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Restaurant Brands International Inc

QSR: XTSE (CAN)
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Morningstar Rating for Stocks Fair Value Economic Moat Capital Allocation
CAD 333.00NjnxdnyLnhpphht

Restaurant Stocks Look Pricey As Demand Headwinds Remain Underappreciated

Restaurant stocks look expensive as we take the industry's pulse, with names in our coverage trading at a market-cap-weighted 10% premium to our intrinsic valuations. While demand has held up nicely to date, we're seeing weak spots, with persistent declines in traffic and items per check suggesting price-conscious consumers and a more challenging pricing environment to come. Nominal same-store sales growth remains healthy, up around 5.7% industrywide over the past three months (RMS data), but traffic (down 1.4%) and items per check (down 3.7%) remain points of concern. We expect slowing sales momentum into the first half of 2024, resulting in a more promotional environment for the industry and a three- to four-year route to normalized restaurant-level profitability. The industry's bargain bin looks sparse, but we see modest upside in Wendy's and Starbucks shares, which trade at 6% and 2% discounts to our $23 and $104 fair value estimates, respectively.

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