Cramer visited a Popeye's location in Brooklyn, N.Y., to talk to CEO Cheryl Bachelder, the company's terrific CEO. Bachelder credited innovation, cost savings, driving the top line, running a better restaurant for the guests, and remodeling restaurants so they look spectacular for the great earnings. It doesn't hurt the company provides an affordable meal at a time of high unemployment. Restaurant remodels have led to a 3% to 4% lift in remodeled restaurants, Bachelder said, and customers are staying in the dining room longer. By the end of the second quarter this year, about 40% of AFCE's domestic restaurants had been remodeled into the new Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen image. That number will reach 60% of the system by the end of the year and close to 80% by the end of 2014, Bachelder said. Popeye's is seeing great results from new markets such as Minneapolis, where AFCE has bought old KFC restaurants to remodel in its own image and found pent-up demand. Bachelder said social media has been a big driver of growth. Popeye's is growing overseas as well, Bachelder said, and the company has yet to find a country that doesn't enjoy its chicken in the Middle East, Latin America and Asia. Cramer asked what Popeye's plans to do with its cash. Bachelder said it plans to expand the company's footprint in the U.S. and internationally.
Hope for Hewlett-Packard?
In the wake of a disappointing quarter, Cramer wondered where Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) should go from here. If you are CEO Meg Whitman, how do you stop the bleeding after revenue shrunk by 8% in its third quarter? Sales in HPQ's consumer PC sgment fell 22% in the third quarter from the same period last year. Enterprise sales are down 9%, Cramer said. And yet, lost in all the disappointment, cash flow from operations is healthy. In an interview with Whitman earlier Thursday, Cramer said she told him to look to the turnaround of IBM ( IBM) in 1993 and Starbucks' ( SBUX) resurgence in 2008 as parallel tracks that HPQ could take. Those two both took similar paths: Fix the balance sheet first, then grow the company.