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How Does a Restaurant Carve Out a Moat?

In a special presentation, Morningstar’s R.J. Hottovy shares his playbook for analyzing restaurant companies.

Slides from the presentation can be downloaded here. For a For a full copy, please contact or

R. J. Hottovy: About a year ago, we noticed that the conversation we were having with a lot of the restaurant management teams we talked to, both public and private, were very similar to the conversations we had with retailers about 10 years ago or so: They're facing delivery, they have to do with mobile order and mobile payments. And the same kind of conversations that we had and frankly, there's a lot of confusion about how they go about it, do we need to have a delivery program, do we need to do these kinds of things, reminded us is a lot of what we're hearing. And since we've done a lot of work with the retailers over the past decade or so, we thought we'd try to apply some of that to the restaurant space and really develop a new playbook for you as investors, either public or private, to analyze restaurant companies within. I think this is actually probably broader than that, too. I think some of the lessons we'll talk about today can be applied elsewhere in the consumer space.