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DineEquity's (DIN) Q1 Earnings: What to Expect this Time?

DineEquity, Inc.DIN is set to report first quarter 2016 results on May 5, before the opening bell. Last quarter, the company posted a positive earnings surprise of 18.66%.

In fact, the company has surpassed earnings estimates in the trailing four quarters with an average positive surprise of 6.65%.

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

Factors to Consider

DineEquity’s earnings and revenues have been outperforming the Zacks Consensus Estimate since the beginning of 2014. While Applebee’s posted positive comps in six of the last seven quarters, IHOP has posted positive comps for 11 consecutive quarters.

The upside reflects sales initiatives — the three pillar strategy — undertaken by the company. The company focuses on food and menu (the first pillar), which includes launching menu designs, diet menu and appetizers platform. The company remains focused on efforts to improve guest experience — the second pillar — like working on speed, consistency and remodeling certain outlets. Also, marketing — the third pillar — and advertising campaigns are carried out with an aim to pull traffic. These efforts are expected to continue to aid comps in the to-be-reported quarter.

Though the company is looking to build a new prototype in order to reduce costs, higher cost of revenues due to an increase in Franchise and restaurant expenses would keep profits under pressure. Also, an increase in general and administrative expenses and costs related to sales initiatives would dent profits further.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that DineEquity is likely to beat earnings this quarter. This is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: The company’s Earnings ESP is -2.98%. This is because the Most Accurate estimate is pegged at $1.63 while the Zacks Consensus Estimate stands higher at $1.68.

Zacks Rank: Although DineEquity’s Zacks Rank #3 increases the predictive power of ESP; we need a positive ESP to be confident of an earnings beat.

We caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies in the restaurant sector that investors may consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. PLAY, with an Earnings ESP of +1.69% and a Zacks Rank #1.

The Wendy's Company WEN, with an Earnings ESP of +16.67% and a Zacks Rank #1.

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers Inc. RRGB, with an Earnings ESP of +0.91% 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
RED ROBIN GOURM (RRGB): Free Stock Analysis Report
WENDYS CO/THE (WEN): Free Stock Analysis Report
DINEEQUITY INC (DIN): Free Stock Analysis Report
DAVE&BUSTRS ENT (PLAY): Free Stock Analysis Report
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