Following the restaurant industry’s third-quarter earnings results, one team of analysts on the Street indicates that based on valuation, Yum! Brands Inc. (YUM) and McDonald’s Corp. (MCD) are the most compelling of the quick-serve chains.
In a recent research note, Bernstein analyst Sara Senatore noted that while price-to-earnings (P/E) is a popular metric, in the restaurant space, rent-adjusted enterprise value to invested capital is a more comprehensive way to compare stocks. In that fashion, as Yum -- with brands that include KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell -- and McDonald’s have both seen their growth expectations increase over the past few months due to solid quarterly results, she expects more upside in shares.
Senatore views YUM’s valuation as “very reasonable” and expects future returns to exceed historical levels. The analyst sees potential for upside surprises to MCD’s earnings per share (EPS) growth. Trading nearly flat Friday afternoon at $78.64, YUM reflects a 24.2% gain year-to-date (YTD), while MCD, down 0.7% at $166.93, has grown 37.1% over the same period. Both have outperformed the S&P 500’s 15.3% increase this year.
Chipotle, Starbucks Also Attractive
Senatore offered a more bearish outlook on Domino’s Pizza Inc. (DPZ), also a player in the fast-service space, writing that “risk of slowing growth and returns is increasing.” (See also: Buy McDonald’s on Its Digital Push: BTIG.)
The Bernstein analysts also looked at fast-casual and coffee chains, indicating that Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG) looks significantly undervalued. “CMG valuation clearly reflects skepticism on topline and margins,” wrote Senatore, reiterating her view that the burrito chain “can return to growth (albeit slower than previously) and regain its historical economic model.”
Shares of Seattle-based coffee chain Starbucks Corp. (SBUX), sitting “modestly below the line (i.e. the market is not overly bullish on growth)” after last quarter’s updated long-term growth guidance, looks “reasonable to attractive” at current levels. (See also: Ditch Chipotle, McDonald’s, Starbucks: Stifel.)