Concerns abound in the restaurant industry at the moment: the payroll tax, a looming health insurance mandate, commodity costs and a desire by politicians and the public to boost the minimum wage to $9 an hour. But lenders targeting the restaurant industry don’t appear overly concerned by any of these issues.
As they’ve come out with their fourth quarter financials, a number of casual dining restaurant chains, including BJ’s Restaurant Group and DineEquity, have uttered dismal warnings about the current year. Now we’ve got our first evidence of how bad it might be for them, thanks to Knapp Track.
Having been rejected, and on Valentine’s Day no less, Tilman Fertitta is no longer playing Mr. Nice Guy. Fertitta’s company, Landry’s Restaurants, sent a letter this week to Ark Restaurants’ board, questioning its motives in rejecting Fertitta’s $22-per-share offer for the company last month.
The first person we saw upon pulling in the parking lot at the newly opened Popeyes in suburban Minneapolis was a much needed traffic cop. Inside, there was barely enough room to fit all the customers. This once sleepy chicken chain has indeed become a hot ticket, but now it has to sustain that success.
No commodity is as fascinating to track as the chicken wing, simply because few commodities have gone through such wild swings in prices—low prices one year, high prices the next. Now, it appears, chicken wings are heading back downward again just weeks after surpassing the ungodly $2.10 mark.
Stocks have hit records over the past two days, despite looming federal budget cuts, because of a series of encouraging economic reports. Many restaurant stocks have followed suit: several of them, in fact, from AFC Enterprises to Wendy’s, are trading at or near 52-week highs. Do these stocks deserve it?
Bob Evans didn’t get a whole lot for its Mimi’s Café brand last month largely because the chain didn’t make much of a profit. And low profits typically yield low multiples. So it has to be tempting for its new owner to start slashing costs, right? Perhaps, but Le Duff America insists that won’t be the case.
If you can’t beat them, put them on your board so you won’t have to bother. That’s what Minneapolis-based Famous Dave’s is doing with its activist, Patrick Walsh. The barbecue chain said today that it has agreed to place Walsh among its slate of director nominees, so long as he doesn’t buy up too much stock.
Will the Angus Burger go the way of the Arch Deluxe? It’s looking that way. The company is apparently viewing options for its premium burger line, amid a menu shakeup designed to make way for new items while ridding the company of some poor-selling items.
As we’ve said more than once, Cracker Barrel’s run-up in stock recently has been good for its largest shareholder, Biglari Holdings. But, apparently, it’s also been quite good for Biglari Holdings’ biggest shareholder, chairman and its namesake, Sardar Biglari.
Some solid financials and a couple of good concepts weren’t enough to keep Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group from struggling out of the gate when it went public last summer. But since then, those financials have taken over, the stock is up, and now its controlling shareholder is selling off a chunk of shares.
Yup, the end of the payroll tax break is hurting casual dining chains. DineEquity, the Glendale, California-based owner of Applebee’s and IHOP today said that the tax hike is hurting consumer spending, joining a chorus of dine-in concepts that are feeling the heat as consumers suddenly find less in their paychecks.
(UPDATED) Sardar Biglari is making a lot of money today. Cracker Barrel, in which Biglari Holdings owns 20 percent of the stock, is having a spectacular day on Wall Street after it released a quarterly report showing steady traffic and increased sales and an improved outlook for 2013.
J. Alexander’s has been part of American Blue Ribbon Holdings for a few months and already it’s being spun off. Fidelity, American’s owner, said today that it is forming a company in Nashville focused exclusively on the upscale segment, with J. Alexander’s and the 10-unit Stoney River Legendary Steaks concept.
Your move, Mr. Fertitta. Ark Restaurants this morning turned down a buyout offer from Landry’s Chairman Tilman Fertitta, calling the $22-per-share offer from Houston’s serial restaurant acquirer “inadequate, not compelling and not in the best interests of Ark Restaurants shareholders.”
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