Feast on These Casual-Dining Stocks


Bryan Elliott, senior restaurant analyst for Raymond James, says it's time for investors to feast on casual-dining stocks.

Many observers say casual dining, as a category, has performed more like a casualty: High gasoline prices and the housing slump are just two reasons why business has been softening, and stock prices have been plunging.

But Elliott told CNBC, "Keep in mind we're talking about long-term, couple-of-year time frame. ...We think there's tremendous value in a number of stocks out there."

He points out that the business is still seeing demand growth, although at a lower pace than in previous years. He warns of a risk of continued slowdown on a cyclical basis.

But taking the broad view, Elliott likes California Pizza Kitchen.

"That's a chain whose median customer has a hundred-thousand-K income," he said. "It's a low-ticket indulgence for a high-end niche customer."

Also on his list, Texas Roadhouse.

"Texas Roadhouse has the highest return on invested capital in the business," Elliott said. "It's still well above industry norms. They have a very good management structure; they cater to the higher-end blue-collar consumers."

Elliott's firm makes a market in shares of California Pizza Kitchen and Texas Roadhouse.