Back to top

Image: Bigstock

CAVA Rises 110% in 6 Months: Can You Still Take Position?

Read MoreHide Full Article

CAVA Group, Inc. (CAVA - Free Report) has seen a significant increase in its stock price, which soared 110.2% over the last six months. This impressive performance comes in contrast to a 5.5% decline in the industry. The company's success can be attributed to its attractive, health-focused and highly customizable menu. As a result, CAVA has outpaced the broader Retail Wholesale sector, which rose 1.1%, and the S&P 500, which gained 8.6%, in the said time frame.

The recent surge in CAVA stock has left many investors contemplating whether they've missed a prime investment opportunity or if there's still room for growth. On Jul 9, the stock closed at $90.24, which is below its 52-week high of $98.69 but significantly higher than its 52-week low of $29.05. The company also outperformed other industry players like Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI - Free Report) , down 12.3%, Restaurant Brands International Inc. (QSR - Free Report) , down 12.9%, and Brinker International, Inc. (EAT - Free Report) , up 68.1%, in the past six months.

Stock Performance

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Technical indicators suggest continued strong performance for CAVA. The stock is trading above its 50-day moving average, signaling robust upward momentum and price stability. This technical strength underscores positive market sentiment and confidence in CAVA's financial health and prospects.

50-Day Moving Average

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Factors Acting in Favor of CAVA

CAVA's growth is supported by strategic initiatives such as the nationwide introduction of a premium-priced steak and a revamped loyalty program aimed at boosting customer frequency and revenues. Menu price increases, robust digitalization, a favorable product mix and new restaurant openings continue to drive growth.

Moreover, a new labor deployment model enhancing service speed and customer experience, and a multiyear Connected Kitchen initiative utilizing AI for supply chain forecasting and food prep automation also bode well. These efforts are poised to drive sales and margin growth.

CAVA's strategy for delivering value and ensuring long-term success is centered on four key pillars. First, the company aims to bring its Mediterranean cuisine to more communities nationwide. Second, even as CAVA grows, it is focusing on fostering personal connections with its guests. Third, the company is committed to maintaining high standards of restaurant operations, ensuring excellence at every location and during every shift. Last, CAVA emphasizes the importance of operating as a cohesive, high-performing team.

CAVA is actively expanding its footprint, having added 15 new locations in the first quarter of 2024 across six states, bringing its total to 323 locations, a 23% increase. The company opened five more units in the second quarter, including its first Chicago location, which has seen impressive sales volume. Due to the strong performance of the new units, CAVA has raised its 2024 development guidance. It plans to open 50 to 54 new locations, which will translate to a growth rate of 16% to 18%. A significant aspect of CAVA's expansion strategy includes the integration of digital drive-thru pickup lanes.

2024 Outlook Boosts Confidence

The company now anticipates same restaurant sales in the range of 4.5-6.5%, up from the prior estimate of 3% to 5%. CAVA’s restaurant-level profit margin is expected between 23.7% and 24.3%, up from the earlier estimate of 22.7% to 23.3%. Adjusted EBITDA is expected in the range of $100 million to $105 million, up from the prior estimate of $86 million to $92 million.

CAVA Trading at a Premium

The company is currently valued at a premium compared to its industry on a forward 12-month price-to-sales (P/S) basis. CAVA’s forward 12-month P/S ratio stands at 10.3, significantly higher than the industry’s ratio of 3.53 and the S&P 500's ratio of 5.28. This suggests that investors may be paying a high price relative to the company's expected earnings growth.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Estimate Revision Favoring the Stock

Reflecting the positive sentiment around CAVA, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings per share has seen upward revisions. Over the past 60 days, analysts have increased their estimates for both the current and the next fiscal year by 36% to 34 cents and by 39.4% to 46 cents per share, respectively. These estimates indicate expected year-over-year growth rates of 61.9% and 33.2%, respectively.

Zacks Investment Research
Image Source: Zacks Investment Research


This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company has demonstrated remarkable stock performance, driven by its appealing menu, strategic initiatives and effective expansion efforts. The company’s robust growth, enhanced by technological advancements and a focus on customer experience, has led to increased investor confidence. Despite trading at a premium, positive earnings revisions and strong fundamentals suggest potential for continued growth. As CAVA continues to expand and innovate, it appears well-positioned for sustained success in the competitive market. Investors can consider betting on the stock as it still appears to have more room to run.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Published in