Once promising, 5 stocks give Cramer indigestion

Cramer investigates left-for-dead restaurant stocks

Jim Cramer often sifts through the market looking for stocks that were once white hot, but more recently, have made sizable declines. Sometimes, the declines present opportunities to buy promising young companies at an attractive price.

However, even at relatively discounted levels, Cramer thinks the following 5 stocks are anything but appetizing. They are Red Robin, Noodles & Co., Potbelly, Bloomin' Brands and Chuy's.

Despite the promise of growth, Cramer says other metrics make all of them far too difficult to own.

"Let me go through each of these stocks and show you why, even with declines of 30 percent or more year to date, it's still too soon to be anything but cautious," Cramer said.

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Red Robin

From late 2012 right through most of 2013, shares of Red Robin were as tasty as its burgers, marching from $30 to $80 and change, with the Street excited by Red Robin's expansion plans. More recently, however, investors have sent back their orders. Shares have tumbled about 30 percent year to date, largely due to weaker than expected results.

Although Cramer thinks the company's planned remodeling program could goose sales somewhat, largely he finds the decline far from delicious.

"The scale of the company's latest miss, combined with snail-paced same store sales growth," will outweigh any positives.

Therefore he thinks growth investors "won't touch this stock with a ten foot pole until management proves they can execute." If growth investors won't buy, Cramer doesn't think you should either.

Noodles & Co.

When Noodles & Co., came public in June of 2013, the stock initially doubled on its first day of trade; with speculation suggesting this company could be the next Chipotle. However, investors would later find holding shares of Noodles was no fiesta with the stock down almost 40 percent year to date.

"Just a week and a half ago, the company reported an earnings miss, and even worse, they delivered a 0.7 percent decline in same store sales, with management cutting their full-year same store sales forecast," Cramer explained.

Results such as these have sent investors running for the exits, with pros worried the stock won't grow into its valuations, anytime soon.

"Noodles still trades at 43 times next year's earnings estimates with a 16 percent long-term growth rate. For pros, that makes this stock is far too expensive to even consider owning."


When Potbelly first came public shares rallied over 100 percent on the first day of trade, with investors excited by the potential to triple Potbelly's store count.

However, more recently, investors have had little appetite for this sandwich maker, which is down almost 50 percent year to date.

Sometimes that kind of decline makes Cramer salivate; this, however, is not one of those cases.

"Average annual same store sales growth is just 2.3 percent," Cramer said. "That simply can't justify Potbelly's sky-high valuation; the stock is still trading at 49 times next year's earnings. Even at $12 Potbelly's exorbitantly priced."

Bloomin' Brands

When Bloomin' Brands, the owner of Outback Steakhouse as well as other restaurants, came public, shares seemed unstoppable, climbing to as high as $26 last November.

However, year to date, shares have declined over 30 percent with earnings and comps leaving investors hungry for something more substantial.

"At this point, Wall Street has pretty much given up on Bloomin' Brands, although unlike the others, the stock is actually approaching levels where it could be considered cheap, trading at just 13 times next year's numbers with a 12 percent growth rate," Cramer said.

"If Bloomin' Brands can manage to deliver a decent quarter next time around, then this stock could rally, but I'm not a buyer. If the quarter is not good, it could easily go much lower."


Although Chuy's came public in 2012 at $13, then soared up to $42, Cramer doesn't think the Tex Mex restaurant's current 20 percent decline is yummy, at all.

"Chuy's is another one that was all about putting up new restaurants, but now that its existing stores are getting clobbered by increased competition, a heavily promotional environment, and simple mismanagement, the growth oriented investors have fled. I don't see them coming back until management can produce some evidence of a turn."

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All told, Cramer can understand why investors may think year to date declines in Red Robin, Noodles & Co., Potbelly, Bloomin' Brands and Chuy's are worth a look. However, Cramer wouldn't pull the trigger.

"They're still too expensive on a price to earnings multiple basis. When Wall Street turns its back on a high-flying growth stock, that stock has a long way to fall before it can become buyable again."

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