"Heading into Q4, expectations were quite low," said Wedbush Securities analyst Nick Setyan. "More important than Q4, investors will be paying attention to the quarter-to-date trends in Q1. And that's a very tough comparison."
CLSA analyst Diane Geissler on Monday reiterated an "underperform" rating on the stock and cut her full-year 2015 and 2016 earnings per share estimates below consensus expectations, citing "the potential for weaker-than-expected 4Q comps" and potential headwinds from job cuts in "high risk" oil-producing states, which accounts for 15 percent of its store base.
Last week, BTIG Research downgraded the stock to a "neutral" from "buy," stating in a note to clients that "domestic unit growth is slowing, sports calendar shifts could impact reported same-store sales growth in coming quarters and consensus expectations for 2016 appear too high."
Fortunately, chicken prices appear to be in line with expectations for this time of year. Chicken wings represent about 20 percent of the Buffalo Wild Wing's overall food cost basket.
An 8 percent increase year to date for chicken wings "is in-line with seasonal patterns into the Super Bowl," Oppenheimer analyst Brian Bittner said in a note last week. "Over the past 10 years, wings have moved 11 percent on average from Jan. 1 into the game. Over the past decade, wings have declined an average of 9 percent one month and 16 percent after three months following the Super Bowl."
While sporting events such as the Super Bowl are obviously key for B-Dubs, sometimes there are hiccups in the service and workflow from these big game days.
"You could call them for Super Bowl and nobody would answer the phone because they were so busy answering other calls. Hopefully now, the online ordering, etc. can take care of those bottlenecks," Setyan said.