E Hot Restaurant Stocks For 2014

Bloomin' Brands (Nasdaq:BLMN), Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX), and Del Frisco's Restaurant Group (NASDAQ: DFRG) were three top picks by more than one broker ahead of the ICR Exchange annual meeting  last month. Last year's top pick of Red Robin Gourmet Burger soared over 100% .

These three picks were the winners of the hotly contested ICR Best Performing Restaurant Stock Pick competition, now in its fifth year. According to Tom Ryan, CEO of ICR," Last year's participants made great selections. An investor who purchased the entire recommended list would have generated a 52 per cent annual return, which compares favorably to the S&P 500 gain of 30 per cent."

Bloomin' Ready to Bust Out

Analysts from Barclays and Jefferies both named Bloomin' Brands as their top restaurant pick for 2014. Jefferies Managing Director Andy Barish said,"Bloomin’ has the internal same store sales drivers and margin improvement/productivity initiatives to offset a tough casual dining environment and outperform its peers."

Jeffrey Bernstein of Barclays thinks the mature Outback Steakhouse concept as well as growth from  Bonefish Grill, Carrabba's and Outback International make for a compelling pick with EPS growth in the high teens. He also expects significant cost savings in 2014.

Bernstein didn't even mention its fine dining concepts Fleming's Steakhouse and Roy's, a fusion themed tablecloth restaurant. All told the company owns and operates 1,275 restaurants in the US and 19 countries, 203 franchised or in a joint venture. Speaking of those cost savings the company has saved $271 million from 2008-2012.

Bloomin’ Brands started trading publicly in 2012. Growth strategies include offering lunch at its Outback and Carrabba's locations,  completing the rollout this year . Bloomin' also remodeled 130 Outback and Carrabba's and is relocating almost 100 Outbacks from "B" and "C" locations to "A" locations with a 40% lift in traffic almost immediately for those already moved.

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Annalisa Kraft has no position in these companies.

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