In recent years, this obscure burger chain was named the best in America and began growing faster than the competition.
Now, Habit Burger Grill’s stocks are in a serious slump.
While Habit Burger Grill may not be a household name, it’s one that is well-respected in the burger industry.
In 2014, Consumer Reports named it the best burger in America, beating chains like In-N-Out and Five Guys.
In 2015, Habit Burger was named the fastest-growing chain in the US by Nation’s Restaurant News, growing sales 46% to $175.7 million in the prior year.
However, in the last year, Habit Burger’s stock has fallen more than 52%. On July 14, 2015, stocks were being sold at $31.41. On Thursday, they were at $16.40.
A number of factors are at play in the decline of the former up-and-coming chain.
Habit Burger went public in November 2014, raising $90 million. Investors were eager to buy the fast-casual burger chain’s stock, with share price doubling on opening day. Habit Burger priced its IPO at $18 per share, and rose to a high of $40.20.
After an explosive IPO, it’s not uncommon for stocks to drop. Restaurant chains Noodles and Co. and Potbelly Corp. similarly doubled in share price in their market debuts, only to have prices fall in the following months.
Two other issues seem to be contributing to Habit Burger’s slump: slowing growth and burger business woes.
In 2014, Habit Burger was able to post same-store sales of 10.7% for the year. However, the extraordinary growth was unsustainable, and recent quarters have been much more modest. In May, the company announced just a 2% increase in same-store sales at company-owned restaurants compared to the first quarter of 2015.
Complicating the matter is the beginning of a decline of the burger business.
Burger sales growth in the industry is starting to slow, Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski reported in June.
“It’s clear that US burger-sector same-store sales have decelerated meaningfully,” Kalinowski wrote in a recent research note. “No longer is the burger segment a beacon of brightness for the industry, as it was in Q1 [the first quarter of the year].”
The better-burger sector is especially overcrowded recently, with competitors like Shake Shack and Smashburger taking business away from Habit Burger.
Habit Burger may serve the best burger in all of America, but it needs to make some changes if it wants investors to bite.
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