Top 5 Restaurant Stocks To Own For 2014

Margins matter. The more Materion (NYSE: MTRN  ) 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 Materion’s competitive position could be.

Here’s the current margin snapshot for Materion over the trailing 12 months: Gross margin is 16.4%, while operating margin is 3.4% and net margin is 2.1%.

Unfortunately, a look at the most recent numbers doesn’t tell us much about where Materion has been, or where it’s going. A company with rising gross and operating margins often fuels its growth by increasing demand for its products. If it sells more units while keeping costs in check, its profitability increases. Conversely, a company with gross margins that inch downward over time is often losing out to competition, and possibly engaging in a race to the bottom on prices. If it can’t make up for this problem by cutting costs — and most companies can’t — then both the business and its shares face a decidedly bleak outlook.

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks To Own For 2014: Darden Restaurants Inc (DRI)

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (Darden), incorporated in March 1995, is a company owned and full-service restaurant company. As of May 27, 2012, the Company operated through subsidiaries 1,994 restaurants in the United States and Canada. In the United States, it operated 1,961 restaurants in all 50 states, including 677 Red Lobster, 786 Olive Garden, 386 LongHorn Steakhouse, 46 The Capital Grille, 30 Bahama Breeze, 23 Seasons 52, eight Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and three Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurants, and two test synergy restaurants, which house both a Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurant in the same building. In Canada, the Company operated 33 restaurants, including 27 Red Lobster and six Olive Garden restaurants. Through subsidiaries, it owns and operates all of its restaurants in the United States and Canada, except for three restaurants located in Central Florida that is owned by joint ventures it manages. On November 14, 2011, it acquired eight Eddie V’s Prime Seafo od restaurants and three Wildfish Seafood Grille restaurants.

As of May 27, 2012, the Company had 28 restaurants outside the United States and Canada operated by independent third parties pursuant to area development and franchise agreements, including five LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants in Puerto Rico, 22 Red Lobster restaurants in Japan, and one Red Lobster restaurant in Dubai. During fiscal year ended May 27, 2012, it opened 89 net new restaurants in the United States and Canada.

Red Lobster

Red Lobster is a full-service dining seafood specialty restaurant operator in the United States. It offers a menu featuring fresh fish, shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops and other seafood. The menu includes a variety of specialty seafood and non-seafood entrees, appetizers and desserts. Red Lobster maintains different lunch and dinner menus and different menus across its trade areas.

Olive Garden

Olive Garden is a full s ervice dining Italian restaurant operator in the United Stat! es. Olive Garden’s menu includes a range of authentic Italian foods featuring fresh ingredients and a wine list that includes a selection of wines imported from Italy. The menu includes flatbreads and other appetizers, soups, salad and garlic bread sticks, baked pastas, sauted specialties with chicken, seafood and fresh vegetables, grilled meats, and a variety of desserts. Olive Garden also uses coffee imported from Italy for its espresso and cappuccino.

LongHorn Steakhouse

LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants are full-service establishments serving both lunch and dinner. With locations in 35 states, primarily in the Eastern half of the United States, LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants feature a range of menu items, including signature fresh steaks, as well as salmon, shrimp, chicken, ribs, pork chops, burgers and prime rib.

The Capital Grille

The Capital Grille has locations in metropolitan cities in the United States. The Capit al Grille offers seafood flown in daily and culinary specials created by its chefs. The restaurants feature a wine list offering over 350 selections, personalized service, and private dining rooms.

Bahama Breeze

Bahama Breeze restaurants bring guests the feeling of a Caribbean escape, offering the food, drinks and atmosphere found in the islands. The menu features Caribbean-inspired seafood, chicken and steaks, as well as signature specialty drinks. During fiscal 2012, it opened four Bahama Breeze restaurant.

Seasons 52

Seasons 52 is a grill and wine bar with seasonally inspired menus offering ingredients to meals that are lower in calories than comparable restaurant meals. It offers a wine list of more than 90 wines with approximately 60 available by the glass. As of May 27, 2012, there were 23 Seasons 52 restaurants in the United States.

Synergy restaurant

Synergy restaurant houses both a Red Lo bster and Olive Garden restaurant in the same building, but ! with sepa! rate front doors, dining rooms and brand-specific menus. It opened a second synergy test location during fiscal 2012.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By John Kell var popups = dojo.query(“.socialByline .popC”); popups.forEach(func]

    Activist investor Barington Capital Group LP on Wednesday called for the Darden Restaurants Inc.(DRI) to consider seeking out a new chief executive, saying it has “lost confidence” in current chief Clarence Otis’ ability to run the company.

  • [By Ben Levisohn]

    The gloves are off. Barington Capital Group, which first proposed restructuring Darden Restaurants (DRI) by working with management, has changed course and asked Darden’s independent directors to name an independent chairman and consider hiring a new CEO.

  • [By Victor Selva]

    Darden Restaurants Inc. (DRI) is the world’s largest publicly held casual dining restaurant company. It owns and operates the Olive Garden®, Red Lobster®, LongHorn Steakhouse®, The Capital Grille®, Yard House®, Bahama Breeze®, Seasons 52®, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood® and Wildfish Seafood Grille® restaurant brands.

  • [By Michael Lewis]

    Darden Restaurants (NYSE: DRI  ) reported quarterly results late last week, and the numbers were pretty much as expected, with lower profit and rough same-store sales figures. For investors, the focus should not be on these short-term trends but the long-term trajectory of the business. The sale of Red Lobster continues to generate controversy, both from existing shareholders and outside pundits. The company is spending big money on a revamp plan, trying to juice up its mature, slow-growing assets (mainly Olive Garden) while accelerating the expansion of its appetizing ones. There is so much potential here for the world’s largest casual-service restaurant business, but management has not delivered in recent times. Is that about to change?

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks To Own 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.

  • [By Ben Rooney]

    There were three other consumer focused companies that more than doubled: sandwich shop Potbelly (PBPB), organic grocery store Sprouts Farmers Market (SFM) and Noodles & Co. (NDLS), a casual dining chain.

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks To Own For 2014: Chanticleer Holdings Inc (HOTR)

Chanticleer Holdings, Inc., incorporated in 1999, is a business operator focused on expanding the Hooters casual dining restaurant brand in international markets. Chanticleer has rights to develop and operate Hooters restaurants in South Africa and has joint ventured with the current franchisee in Australia. The company also has franchise rights to develop Hungary and parts of Brazil while evaluating several additional opportunities internationally. During the year ended December 31, 2011, Chanticleer and a group of private equity investors acquired Hooters of America, Inc. (HOA). HOA is the franchisor and operator of over 450 Hooters restaurants in 44 states and 28 foreign countries. In October 2013, Chanticleer Holdings Inc purchased American Roadside Burgers, Inc. In December 12, 2013, Chanticleer Holdings Inc acquired a 51% interest in JF Restaurants LLC, an owner and operator of restaurants. In February 2014, it acquired Hooters’ United States Pacific Northwest franch ise rights and two existing restaurants in Oregon and Washington.

The Company operates in two business segments: Hooters franchise restaurants, and investment management and consulting services businesses. Hooters has also branched out to other areas, including licensing its name to a golf tour and the sale of packaged food in supermarkets. Its subsidiaries include Chanticleer Advisors, LLC, (Advisors), Avenel Ventures, LLC (Ventures), Avenel Financial Services, LLC (AFS), Chanticleer Holdings Limited (CHL), Chanticleer Holdings Australia Pty, Ltd. (CHA), Chanticleer Investment Partners, LLC (CIP), DineOut SA Ltd. (DineOut), Kiarabrite (Pty) Ltd (KPL), Dimaflo (Pty) Ltd (DFLO), Tundraspex (Pty) Ltd (TPL), Civisign (Pty) Ltd (CPL), Dimalogix (Pty) Ltd (DLOG) and Crown Restaurants Kft. (CRK).

South Africa

As of December 31, 2011, the Company had four Hooters locations in South Africa in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg (two locations), which are owned by four companies, which it control. The Com! pany formed a management company to operate the current South African Hooters locations. It owns 80% of the management company, with two members of local management owning the remaining 20%. The management company charges a management fee of 5% of net revenues to the Hooters locations in South Africa.

Other Countries

The Company has acquired development rights for Hooters in five states of Brazil, which would include Rio de Janeiro. It has applied to HOA for franchise rights in Hungary, where it own 80% of the entity the Company anticipate will hold the franchise rights and its local partner owns the remaining 20%. The Company has partnered with the Hooters franchisee in a joint venture in which it owns 49% and its partner 51%. The first Hooters restaurant under this joint venture (which would be the third Hooters restaurant open in Australia) opened in January 2012 in Campbelltown, a suburb of Sydney. It has a non-binding letter of intent with a fr anchisee to purchase 100% of an existing Hooters location.

Management and consulting services

The Company provides management and consulting services for small companies, which are seeking to become publicly traded. The Company also provides management and investment services for Investors LLC and Investors II, which are affiliates of the Company.

Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Konrad Kuhn]

    Chanticleer Holdings (HOTR), a franchisee of international Hooters restaurants, has exploded through its upside target prices; however, in our view, the stock has a long way to go, as it expands its restaurants abroad, and in the US.

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks To Own 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

Top 5 Restaurant Stocks To Own For 2014: Planet Platinum Ltd (PPN)

Planet Platinum Limited is an Australia-based company engaged in the operation of Showgirls Bar 20 and the on-going rental of property in Elsternwick. The Company operates in two segments: hospitality and entertainment and property rental businesses. The Company’s hospitality and entertainment segment comprises operations of Showgirls Bar 20 in Melbourne and is engaged in the nightclub through the provision of beverages and adult entertainment. Property segment comprise maintaining of rental property at Home Street, Elsternwick. The Company continues to receive lease rentals from its Home Street property. The investment property is located at 12 Home Street, Elsternwick Victoria. Advisors’ Opinion:

  • [By Tabitha Jean Naylor]

    Americans consume a lot of chicken. It estimated that Americans consume about 81 pounds of poultry per year, per capita. With there being upwards of 310 million people living in the United States, it is no wonder why poultry production is big business. Two of the biggest names in poultry production are Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) and Pilgrim’s Pride (NASDAQ: PPN).