Revenue growth drives earnings and raises investors’ confidence, which should ultimately push stock prices upward.
In this article, we’ll be comparing the revenue growth of fast casual companies Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG), Panera Bread (PNRA), Shake Shack (SHAK), Habit Grill (HABT), Fiesta Restaurant Group (FRGI), Noodles & Company (NDLS), Zoe’s Kitchen (ZOES), and Potbelly (PBPB). The median revenue growth of these companies in 4Q15 was at 11.9%.
Younger companies reported higher growth
Younger companies Shake Shack, Habit Grill, and Zoe’s Kitchen reported revenue growth of 31.9%, 20.1%, and 24.1% respectively, over their respective 4Q14 revenues. Both SHAK and HABT went public in 2015, while ZOES went public in 2014.
It’s natural for younger companies still in their growth phases to report strong growth, as they are expanding their businesses. The revenues of these companies were driven by unit growth and same-store sales growth. This is typical, as newer franchises have more room to grow than their older competitors. We’ll be discussing revenue drivers in the next few articles.
More established companies Fiesta Restaurant Group, Potbelly, and Noodles & Company reported revenue growth of 13%, 10.8%, and 7.3%, respectively.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, which was hit by a major food safety issue in October 2015, reported a fall of 7.2% in its revenue compared to 4Q14. Its fall in same-store sales growth led to a fall in its revenue.
Another company that reported lower revenue growth was Panera Bread at 2.8%. PNRA’s fall in revenue growth was largely due to its refranchising. The company operated fewer company-owned restaurants in 4Q15 compared to 4Q14. PNRA also forms 0.71% of the holdings of the iShares S&P Mid-Cap 400 Growth ETF (IJK).