Bring On The Olive Garden Breadsticks! Analyst Is Bullish For Darden Restaurants

Despite industry-related input costs and labor headwinds, Darden Restaurants, Inc. DRI could generate above-consensus earnings in fiscal 2023, driven by Olive Garden sales, according to Cowen.

The Darden Restaurants Analyst: Andrew Charles upgraded the rating for Darden Restaurants from Market Perform to Outperform, while raising the price target from $137 to $164.

The Darden Restaurants Thesis: Olive Garden seems poised to grow its average unit volume from $5 million in 2019 to $6 million in fiscal 2023, Charles said in the upgrade note.

The company’s revenues appear strong enough to “offset near term cost pressure that has been cited throughout calendar 1Q21 earnings season,” he added.

The analyst expects the casual dining industry sales to remain robust through 2021 due to easing restrictions on dining room capacity with a ramp in vaccinations and pent-up demand for in-person experiences.

“While we will monitor the health of the consumer as we become further removed from stimulus, we believe DRI's scale positions the brand to gain share from independents given advantages with marketing, value and digitally-enabled off-premise ordering,” Charles wrote.

DRI Price Action: Shares of Darden Restaurants are down 0.53% to $141.43 at the time of publication Thursday afternoon.

(Photo: Darden Restaurants)

Posted In: Andrew CharlesbreadsticksCowenfoodOlive GardenAnalyst ColorUpgradesPrice TargetRestaurantsAnalyst RatingsGeneral

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