. Average sales for No. 2 chain Burger King (BKW): $1.2 million, according to data from its largest franchisee, Carrols Restaurant Group (TAST). What accounts for this more-than-a-million gap? “Everything from marketing and site selection to product initiatives and franchisee selection have been historical factors,” said Nick Setyan, vice president in charge of equity research at Wedbush Securities, in an email. Here are four factors that drive higher sales volumes at McDonald’s: 1. McDonald’s gets more customers during off-peak hours. Look no further than the strength of its breakfast business relative that of Burger King, says Darren Tristano, executive vice president at restaurant consultancy Technomic. Egg McMuffin is part of the fast-food vocabulary in a way Burger King can’t match. And beverage and snack offerings such as McCafe and wraps have helped increase McDonald’s sales between meals. The dramatic impact from off-peak business explains why chains such as Taco Bell (YUM) are entering the battle for morning customers, while others such as Starbucks (SBUX) are seeking more afternoon and evening business. 2. The power of the Happy Meal. McDonald’s has the largest share of kids meal sales in the fast-food industry and gets about 10 percent of total sales from Happy Meals, the most commonly advertised child-oriented fast-food item on television. Burger King, meanwhile, is still trying to win back “parties with kids and seniors and women,” said Josh Kobza, Burger King’s chief financial officer, at a conference last year. One way to do that: “We got rid of the creepy king character that tended to scare away women and children.” 3. McDonald’s has an edge on efficiency. Despite recent operational challenges at McDonald’s,

  • [By Rick Aristotle Munarriz]

    Taco Bell/AP There will be a new player in the escalating battle for breakfast on Thursday when Yum Brands’ (YUM) Taco Bell rolls out its new morning menu, and the stakes are huge. McDonald’s (MCD) is the name that most people associate with breakfast fast food. Ever since it introduced the Egg McMuffin in 1972, the world’s largest burger flipper has set the bar for convenient morning meals for people on the go. The Waffle Taco will likely be Taco Bell’s signature breakfast item. The taco-shaped waffle wrapped around a sausage patty, scrambled eggs and cheese turned heads when it was tested in select locations late last year. However, it’s just one of the many items wooing commuters. Naturally there will be eggy breakfast burritos and grilled tacos with either bacon or sausage. The A.M. Crunchwrap gives a morning spin to the Crunchwrap Supreme by blanketing hash browns, scrambled eggs and either bacon or sausage in a pressed and folded flour tortilla. Tough Competition McDonald’s is struggling these days, but it’s still a fierce competitor when it comes to the first meal of the day. Just ask Burger King (BKW), which finds itself copying McDonald’s more often than not, including hotcakes served with sausage and the Egg McMuffin. Just ask Wendy’s (WEN), which retreated from its nationwide breakfast menu a couple of years ago. It’s starting to work its way back in by introducing breakfast in some markets. Even Starbucks (SBUX) has been feeling the threat of McDonald’s as the burger giant beefs up its McCafe line, offering guests drive-thru convenience that many Starbucks locations cannot. Earlier this month Starbucks ran a three-day promotion where it offered free coffee to anyone ordering a breakfast sandwich. It was meant to remind customers that it offers more than just java. Breakfast seems like an easy decision for a fast food leader. Who wouldn’t want to milk more revenue out of a location by extending its operating hours? However, with Wendy’s coming