On the Line: California Pizza Kitchen’s Rick Rosenfield

It can be frustrating for a CEO to see his stock down despite his company operating at the top of its industry. Just ask California Pizza Kitchen’s Rick Rosenfield.

This restaurant chain is moving with the sector, Rosenfield told Cramer Thursday. The problem is that growth is like crack on Wall Street, and California Pizza Kitchen doesn’t play that game. CPKI is focused on quality first, so “it isn’t growth for growth’s sake.”

Still, Rosenfield likes his company’s strategy. California Pizza Kitchen is a good bargain in upscale markets, he said, and royalties from franchises add a nice cushion against swings in the business.

CPKI is a “quality-run operation,” Cramer said, but the restaurant business is tough right now. Homegamers who want a piece of the action better do their homework.

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