earnings

Financing

Winners and losers from a tough first quarter

The Bottom Line: Wingstop (again) and Texas Roadhouse (also again) were among the big winners last quarter, while the fast-food value proposition is among the losers.

Operations

Cava expects a late-day sales boost with its new grilled steak

The new steak protein will be offered at a premium price, but the chain's guests are showing resilience. They're trading down from casual dining and trading up from fast food.

After closing 14 units last year, the fast-casual burger chain continued "right-sizing" its portfolio in the first quarter, when its same-store sales plunged 13%.

A softer consumer environment is more than offsetting the pizza chain’s boost in marketing in recent weeks. But profitability improved last quarter.

Despite flat traffic for the first quarter, the fast-casual salad chain raised guidance for the year, citing continuing momentum.

A Deeper Dive: This week’s podcast features a discussion on recent restaurant chain earnings reports, including Wingstop, KFC, Popeyes, Chipotle and Starbucks.

But CEO Drew Madsen sees signs of a turnaround, as sales and traffic turned positive in April while the chain works on menu and operations improvements.

The casual-dining chain lost business from lower-income guests but believes promotions like $1 margaritas will bring them back.

Traffic at the casual-dining chain held steady thanks to what it called a “flight to quality” by customers on a budget.

When lower-income diners are feeling budget strain, the fast-casual Portillo's feels it most in the drive-thru. To address that, the restaurant chain is working to get orders through car windows faster.

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