NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You would have to go all the way back to the fourth quarter of 2012 to find the last time restaurant operator Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (CBRL) missed Wall Street's earnings estimates. In a sector driven by high consumer traffic and same-restaurant sales, the Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel, which operates more than 600 company-owned locations in 42 states, has been a standout performer.
The company has benefited from a well-diversified business, selling groceries, music and an online store storefront. These businesses have helped Cracker Barrel grow its earnings for the last nine quarters, including average year-over-year increases of 7% in the previous five quarters.
For that level quality, Cracker Barrel stock -- up 41% the past 12 months -- has crushed the broader market. And ahead of the company's fiscal-third-quarter earnings results due out Tuesday before the opening bell, don't hold your breath waiting for CBRL shares to fall below their fair market value. That's not likely to happen.
At 23 times last year's earnings, Cracker Barrel stock is -- at worst -- fairly valued when compared with a P/E of 21 for the average S&P 500 stock. But don't confuse "fairly valued" to mean lack of upside. You'll be hard pressed to find another company in the S&P 500 with a better (or as consistent) level of execution as the management team at CBRL has demonstrated. This includes having beaten both earnings and revenue estimates for four consecutive quarters.