"What he [Chanos] doesn't get is that we have a beautiful [business] model, we have a brand that we constantly try to refresh based on what the consumer wants," Dunkin' Brands CEO Nigel Travis told TheStreet. "I find it hard to understand his thesis."
Dunkin' Brands Group had little time to celebrate its better than expected first-quarter in late April as headlines erupted that noted short-seller Jim Chanos had bet against the company. Chanos said in a TV interview that he has been short shares of Dunkin' and Burger King/Tim Horton's owner Restaurant Brands International (QSR) - Get Report for about a year.
Chanos' main concerns: valuations for the two fast-food heavyweights are too high and he thinks it's better for restaurants to own their own real estate, rather than franchise. The short-seller is also concerned about Dunkin's fundamentals and if company management is being too optimistic on its outlook for 2018.
Dunkin's stock over the past year has gained about 6%, suggesting Chanos is underwater with his short position.
To be sure, Dunkin' did its part to make anyone looking to bet against its stock off Chanos' comments think twice.
Dunkin's first-quarter earnings beat Wall Street forecasts by 9 cents. Adjusted operating profit margins rose 60 basis points from the prior year to 31.8%. The company took the wraps off a new $650 million stock repurchase program. In turn, Dunkin' hiked its full year profit outlook to $2.49 to $2.59 a share from $2.20 to $2.29 a share.
Two feathers in Chanos' cap did emerge though. Traffic continued to be under pressure at Dunkin' and same-store sales at the coffee chain fell 0.5% as it worked through simplifying its menu.