Contrasting Papa John’s International (PZZA) and El Pollo Loco Holdings (LOCO)

Papa John’s International (NASDAQ: PZZA) and El Pollo Loco Holdings (NASDAQ:LOCO) are both retail/wholesale companies, but which is the superior stock? We will contrast the two companies based on the strength of their profitability, valuation, risk, dividends, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations and earnings.

Institutional and Insider Ownership

87.5% of Papa John’s International shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 76.8% of El Pollo Loco Holdings shares are owned by institutional investors. 27.7% of Papa John’s International shares are owned by insiders. Comparatively, 45.9% of El Pollo Loco Holdings shares are owned by insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a company will outperform the market over the long term.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Papa John’s International and El Pollo Loco Holdings’ revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio NetIncome Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
Papa John’s International $1.71 billion 1.22 $102.82 million $2.90 20.53
El Pollo Loco Holdings $380.12 million 1.03 $18.33 million $0.22 45.91

Papa John’s International has higher revenue and earnings than El Pollo Loco Holdings. Papa John’s International is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than El Pollo Loco Holdings, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares Papa John’s International and El Pollo Loco Holdings’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Papa John’s International 6.12% 4,321.08% 19.07%
El Pollo Loco Holdings 2.27% 9.14% 5.37%

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and price targets for Papa John’s International and El Pollo Loco Holdings, as provided by MarketBeat.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Papa John’s International 0 6 3 0 2.33
El Pollo Loco Holdings 0 3 1 0 2.25

Papa John’s International presently has a consensus target price of $79.25, suggesting a potential upside of 33.13%. El Pollo Loco Holdings has a consensus target price of $13.00, suggesting a potential upside of 28.71%. Given Papa John’s International’s stronger consensus rating and higher possible upside, equities analysts clearly believe Papa John’s International is more favorable than El Pollo Loco Holdings.

Dividends

Papa John’s International pays an annual dividend of $0.90 per share and has a dividend yield of 1.5%. El Pollo Loco Holdings does not pay a dividend. Papa John’s International pays out 31.0% of its earnings in the form of a dividend.

Risk & Volatility

Papa John’s International has a beta of 0.47, suggesting that its share price is 53% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, El Pollo Loco Holdings has a beta of 0.35, suggesting that its share price is 65% less volatile than the S&P 500.

Summary

Papa John’s International beats El Pollo Loco Holdings on 14 of the 16 factors compared between the two stocks.

About Papa John’s International

Papa John’s International, Inc. (Papa John’s) operates and franchises pizza delivery and carryout restaurants and, in certain international markets, dine-in and delivery restaurants under the trademark Papa John’s. The Company operates through five segments: domestic Company-owned restaurants, North America commissaries, North America franchising, international operations and all other business units. North America is defined as the United States and Canada. Domestic is defined as the contiguous United States. International franchisees are defined as all franchise operations outside of the United States and Canada. As of December 25, 2016, there were 5,097 Papa John’s restaurants in operation, consisting of 744 Company-owned and 4,353 franchised restaurants operating domestically in all 50 states and in 45 countries and territories. It offers pizza along with side items, including breadsticks, cheesesticks, chicken poppers and wings, dessert items and canned or bottled beverages.

About El Pollo Loco Holdings

El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. specializes in fire-grilling citrus-marinated chicken and operates in the limited service restaurant (LSR) segment. The Company’s menu features its signature product, citrus-marinated fire-grilled chicken, and a range of Mexican-inspired entrees that it creates from chicken. Every day in every restaurant, the Company marinates and fire-grills its chicken over open flames, and hand-slices whole tomatoes, avocados, serrano peppers and cilantro to make its salsas, guacamole and cilantro dressings from scratch. The Company also offers burritos, salads, tostadas, bowls, stuffed quesadillas and chicken entrees. The Company’s entrees include Chicken Avocado Burrito, Under 500 Calorie entrees, Ultimate Pollo Bowl, and Stuffed Chicken Avocado Quesadilla. As of December 28, 2016, the Company had 460 restaurants, consisting of 201 Company-operated and 259 franchised restaurants. The Company also offers additional proteins, such as shrimp, carnitas and beef.

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