From soup to steak: Food for thought on the NYC stock menu

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

New York, NY, United States (4E) – Choosing a food joint to dine or invest in is a bit of a challenge in New York City. The Big Apple is a culinary capital and investment haven with almost limitless options to choose from for both foodies and investors. There are some NYC food stock picks that can fill up one’s tank or earn profits in the long-term.


Kickstart lunch or dinner at Bryant Park Grill or Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine for a true NYC gastronomic experience. Both restaurants offer an impressive selection of organic salads, hearty soups and finger foods. It’s up to diners if they want to stay for the entire course, which both restaurants offer as well. The stars of these two restaurants’ menu, however, are the starters.

ARK Restaurants Corp. (NASDAQ: ARKR) owns and operates Bryant Park Grill and Clyde Frazier’s Wine and Dine. ARK Restaurants runs 21 restaurant models, 22 fast food concepts and catering operations in New York, Washington and Las Vegas. The company made headlines recently when it declined a takeover bid from Landry’s, a bigger restaurant stock which owns Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. and McCormick & Schmick’s.

The company has a small market cap of $71.04 million. Its shares traded at $21.81 on Thursday, based on Yahoo Finance market data.

One can also not miss trying a hot bowl of soup from The Original Soupman, which has eight outlets in the city. Its yummy Lobster Bisque soups and Jambalaya are huge favorites of local customers, while its Skinny Soup variants are beloved by consumers looking for healthier alternatives.

Soupman, Inc. (OTCQX: SOUP) is the parent company of The Original Soupman brand and is responsible for manufacturing and distributing premium soups in the United States. It has partnered recently with Tetra Pak to package its soup varieties, which helped placed the soup brand on supermarket aisles. This has allowed the company to grow its customer base, leading to more shelf-spaces in over 3,000 supermarkets and grocery stores such as Food Emporium, Walmart, Meijer, Safeway and Super Fresh.

Like ARKR, Soupman is on the opposite end of the spectrum of the other food stocks with its small market capitalization $14.4 million, according to Yahoo Finance data. Despite being a micro-cap, SOUP has drawn an impressive roster of investors including Seinfeld star Jason Alexander, and athletes Reggie Jackson and Shaquille O’Neal. The company’s pricing is also on an upswing, trading at 0.44 a share, a 0.99 percent increase from results of the previous trading day. It also traded at 0.30 to 0.76 over the last 52 weeks.


Craving for comfort food or a big-cap stock? Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) allows diners to feast on your favorite Mexican food minus the guilt, as it uses only 100 percent organic, trans fat-free and free-range ingredients. Although hailing from the Midwest, the 20-year-old, fast casual dining company appeals to the younger and health-conscious New York market segment for its customized and healthy menu choices.

The growth potential of Chipotle is notable, according to an IAEResearch’s report on Seeking Alpha. In 2013, Chipotle opened 185 new locations which helped generate $3.21 billion in revenue for the company. The revenue reflected a 17.7 percent increase for the said year, allowing investors to earn $10.47 per share.

The company went public in 2006. Shares of the company currently trades at a whopping $519.61 a piece, based on latest Yahoo Finance data.

In the mood for some fine-dining, then Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse is the place to be. The Texas-based restaurant chain’s location in Midtown Manhattan is a perfect gastronomic stop after a day-tour of Times Square, Radio City Music Hall and the Rockefeller Center. The posh, three story-high restaurant offers an extensive menu of gourmet steak and seafood dishes that will delight tastebuds.

The Del Frisco Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: DFRG) runs Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse as well as two more modern restaurant concepts: Sullivan’s Steakhouse and Del Frisco’s Grille. The company’s stocks closed at $26.72 a piece on Thursday, down by 0.78 percent from its previous close. The company has a market capitalization of $631.29 million, Yahoo Finance data showed.

According to the company’s February news release, the company’s consolidated revenues increased by 16.9 percent to $271.8 million in 2013 from $232.4 million in 2012. Consolidated revenues from the fourth quarter of 2013 meanwhile increased by 20.5 percent to $97.5 million from $80.9 million, year-over-year.

DFRG is among the full service restaurants that have outpaced the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index by 84 percent over the past year, according to Bloomberg.

Investors and analysts are betting on this restaurant for its expansion plans and solid revenues, of which 50 percent is derived from corporate diners and moneyed patrons, Bloomberg reported. The report also said the company plans to open five more Del Frisco’s Grilles and one Double Eagle restaurant.


The Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ: CAKE) has over 10 restaurant locations in NYC to satisfy locals’ and tourists’ sweet cravings. Known for its sinfully good moist chocolate cakes and cheesecakes, the company has since been known for its delectable range of breakfast and brunch selections, and specialty sandwiches. It is also a nice place to grab a few drinks to cap off a meal.

The company has a total market capitalization of $2.38 billion. The company posted $1.87 million in earnings for fiscal year 2013, said NASDAQ. Shares of the company closed at 46.97 last week, Yahoo Finance data showed.

Rounding off the list is Starbucks (NYSE: SBUX). Its headquarters is in Seattle but New Yorkers just cannot seem to resist it. While most people won’t bother spending $5 to $10 bucks for a signature coffee beverage, many New Yorkers won’t think twice of doing so. At least that is the case for most teens who comprise 13 percent of the NYC population—a big market, considering that the NYC population is 8.405 million, based on recent U.S. Census Bureau data.

According to a survey conducted by Piper Jaffray senior analyst Nicole Miller Reagan for Talking Numbers, 11 percent of average-income teenagers and 12 percent of upper-income teenagers preferred limited-service company Starbucks. The survey also revealed Starbucks is the limited service company of choice of 59 percent of teenagers who prefer grabbing a bite at limited service food joints.

Miller Reagan also said that Starbucks is the only company to keep a double-digit market share in the said segment for the past seven years, and attributes Starbuck’s success to its ability to diversify. Getting on the gluten-free food and health beverage trend, and the “hot-food platform,” she said, will continue to increase Starbuck’s following.

Latest Yahoo Finance data showed that Starbucks stocks traded at 70.15 a piece on Thursday, a 0.90 percent decrease from the previous day’s closing price. Revenue-wise, the company saw a 12 percent increase in consolidated revenues to $4.2 billion in the first quarter of 2014, according to its January news release.

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