Applebee's roars - does Chipotle cheer?

Aaron Pressman

Just as a quick follow-on to yesterday's discussion of Chipotle's IPO, the stocks of the four comparable companies that I mentioned are off to the races today thanks to a surprising report after yesterday's close by Applebee's (symbol APPB) that sales are up 6.3% in January from a year ago. Shares of Applebee's are up 17%. Also possibly at work here is an announcement after yesterday's close by the parent of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain, CBRL Group (Symbol CBRL), that a major shareholder wants the company to consider a restructuring or sale. Its shares jumped 16%.

Of the four comparables, shares of Panera (PNRA) are up 4%, Cheescake Factory's (CAKE) are up 5%, while California Pizza Kitchen (CPKI) and PF Chang's (PFCB) rose 3%. That's pushed the average P/E ratio for this little group to almost 36. If slapped on Chipotle's estimated 2005 earnings of about 92 cents a share, that would imply a share price of over $33. Your mileage may vary but the Applebee's news portends well for the IPO.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.