Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) is on the SHORT bench and will remain there.  We made a big SHORT call last quarter that did not work out.  This business is all about timing. 


Our concerns have been focused on increasing labor costs and slowing same-store sales trends.  The company has been aggressively raising prices over the last year to mitigate the pressure from an increase in labor costs.  Ultimately, that will impact traffic trends and we may be seeing that now.  Traffic in 4Q15 is currently flat to negative, but the company expects traffic to turn positive again in 2016. 


BWLD is not immune from slowing industry trends that we are currently seeing play out in the space.  Specifically to BWLD, the Hedgeye Macro Monitor is highlighting four charts that suggest slowing same-store sales trends are not a one quarter phenomena for BWLD.  Additionally, you can see that the company stock price is closely tied to traffic trends.


1. A core demographic, construction workers, jobs are slowing which suggest slower traffic trends for the company:



2. Employment in the Leisure and hospitality space has slowed:



3. The company is aggressively raising prices above inflation, although not a strong correlation historically, in the last four quarters BWLD has priced above CPI – Chicken. Prior to this time period they were only above this metric once in the last 17 quarters:



4. Aggressive price increases will not be sustainable in a slowing consumer confidence environment:



5. Traffic vs QAV YoY:




  • BWLD earnings in 3Q15 declined 11.6% to $19.2 million or diluted EPS of $1.00 vs $1.14 last year.
  • For the first four weeks of 4Q15, same-store sales are trending at about 2.8% at company-owned restaurants and 0.8% at franchised locations.  This compares to last year 5.4% at company-owned restaurants and 5.1% at franchised locations.
  • Halloween is on a Saturday compared to a Friday last year and the Christmas holiday is on a Friday versus a Thursday last year, both of which we anticipate as a negative for same-store sales.
  • A menu price increase of 2.2% is scheduled to take effect on November 2nd, bringing the total menu price in 4Q15 to 4.1% in fourth quarter.
  • The cost for traditional chicken wings for the first two months of the fourth quarter averaged $1.80 vs the average cost for the full fourth quarter last year of $1.90 per pound.
  • In 4Q15 Labor costs are expected to be approximately 31%.
  • In 3Q15 BWLD spent $160 million to acquire 41 franchised locations in Texas, New Mexico and Hawaii, which includes two restaurants under development. 
  • The incremental costs to acquire the restaurants had a negative $0.13 impact on EPS.
  • BWLD has increased company-owned Buffalo Wild Wings locations by 24% YoY.
  • Same-store sales in 3Q15 increased 3.9% at company-owned restaurants and 1.2% at franchised locations
  • One less week of football and fewer pay-per-view events than last year negatively impacted same-store sales by 80 basis points.
  • Established affinity program for Buffalo Wild Wings - Blazin' Rewards loyalty program launched in September.
  • Blazin' Rewards is currently at 50 restaurants in five pilot markets.
  • Building its international presence through franchising - franchisee in the Middle East opened a location in Dubai in September and a second location in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in October. There are currently 13 international Buffalo Wild Wings in Mexico, the Philippines, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • In 2016, new markets are Panama and India. In total, international franchisees are expecting to open 15 restaurants next year.
  • Continue to invest into additional concepts – R Taco - shortened the name from Rusty Taco and created a new logo for the brand. Franchisees of R Tacos expanding in three markets and expected to launch a more aggressive franchise sales strategy.
  • PizzaRev continues its company-owned and franchise development.  There are currently 29 locations in five states and franchise locations in Nevada, New York, and Ohio are opening soon.



  • 3Q15 revenues totaled $455.5 million, up 22%. Company-owned restaurant sales for the third quarter increased to $431.8 million, up 23.2%.
  • System-wide sales were $897.3 million, an increase of 10.5% over the third quarter of 2014.
  • 3Q15 same-store sales, at company-owned stores increased 3.9% vs 6% last year. Average weekly sales increased by 3.7%
  • Menu price increases at company-owned restaurants was 3.9%.
  • BWLD operated a 109 additional company-owned Buffalo Wild Wings in 3Q15, up 24% unit increase.
  • Our royalty and franchise fee revenue for the third quarter grew 3.6% to $23.8 million versus $22.9 million last year even with 18 less franchised Buffalo Wild Wings units in operation at the end of the third quarter versus a year ago.
  • Same-store sales at franchised Buffalo Wild Wings locations increased by 1.2% compared to a 5.7% increase in third quarter last year. Franchised average weekly sales volumes at Buffalo Wild Wings locations in the United States for the quarter increased by 2%, 80 basis points higher compared to the same-store sales percentage.
  • Cost of sales for the third quarter was 29.4% of restaurant sales compared to 29.1% in third quarter last year, a 30-basis-point increase.
  • Wings were $1.79 per pound in 3Q15, or 19% higher than last year's average of $1.50.
  • Traditional and boneless wings reached 21% of restaurant sales flat YoY
  • Cost of labor for the third quarter was 32.2%, up 20 basis points YoY. Health insurance and workers' compensation expenses were the primary drivers of the year-over-year increase. We continue to see wage pressure in our restaurants.
  • We estimate that the transition of the 41 unit franchise acquisition had a negative 10 basis point impact on labor as a percentage of
  • In 3Q15, restaurant operating expenses were 14.7%, a decrease of 30bps YoY driven by lower advertising cost per restaurant partially offset by increased repairs and maintenance expense related to the acquisition.
  • In summary, restaurant level cash flow 18.2% vs 18.4% last year. This decrease in cash flow is primarily a result of the higher traditional wing cost and increased labor as a percentage of restaurant sales.
  • General and administrative expenses were $33.7 million in the third quarter, or 7.4% of total revenue, compared to $27.8 million, also 7.4% in the prior year.
  • Excluding stock-based compensation of $4.5 million in the third quarter and $2.6 million in the prior year, G&A expenses for the third quarter would have totaled $29.3 million or 6.4% of total revenue compared to 6.7% last year. Third quarter G&A expense was aided by a $500,000 loss on deferred compensation investments.
  • Opened seven new company owned Buffalo Wild Wings during the quarter. This compares to nine new Buffalo Wild Wings and one PizzaRev location opened in the third quarter of 2014.
  • Preopening costs for company-owned Buffalo Wild Wings averaged $253,000 per new restaurant during the quarter, compared to $314,000 in the third quarter last year.
  • The effective tax rate in 3Q15 was 30.1% vs 26.9% in the prior year. The effective tax rate in 2015 will be about 32%
  • On our balance sheet on September 27, 2015, our cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities totaled $20.2 million, compared to $112.9 million at the end of 2014. Our unsecured line of credit had a balance of $47 million as of the end of the quarter.
  • Cash flow from operations was $66 million and cap ex was $56.9.  2015 capital spending will be $378 million, including the $210 million spent to acquire franchise locations.



“I would say that the top line revenue is the primary contributor to our reduced guidance for 2015.”


“If we can achieve comp store sales in excess of our price increase, we'd be happy at least for the fourth quarter of 2015.”         


“That's what we are modeling, yes.” (Expect positive traffic in 2016)


“As you look at the back half of the year, there is not a lot favorable happening to the events calendar on a year-over-year basis which would cause us to anticipate particularly high same-store sales. And again, if you look at the market as a whole, I think there has been a same-store sales softening and we do tend to flow with the market, although outperforming”


“With the stores that are in Texas, Nevada and Hawaii, there is a handful of stores that are being affected by the downturn in the oil industry”


“So I think we are taking a cautious look on 2016 right now, exceeding 20% is very doable”


“Well, I'll walk through the menu price increase that will be in effect next year quarter by quarter after we get the November price increase in our stores. So, first quarter next year would go to 3.1%, Q2 would be 3% and then it would roll down to 2.6% in the third quarter next year and then down to 0.9% in fourth quarter.”


“So, we think on a year-over-year basis, we will have a lower average price per pound for wings in 2016 than we did in 2015”


“And we did raise our line of credit to $200 million. So we are open to debt on our balance sheet. We have conversations with our board of directors regularly and I'm sure it will be a topic at the next board of directors meeting to talk again about capital allocation and structure for the future.”


“But the – on traffic we are not – I think when you adjust for events that aren't matching year-over-year, we are not suggesting we are seeing negative traffic.”


Please call or e-mail with any questions.


Howard Penney

Managing Director


Shayne Laidlaw





YELP | We All Must be Really Dumb (3Q15)

Takeaway: Mgmt must have thought we all wouldn’t notice that it used Display as a scapegoat for deterioration in its core…Great quarter guys


  1. DISPLAY HEADFAKE INDEED: We thought this might be a remote possibility, but should have known better with this mgmt team.  The source of the 3Q beat was entirely Brand Advertising (aka Display); it missed everywhere else.  Note that YELP annouced on its last call that is planning to shutter that segment by year end, and also provided 2H15 Display revenue guidance of $10M (tranlated to -56% y/y decline vs. -8% in 1H15).  YELP actually produced $9M in Display revenue in 3Q15 alone, which was as acceleration in growth from 2Q15 levels.  YELP also refused to provide an update to Display Guidance for 4Q15.  So the only reason why YELP was able to guide inline for 4Q was because it sandbagged 2H15 Display guidance on the 2Q release, which consensus baked into 4Q estimates...Great quarter guys.  
  2. DETERIORATION AT THE COREYELP has missed consensus Local Ad revenue estimates for the past last 3 quarters.  While YELP was able to essentially maintain both new LAA growth and attrition rates at 2Q levels, Local Ad revenue growth still decelerated to 36% from 43% in 2Q15 (vs. 51% in 1Q15, and 60% in 4Q14).  That’s because attrition is exerting more pressure across its model.  The more accounts YELP enters any period with, the more it will lose, and the more brand new accounts (and sales reps)  it needs compensate.  The one positive is that YELP was able to ramp its salesforce to plan in 3Q (+35% y/y), but its still struggling to drive new account growth in excess of the rate that it's hiring reps.
  3. NOW WHAT? We'll be monitoring consensus estimates from here since the 2016 guidance release remains our next short catalyst.  As it stands now, YELP would need to maintain its new LAA growth rate from now through the end of 2016 with historically low attrition rates in order to hit consensus Local Ad Revenue estimates.  But we're not expecting YELP's Display headfake to completely evade the sell-side; especially since mgmt dodged two direct questions on the matter.  That said, there's a chance the sell-side may disproportionately cut 2016 Local Ad estimates off this print, which could accelerate an exit on our short position, albeit temporary since YELP remains a secular short until it blows up its model.


YELP | We All Must be Really Dumb (3Q15) - YELP   LAA New Net Lost 3Q15

YELP | We All Must be Really Dumb (3Q15) - YELP   LAA New vs. Sales 3Q15

YELP | We All Must be Really Dumb (3Q15) - YELP   Scen 4Q15 4Q16



Let us know if you have any questions, or would like to discuss further.   


Hesham Shaaban, CFA


REPLAY: An Inside Look at Healthcare Earnings with Hedgeye's Tom Tobin



In case you missed it... Our Healthcare analysts Tom Tobin and Andrew Freedman dissected the latest healthcare earnings, offered their updated insight and took viewer questions live this morning on a number of key names.


Our Healthcare Team’s #ACATaper theme is in full effect... Mednax (MD) (one of our favorite names on the short side) reported earnings this morning and missed $722.3M vs $730M consensus, coming in right in line with our model.


Zimmer (ZBH) another one of our top short ideas reported this morning as well. Americas Knee growth for ZBH was down -1.8% in Q3. ZBH weakness reflects competitive share losses likely attributable to salesforce disruption due to merger with Biomet, as well as weaker demand for TKR. 



Hedgeye Statistics

The total percentage of successful long and short trading signals since the inception of Real-Time Alerts in August of 2008.

  • LONG SIGNALS 80.47%
  • SHORT SIGNALS 78.68%

The Macro Show Replay | October 29, 2015





“Rate Hike” Back on the Table?

Client Talking Points


The side by side statement (OCT vs. SEP) removed the Global Macro Risk that is #Deflation and, in doing so, perpetuated that risk via a hawkish move in the USD. The Fed also added the domestic risk that is labor #Slowing, so now rate hawks are going to get completely whipped around if we’re right on a GDP bomb this morning.


U.S. stocks rally on rates up, Financials up? Great. Australia and Indonesia (levered the wrong way to #Strong Dollar Deflation) closed down -1.3% and -3.0% overnight; Russia leads losers in Europe -2%, and Oil failed @TREND resistance backing off -1.2% to $45.


If we’re still right on #LateCycle GDP Slowing, easiest move to make this morning is to short the Financials (XLF, KRE, JPM) and buy Utilities and Treasuries (XLU, TLT, etc.) – this is the 8th or 9th time in 2015 they’ve “rallied” the 2yr to 0.75% and failed, FYI.


**Tune into The Macro Show at 9:00AM ET - CLICK HERE

Asset Allocation


Top Long Ideas

Company Ticker Sector Duration

What week it was for MCD shareholders! Shares finished the week up 7.3%. We have been saying all along that the third quarter of 2015 would be the inflection point for the McDonald’s (MCD) turnaround. After this print, it appears that the heartache is finally over at McDonald’s, as this quarter marks the first good quarter the company has had in two years.


From here, the upside in the stock price lies with the growth of All Day Breakfast, additional G&A cuts, national value offering implementation, reimaging of restaurants, commodity deflation, especially in beef and increased operational efficiencies, among others. In addition, the REIT is a potential driver of incremental value but not crucial to the long-term success of this call. With Steve Easterbrook at the helm we are confident this company will be better managed than it has been in a long time.


RH unveiled a full floor of Modern product in their New York Flatiron store this week. The new concept sits on the first floor of the 21k sq. ft. store and marks the 3rd property in RH’s fleet (along with Denver and Atlanta) to carry the new product line.


Fundamentally and financially, we’re about to see growth at RH go on a multi-year tear. We think this stock is headed to $300 over the next 2-3 years. We’ve been patient for the catalyst calendar to begin, and the waiting is finally over.


As devaluation and global currency war jockeying from central bankers around the world continues, the acknowledgement of growth slowing continues to push yields lower. The long-bond was up on Thursday, after the ECB meeting, despite an easing-fueled rip in equities. The bond market doesn’t believe in the growth storytelling and we expect it to continue.


Remember that Down Euro Devaluation is a global TIGHTENING event because the world’s biggest asset price #deflation risk is that the world’s inflation expectations (commodities, debt, etc.) are DENOMINATED IN DOLLARS. That has implications for gold (risk to being long), but we want to get through the Fed meeting and GDP data next week before we pivot on a gold view. Stay tuned.

Three for the Road


REPLAY: "Fed Day Live" with Keith McCullough… via @hedgeye



The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts; therefore guard accordingly.

Marcus Aurelius


U.S. venture capital firms raised $4.4 billion for 53 funds during the third quarter of 2015, a decrease of 34% compared to the number of funds raised during the second quarter of 2015, and a 59% decrease by dollar commitments, according to the Fundraising Report by Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).  

CHART OF THE DAY: How the #Fed (Consistently) Overestimates #GDP


CHART OF THE DAY: How the #Fed (Consistently) Overestimates #GDP - 10.29.15 EL chart


Editor's Note: Below is a brief excerpt from today's Early Look written by Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough. Click here if you'd like to subscribe and get ahead of the consensus.


"... As you can see in today’s Chart of The Day, “Serial Over-Optimism”, the US Federal Reserve has overestimated US GDP growth by approximately 100 basis points every year since Ben Bernanke had the courage to act on economic models that don’t work.


What’s 100 basis points?


  1. Uh, the difference between 1% and 2% GDP growth
  2. The Difference between a 10yr Bond Yield of 2.0% and 3.0%" 

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