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Watch Out, Mickey D's: Jack In The Box Is Making Some Serious Gains

Watch Out, Mickey D's: Jack In The Box Is Making Some Serious Gains
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As McDonald's (NYSE: MCD) and Taco Bell (NYSE: YUM) fight over the very lucrative fast-food breakfast market, they might want to watch their backs – Jack in the Box (NASDAQ: JACK) is gaining on them.

The San Diego-based company operates more than 2,250 Jack in the Box outlets in 21 states. Its other brand, Qdoba Mexican Grill, has 600 restaurants in 46 states.

The company, to quote its new chairman and CEO Lenny Comma in February, “had a great first quarter, with a 27 percent increase in operating earnings per share resulting from solid same-store sales growth at both Jack in the Box and Qdoba Mexican Grill, margin expansion and lower overhead.”

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Comma has been with the company since 2001 and became Jack in the Box's head in January. He's been working to gear up new items for the restaurant's menu – as well as improve its food service times.

"Improving speed of service remains a key priority," he said in the analyst call quoted by the Los Angeles Times. "Since March 2011 we've improved our speed of service by nearly a minute, which is building trust with our guests, driving additional visits and contributing to higher guest satisfaction scores.”

The company has scored points with consumers through years of humorous ads. Industry experts, meanwhile, also appear to like what they see. Of a group of analysts surveyed by the LA Times, six recommended Jack in the Box as a Buy, eight said Hold and none rated it a Sell.

"We think JACK is setting up to deliver further earnings-per-share upside through 2014 as initiatives at both brands should continue to drive [sales] acceleration, while additional cost efficiencies emerge," Alexander Slagle, an analyst with Jefferies Group, said in a February 21 research note quoted by the Times. "We think the current stock price does not fully reflect this growth opportunity and [we] reiterate our buy rating."

Latest Ratings for JACK

Apr 2018UBSMaintainsNeutralNeutral
Mar 2018Morgan StanleyDowngradesOverweightEqual-Weight
Mar 2018Morgan StanleyMaintainsOverweightOverweight

View More Analyst Ratings for JACK
View the Latest Analyst Ratings

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