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Will Red Robin (RRGB) Q1 Earnings Beat on Comps Growth?

We expect Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. RRGB to beat expectations when it reports first-quarter 2016 results on May 17, before the market opens.

Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 6.17%. In fact, the Colorado-based casual dining restaurant chain has surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters, with an average beat of 10.81%.

Let’s see how things are shaping up for the upcoming announcement.

Why a Likely Positive Surprise?

Our proven model shows that Red Robin is likely to beat earnings because it has the right combination of two key ingredients.

Zacks ESP: The company’s Earnings ESP, which represents the difference between the Most Accurate estimate of $1.11 and the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.10, is +0.91%. This is very meaningful and a leading indicator of a likely positive earnings surprise for the company.

Zacks Rank: Red Robin carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Note that stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), #2 or #3 (Hold) have a significantly higher chance of beating earnings. Sell-rated stocks (#4 or #5), on the other hand, should never be considered going into an earnings announcement, especially when the company is witnessing negative estimate revisions.

The combination of Red Robin’s Zacks Rank #3 and +0.91% ESP makes us confident of an earnings beat.

What is Driving the Better-than-Expected Earnings?

Red Robin has been consistently delivering strong comps growth for the past few quarters. Traffic trends in the first quarter are expected to be driven by the brand transformation initiatives, prudent menu presentation and the rollout of Ziosk tabletop tablets.

Moreover, the company’s new service methods, and innovative promotions are likely to boost sales in the to-be-reported quarter.

Nevertheless, we are concerned about Red Robin’s rising costs and expenses. Increased labor costs, mainly due to higher wages and training costs, coupled with commodity inflation is likely to be a headwind. The company’s rising cost structure would put pressure on first quarter margins.

Other Stocks to Consider

You can consider the following stocks that have both a positive Earnings ESP and a favorable Zacks Rank:

Boyd Gaming Corporation BYD, with an Earnings ESP of +3.33% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Carnival Corporation CCL, with an Earnings ESP of +5.26% and a Zacks Rank #3.

Live Nation Entertainment, Inc. LYV, with an Earnings ESP of +50% and a Zacks Rank #3.

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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
 
BOYD GAMING CP (BYD): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CARNIVAL CORP (CCL): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
LIVE NATION ENT (LYV): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
RED ROBIN GOURM (RRGB): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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