Mad Money

Cramer: Speculative growth story hard to ignore

Throwing a Fiesta? Cramer focuses on FRGI

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Cramer often tells investors he thinks it's important to speculate, at least a little; that is own stocks that are somewhat higher risk but also present higher reward potential.

Although Cramer often talks about different speculative themes, one of his favorites is something he calls "a regional to national story."

That involves buying the stock of a company that currently has a foothold in regional markets and betting as the company expands, in the future, the success regionally could be translated all across the nation.

"And I think Fiesta Restaurant Group is exactly that kind of bet," Cramer said. "It's a small, rapidly growing restaurant company that has the potential to expand from being a small regional player to a larger national one. To me, that's the kind of speculative growth story that's hard to ignore."

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Although Cramer has recommended other companies that leverage this theme, most notably Dunkin Brands and Popeyes, in this case, he thinks offers investors something those others can't; Fiesta is in very, very early innings.

In fact, Cramer wouldn't be surprised if you've never heard of Fiesta. Although it operates two different kinds of restaurants, it mostly does business in only one part of the nation.

"Their first chain is "Pollo Tropical," Cramer explained. "It has 145 locations, mainly in Florida. Fiesta's second concept is called "Taco Cabana," and it's a Mexican themed fast-casual chain with 172 locations, many of which are located in Texas."

Despite the limited footprint, Cramer thinks the potential is enormous.

"This year alone, the Pollo Tropical business expects to open 25 new stores, with another 28 new locations in 2015. Because Pollo Tropical only has 145 restaurants total, it amounts to 17 percent annual store growth, which is an absolutely huge number. By comparison, Chipotle, which is considered a very a rapid grower, only has 11 percent store growth."

Now it should be noted that Taco Cabana, the other chain, isn't growing nearly as rapidly. However, Cramer thinks their strong presence in Texas will help drive even more growth at Pollo Tropical. And he added Fiesta is testing a more upscale restaurant called Cabana Grille, which he thinks could also benefit from the footprint already created in the Florida and Texas markets.

Although Cramer thinks the growth could be substantial, he would never advocate a stock for speculation on growth alone. However, in this case, he sees many other positives, as well.

"Both Pollo Tropical and Taco Cabana sport strong cash on cash returns, of 25 percent and 20 percent respectively, which means opening or franchising a new store makes a ton of sense economically. And both have healthy balance sheets."

"Also, Fiesta is embracing mobile technology, which has been a very powerful positive for Starbucks. Anything that makes it easier to attract customers and process additional traffic should be a huge boon for business."

On top of that Cramer likes the pedigree of the leadership. "CEO Tim Taft, ran three Texas-based restaurant chains before taking the helm at Fiesta in 2011, while the chief financial officer, Lynn Schweinfurth, served as the Treasurer of Wynn-Dixie."

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All told, Cramer thinks the risk is worth the reward.

"I recommend Fiesta Restaurant Group for speculation. This is a regional to national growth story that's still in its infancy, and I think the company's Pollo Tropical chain in particular could have a lot of upside," Cramer said.

Just one caveat, as always, Cramer says spec stocks should only make up 10 percent of your portfolio and although they offer higher reward they also present higher risk.

Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

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