El Pollo Loco Holdings (NASDAQ: LOCO) and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store (NASDAQ:CBRL) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the better investment? We will compare the two businesses based on the strength of their dividends, risk, analyst recommendations, institutional ownership, profitability, valuation and earnings.

Valuation & Earnings

This table compares El Pollo Loco Holdings and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store’s gross revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
El Pollo Loco Holdings $393.64 million 1.12 $62.17 million $0.46 24.84
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store $2.93 billion 1.22 $391.90 million $8.38 17.78

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has higher revenue and earnings than El Pollo Loco Holdings. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than El Pollo Loco Holdings, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares El Pollo Loco Holdings and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
El Pollo Loco Holdings 4.66% 9.56% 5.52%
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 6.90% 35.49% 13.26%

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current recommendations for El Pollo Loco Holdings and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, as reported by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
El Pollo Loco Holdings 0 4 1 0 2.20
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store 1 7 0 0 1.88

El Pollo Loco Holdings currently has a consensus target price of $14.33, indicating a potential upside of 25.46%. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has a consensus target price of $161.00, indicating a potential upside of 8.04%. Given El Pollo Loco Holdings’ stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, analysts plainly believe El Pollo Loco Holdings is more favorable than Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

77.2% of El Pollo Loco Holdings shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 85.9% of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store shares are held by institutional investors. 45.9% of El Pollo Loco Holdings shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 1.0% of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that large money managers, endowments and hedge funds believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.

Volatility & Risk

El Pollo Loco Holdings has a beta of 0.33, indicating that its stock price is 67% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has a beta of 0.52, indicating that its stock price is 48% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Dividends

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store pays an annual dividend of $4.80 per share and has a dividend yield of 3.2%. El Pollo Loco Holdings does not pay a dividend. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store pays out 57.3% of its earnings in the form of a dividend. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has raised its dividend for 7 consecutive years.

Summary

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store beats El Pollo Loco Holdings on 12 of the 17 factors compared between the two stocks.

El Pollo Loco Holdings Company Profile

El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. specializes in fire-grilling citrus-marinated chicken and operates in the limited service restaurant (LSR) segment. The Company’s menu features its signature product, citrus-marinated fire-grilled chicken, and a range of Mexican-inspired entrees that it creates from chicken. Every day in every restaurant, the Company marinates and fire-grills its chicken over open flames, and hand-slices whole tomatoes, avocados, serrano peppers and cilantro to make its salsas, guacamole and cilantro dressings from scratch. The Company also offers burritos, salads, tostadas, bowls, stuffed quesadillas and chicken entrees. The Company’s entrees include Chicken Avocado Burrito, Under 500 Calorie entrees, Ultimate Pollo Bowl, and Stuffed Chicken Avocado Quesadilla. As of December 28, 2016, the Company had 460 restaurants, consisting of 201 Company-operated and 259 franchised restaurants. The Company also offers additional proteins, such as shrimp, carnitas and beef.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Company Profile

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is engaged in the operation and development of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store concept (Cracker Barrel). The Company’s segments include Restaurant and Retail. As of September 19, 2016, the Company operated 640 Cracker Barrel stores in 43 states. The format of its stores consists of a rustic old country-store design offering a restaurant menu that features home-style country food and a range of decorative and functional items, such as rocking chairs, holiday and seasonal gifts and toys, apparel, cookware and foods. Its restaurants offer home-style country cooking featuring of its own recipes. Its restaurants serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Its breakfast items include juices, eggs, pancakes, grits, and a range of biscuit specialties. Its lunch and dinner items include country ham, chicken and dumplings, chicken fried chicken, meatloaf, fresh side items and specialty items, such as pinto beans and turnip greens.

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