If you have been following the fast-food sector for long, you have noticed that The Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) has been a long-term turnaround story. The problem is that the turnaround just refuse to ever really turn around, regardless of the efforts taken by the company. Finally, that appears to be changing.
This weekend brought a report from Barron’s saying that the third-largest burger chain is finally finding its footing after a decade of floundering since founder Dave Thomas died. Barron’s showed that over the past 18 months or so that the chain has been going back to its roots. This includes being a higher quality burger maker, along with new menu items and focused marketing efforts along with a fresh remodel of many of its stores.
Barron’s pointed out positive same-store sales for six of the past seven quarters. It also cited how shares are up about 20% from October’s lows. It also noted that the most recent pullback has put shares on sale at close to the same price at the end of 2012. Barron’s said that the stock is unlikely to remain there. The long and short of the matter in the weekend summary sent out by email: “Wendy’s is revamping its menu, marketing, and stores, and better results could boost its shares by 40%.”
If the stock has 40% upside, the Wendy’s could rise to $7.00 or so. That would take it back to prerecession prices in mid-2008. We would note that the $5.01 price at the close of Friday compares to a 52-week range of $4.09 to $5.33, and the consensus price target is only $5.22 according to the Thomson Reuters mean price target.