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Cramer's burger wars—stocks giving you indigestion

Cramer's burger wars—stocks giving you indigestion

With the retail group in pain lately courtesy of unseasonable warm weather and Amazon, there is one group that Jim Cramer thinks cannot be beaten by Amazon — the restaurant stocks. After all, fresh burgers cannot be Amazoned yet.

Six months ago, Cramer reviewed the sexiest burger chains out there looking for the juiciest stocks. He highlighted McDonald's as a turnaround story, Jack in the Box as a value play and warned to stay the heck away from Shake Shack because of its insanely expensive price tag that would give any portfolio indigestion.

The "Mad Money " host took a victory lap on his call with McDonald's, Jack in the Box and Shake Shack. But the group has had a major shake-up lately. Jack in the Box rallied up to $97 in early August, and has been slammed back down to the low $70s a few months later. Meanwhile, Shake Shack has plummeted 42 percent in the past 6 months.

However, Cramer believes that the restaurant group may be poised to rally now that the price of gasoline has become so insanely low.

If you love Shake Shack, I suggest waiting for all that stock to hit the market and bring down the share price before you even think of owning this one.
Jim Cramer
Jim Cramer's Burger Love.

"Other than rising labor costs — now pretty much priced into the group — the problems of retail are very much retail specific and don't really have anything to do with the restaurant space in general or the burger chains in particular," Cramer said.

With this in mind, Cramer decided to revisit a few of the most popular burger stocks out there. First up was Habit Restaurants and Shake Shack, which have both been severely punished this year. Even though they have both dramatically plummeted in price, Cramer thinks the stocks are still too expensive as they both trade at a large premium to the rest of the industry.

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Sometimes it can be worth paying up for best-of-breed, but Cramer found it difficult to make a case for either stock. Two weeks ago, Habit had to pull a secondary offering, which Cramer regarded as a major red flag. Shake Shack also has a sizeable secondary offering coming, which could put real pressure on its regular common stock.

"If you love Shake Shack, I suggest waiting for all that stock to hit the market and bring down the share price before you even think of owning this one. However, I totally get the love here and hesitate to bet against this one longer term," Cramer said.

One stock that has been absolutely crushed in recent months is Red Robin. After a strong multi-year run, it reported a weaker-than-expected second quarter in August. As a result, the stock quickly lost its mojo and fell out of favor with Wall Street.

But does that mean it is a lost cause?

At this point, Cramer likes Red Robin because it is no longer trading like a high-flying growth stock. It is now a value play, and at these levels he thinks it could be a mistake to bet against it.

In the end, the winners of the burger wars for Cramer were the turnaround story at McDonald's, the value proposition at Jack in the Box, and the comeback potential of Red Robin. And while Cramer might like the burgers at Habit and Shake Shack, he's staying far away from the stocks.

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