Have We Reached Peak Burger Pricing?

Pricing Glass Ceiling

Burgers have turn a entire product. They are now a mass marketplace product. This miss of aberration has forced large bondage to not usually contest on uninformed mixture though also on pricing. The tip pivotal players in a burger marketplace include: McDonald’s (MCD), KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts, Dairy Queen, Papa John’s, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Dairy Queen, etc. The tip 3 players have some-more than 100,000 restaurants globally (McDonald’s has over 36,000 restaurants in over 100 countries, Yum! Brands (parent association of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) has over 44,000 restaurants in some-more than 135 countries, Restaurant Brands International Limited Partnership (holding association for Tim Hortons and Burger King) has over 20,000 restaurants in some-more than 100 countries and U.S. territories as of Dec 31, 2016).

But these mass marketplace bondage combined an event for “better-burger.” Some consumers started to find peculiarity and not inexpensive burgers. Hence a swell in direct for better-burger bondage like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, In-N-Out Burger, Habit Restaurants (HABT) and Shake Shack (SHAK). Investors have been betting large on a expansion in a “better-burger” market, valuing companies like Shake Shack and Habit Restaurants during astronomical gain per share. For example, Habit Restaurant went public during 215.57x P/E ratio (current P/E is now 38.33x) and Shake Shack during 68.83x P/E ratio (current P/E is 57.29x). Compare these P/E ratios to 24.80x for McDonald’s and 24.78x for Yum! Brands. we highlighted these astronomical valuations in 2015 when these bonds were during their rise in a article, “Priced To Perfection: Shaking Shake Shack’s Valuation.” At a time, Shake Shack’s pragmatic expansion rate was during ~573.8% and hence a reason a marketplace authorised it to strech a highs of $92.86/share. This happened given investors ignored a gait during that a product could strech marketplace saturation.

The Habit Restaurants Inc.

Shake Shack Inc.

However, if burgers continue being mass marketplace products and large bondage continue to contest on both cost and value, given would consumers continue to compensate unreasonable prices for them? The differences between reward burgers and inexpensive burgers is apropos so tiny that many people will not be peaceful to spend additional income on reward burgers.

Does it meant that there is a tip on how many “better-burgers” can be labelled before consumers exclude to compensate for reward burgers? For many people, yes. But there will be a tiny shred of people will not caring many about pricing.

Mass marketplace burgers combined an event for better-burgers though singular any tolerable expansion for better-burgers. This is given a Total Addressable Market (“TAM”) for a reward burger dwindles when a product is viewed as a mass market, low-cost product. Therefore, a better-burger becomes a niche marketplace and not a mass marketplace product, so tying a intensity expansion marketplace for a product. Consequently, this puts a tip on how many we can continue to lift burger prices before we start losing consumers.

The Surge In Commodity Prices

Chicken is noticeably cheaper than beef. A duck sandwich should have improved margins than a burger. Meaning that restaurants some-more focused on duck sandwiches than burgers should vaunt improved margins and be some-more cost competitive. Implying that it is optimal to deposit in duck menus than burger menus.

Beef prices

Poultry (chicken) prices

The cost of beef has continued to boost given 2002. They have been ups and downs though a ubiquitous trend has been upwards. This continued cost boost is a outrageous domain snag to burger focused restaurants given of a singular cost boost they can make but losing business to low-cost competitors.


The continual swell in both beef and duck prices indicate that a usually approach to lessen increases in commodity prices is to boost a cost of burgers. However, if burgers are some-more of a mass than a reward product, that means that there is a extent to how many some-more they can boost burger prices. Implying that a swell in commodity prices will act as a domain torpedo for burger chains.

But what happens when burger prices strech a potion ceiling?

There is a transparent headwind to burger pricing. Unless burger-dependent bondage variegate their revenues streams and concentration on volume rather than price, they will destroy to effectively grow both a tip and a bottom line.

The winners in this marketplace will be low-cost, uninformed mixture focused and value oriented burgers (companies like McDonald’s and Burger King are going to be transparent winners). Implying a marketplace change from better-burger (premium burger) to mass marketplace burgers (low-cost burger).

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any bonds mentioned, and no skeleton to trigger any positions within a subsequent 72 hours.

I wrote this essay myself, and it expresses my possess opinions. we am not receiving remuneration for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). we have no business attribute with any association whose batch is mentioned in this article.

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