One industry that experienced a wide range of disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic was the restaurant industry. On Thursday, Bank of America analyst Sara Senatore took a deep dive into which restaurant stocks have been winners and which have been losers since the pandemic began.
Pandemic Winners: As a category, quick-service and restaurants with exclusively off-premise consumption benefitted the most from the pandemic, Senatore said.
Since the second quarter of 2020, store volumes at Domino's Pizza, Inc. DPZ; Yum! Brands, Inc. YUM subsidiaries KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell; Wendys Co WEN and McDonald's Corp MCD have all been well above 2019 levels.
"The Yum! Brands KFC and Pizza Hut appear to have been the biggest beneficiaries given their ability to offer home meal replacements; we expect moderation as consumption trends revert to trend," Senatore said.
Pent-Up Demand: Meanwhile, full-service restaurant comps took the biggest hit during the pandemic. However, Senatore said she has witnessed pent-up demand for full-service restaurants and coffee shops since mid-2021. In the second half of 2021, full-service restaurant volumes were actually 6% above 2019 levels, she said.
Looking ahead, she said he is most bullish on full-service concept restaurants such as First Watch Restaurant Group Inc FWRG and those with higher-income customers, such as Starbucks Corporation SBUX.
Senatore said Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. CBRL is still lagging its 2019 volumes due to its unique headwinds related to the relatively slow recovery of the travel industry.
Benzinga's Take: Most fast-food stocks are up significantly from where they were at the beginning of 2020, but Cracker Barrel still provides investors an opportunity to buy the dip. Assuming the company's business eventually fully recovers, the stock is still trading 23% below its share price at the end of 2019.
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