Texas Roadhouse, Barbecue Fans Staying Home (TXRH)

Texas Roadhouse(NASDAQ: TXRH) just proved the risks of owning a stock that is only a one restaurant chain pure-play.  The company posted earnings at $0.10 EPS versus a $0.11 First Call consensus estimate.  Its revenues came in with a 22% gain to $186.3 million, but First Call had estimates at $191.8 million.

Texas Roadhouse put guidance for diluted EPS growth of 5% to 15% forfiscal 2008, which includes a $0.01 to $0.02 benefit from an extra weekin 2008.   Earnings on a diluted EPS basis grew 15% to $0.51 for fiscal 2007. So if we imply this 5% to 15% jump, we get a new target of $0.5355 to $0.5865.  We would note that there is a note discussing a $0.014 impairment charge, so some might add that number into the figure.  Unfortunately, First Call has estimates at $0.64 EPS so it is going to be clocked in as a projected earnings miss regardless of the realities in charges.

The metric that restaurant analysts are going to hate the most is that its benchmark comparable restaurant sales in the first six weeks of Q1-2008 actually fell by about 1.5% year over year.  Texas Roadhouse also put its comparable store sales for this year at a whopping Flat to +1%.  It also sees company-owned restaurant openings of roughly 30 units, which compares to its own number of “operating 288 restaurants today.”

The company also announced a $25 Million stock buyback plan, although that obviously isn’t a winner after missing its targets.

Shares closed down 4% at $10.67 today ahead of the numbers, but in after-hours the restaurant chain is seeing shares trade down some 15% at $9.05.  With a 52-week trading range of $8.96 to $16.05, that is almost a new low.  That will be close to a post-IPO low as well, since this came public and traded at just under $12.00 at the end of 2004 before peaking at nearly $19.00 in mid-2005.

Before today’s after-hours drop, this one traded with a $798 million market cap.  Without factoring in for franchise or any license stores, that would generate a rough value of $2.5 million per store if you implied a 318 unit-count for the end of 2008 (or some $2.13 million now after the drop).  That would also give it a forward P/E ratio of about 15.9, which isn’t expensive but also doesn’t leaves any overly inspiring barbecue and grilled after-taste in any GARP or value manager’s mouth. 

If you own this one at higher prices you may have to wait a while (and hope) for a better month of sales, but if you are looking at this with new money it just looks fairly valued at levels around the new prices.  In a recession or soft economy, many may choose to enjoy their grilled barbecue and beer back at home.

Jon C. Ogg
February 19, 2008