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April 30, 2009


Yes, the recession has brought most of the U.S. economy to its knees. But the pricing bubble for soft drinks at the restaurant level lives on, helping many operators keep afloat. Paradoxically, even though value-seeking customers aggressively demand bargains when they make their food choices, they remain willing to bear whatever price a restaurant charges for soft drinks. That’s why, percentage-wise, soft drinks are the highest-margin items on most foodservice menus today. But beware: New York officials are about to show the rest of the country how to get a big share of restaurant beverage dollars out of the hands of operators and into the government’s treasury.
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It’s hard to decide which is the better deal for fans of Chipotle Mexican Grill right now. Its food—the company is testing a “Low Roller” menu with inexpensive options starting as low as $2.25? Or its stock—the price spread between the company’s identical-in-economic-value-but-different-in-voting-rights shares (Class A shares were trading around $83 at press time, Class B shares about $66) is approaching historic proportions. Both look like bargains to us.
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Meet celebrated chef/restaurateur Charlie Palmer at the 2009 Concepts of Tomorrow Conference. Click here for more details.

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