Bloomin' Brands is the new kid on the block, having gone public last August. But the company's brands, which include Outback Steakhouse, Bonefish Grill and Carrabba's, have been around for quite a while. This is a fairly large operator, with 1,471 restaurants in 48 states and 21 countries. First-quarter EPS of 50 cents handily beat the 44-cent consensus.
This name is somewhat new to me, but I'll be doing some work on it. The company ended the first quarter with $217 million in cash and $1.46 billion in debt. That's more debt than I typically like to see, but the company also owns the real estate for 20% of its locations. Since the IPO, shares are up nearly 90%. Lastly, Del Frisco's, which runs 34 upscale steakhouses, reported earnings of 21 cents, a penny better than the consensus, while revenue of $59.8 million topped the $58.5 million analyst consensus. The company went public last July, and shares are up 33% since then. Talk about contrasts in restaurant concepts -- Denny's vs. Del Frisco's -- but both still managed decent quarters. We did see the effects of higher input costs on Monday, when Buffalo Wild Wings ( BWLD) reported a worse-than-expected quarter due to higher chicken wing prices. That may be a case where the company's pricing power is somewhat limited. As much as I love wings and consider them to be one of the major food groups, I find Buffalo Wild Wings prices to be on the high side. I would opt to make my own at home rather than pay those prices. Things sure have changed since the $10 buckets of wings during the college days at the original Quaker Steak and Lube in Sharon, Pa.! At the time of publication, Heller had no positions in stocks mentioned.Follow @JonMHellerCFAThis article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.