Restaurant Stocks Hitting 52-Week Highs: Panera, Cracker Barrel, Bob Evans Farms, Buffalo Wild Wings

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Shares of these restaurant stocks reached 52-week highs on Friday: Panera Bread ( PNRA), Cracker Barrel ( CBRL), Bob Evans ( BOBE) and Buffalo Wild Wings ( BWLD).

Each of these stocks received buy ratings from TheStreet Ratings.

Panera Bread

Panera Bread is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 7. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of $1.42 a share on revenue of $499.05 million.

"We expect to see EPS come in at the upper end of guidance as solid SSS trends in the 6% range and a recent 1% menu price increase (Sept) help drive leverage on fixed and semi-fixed costs, offsetting higher food cost inflation (5% vs. 4.5% in 3Q), unfavorable G&A timing shifts (hiring & program spend) and less favorability from recent labor structural efficiencies. For 4Q 2011, the company expects EPS of $1.39-1.41 (+15-17%), based on same-store sales of 5.5-6.5% and 50-100bps of operating profit margin contraction," Jefferies analysts wrote in a report Thursday. "Our 4Q EPS estimate is $1.41 (in line with consensus) based on 6% SSS at company-owned stores and 60-70bps of operating margin contraction."

Shares of Panera hit a 52-week high Friday of $155.67. The stock's 52-week low of $96.98 was set on Aug. 8.

Panera shares trade at a forward price-to-earnings multiple of 28X; the average for restaurants and bars is 19.3X. Darden ( DRI) has a forward P/E of 12.03X; The Cheesecake Factory ( CAKE) has a forward P/E of 16.83X.

Thirteen of the 23 analysts who cover the company rated it a buy; 10 considered it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings gives an A grade and a has a $190.94 price target on the shares. The stock has risen 10.05% year to date.

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Cracker Barrel

The restaurant operator is scheduled to report its second-quarter results on Feb. 21. Analysts, on average, anticipate earnings of $1.16 a share on revenue of $658.07 million.

"Cracker Barrel recently kicked off new daily $5.99 Lunch specials and its Comfort on a Cold Day winter LTO, both designed to highlight value, variety, and margin friendly products designed to attract both new and existing guests," Morgan Keegan analysts wrote in a Jan. 20 report.

Shares of Cracker Barrel hit a 52-week high Friday of $54.95. The stock's 52-week low of $37.31 was set on Sept. 12.

Cracker Barrel's forward P/E is 11.68X, which is a little more than half of the 19.3X restaurant average. Denny's ( DENN) has a similarly low forward P/E of 11.65X.

Four of the eight analysts who cover the stock rated it a hold. Three categorized it a buy and one said it's a hold.

TheStreet Ratings gives Cracker Barrel a B+ grade and has a $60.52 price target on the shares. The stock has increased 8.01% year to date.


Bob Evans Farms

The company is scheduled to report its third-quarter results on Feb. 14. Analysts, on average, expect earnings of 59 cents a share on revenue of $430.77 million.

"Although nearly every metropolitan area except for Seattle experienced milder-than-usual January temperatures, the largest temperature variations once again were found in the Northeast and Midwest, which were hit last year by the snowiest January since 2005, but this year had temperatures that were 5.2 to 7.3 degrees above the monthly norm," Miller Tabak analysts wrote in a report Wednesday. "Among names in our coverage list, we think the names that benefited most from the mild January were Bob Evans Farms (BOBE, $35.31, Hold), Bravo Brio Restaurant Group (BBRG, $19.25, Buy), Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD, $66.56, Buy), and Texas Roadhouse (TXRH, $15.16, Buy), all of which have at least 40% of combined units in the Northeast and Midwest."

Shares of Bob Evans reached a 52-week high of $37.85 on Friday. The stock's 52-week low of $27.41 was set on Oct. 4.

Bob Evans' forward P/E is 14.35X, below the 19.3X average. Jack in the Box ( JACK) has a forward P/E of 15.25X.

Four of the seven analysts who cover the company consider it a hold; three rated it a buy.

TheStreet Ratings gives Bob Evans a B+ grade and has a $42.17 price target on the shares. The stock has increased 12.19% year to date.

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Buffalo Wild Wings

The restaurant operator is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter results on Feb. 7. Analysts, on average, anticipate 67 cents a share in earnings on $210.25 million in revenue.

"Looking at 2012 as a whole, we continue to expect BWLD to achieve its 20% EPS growth guidance for 2012 due primarily to our expectation of slower G&A expense growth and significant leverage from the 53rd week in 4Q12, but we believe that the impact of increased wing costs will offset this benefit and strain operating margins particularly in 1H12, with our estimates at 180 bps and 90 bps of pressure in 1Q12 and 2Q12, respectively," KeyBanc Capital Markets analysts wrote in a report on Thursday.

Shares of Buffalo Wild Wings reached a 52-week high of $71.22 on Friday. The stock's 52-week low of $46.37 was set a year ago.

Buffalo Wild Wings' forward P/E is 22.18X, which tops the restaurant average of 19.3X. P.F. Chang's ( PFCB) has a forward P/E of 21.44X.

Eleven of the 19 analysts who cover the stock rated it a buy; eight called it a hold.

TheStreet Ratings gives Buffalo Wild Wings an A grade and has a $86.56 price target on the shares. The stock has risen 4.43% year to date.

-- Written by Alexandra Zendrian in New York.

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