Cava Group (CAVA 0.04%) has been hotter than its fiery broccoli and spicy falafel since becoming a public company. The Mediterranean restaurant chain completed its initial public offering (IPO) in mid-June 2023 when the market was starving for new IPOs.
Rapid growth is a big driver of the fast-casual restaurant stock's red-hot start. Cava has opened 102 net new locations over the past year, increasing its footprint to 279 locations, including former Zoes Kitchens converted into Cava's. The company expects to continue growing briskly, with plans to open 65 to 70 net new restaurants in 2023.In addition to growing its location count, Cava's same-store sales are growing quickly, up 18.2% in its 2023 fiscal second quarter). It's satisfying the growing craving for Mediterranean food while enticing return visits with new culinary innovations.
And Cava Group has grand ambitions. It's building the organization and infrastructure to support a restaurant group that can generate more than $1 billion in annual revenue. That growth potential might have investors salivating to invest in its stock.
You could also be among the many hungry customers helping drive the Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand's rapidly growing sales, further fueling your craving for Cava shares. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to buy shares of the restaurant stock and some factors to consider before adding Cava Group to your portfolio.
How to buy
How to buy Cava stockYou'll need to take a few steps before buying shares in Cava (or any other stock, for that matter). Here's a step-by-step guide to adding the Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand to your portfolio.
Step 1: Open a brokerage account
You'll want to open and fund a brokerage account before buying shares of any stock. If you need to open one, here are some of the best-rated brokers and trading platforms. Take your time to research the brokers to find the best one for you.
Step 2: Figure out your budgetBefore making your first trade, you'll need to determine a budget for how much money you want to invest. You'll then want to figure out how to allocate that money.
The Motley Fool's investing philosophy recommends building a diversified portfolio of 25 or more stocks you plan to hold for at least five years. You don't have to get there on the first day. For example, if you have $1,000 available to start investing, you might want to begin by allocating that money equally across at least 10 stocks and then grow from there.
Step 3: Do your research
It's essential to thoroughly research a company before buying its shares. You should learn about how it makes money, its competitors, its balance sheet, and other factors to make sure you have a solid grasp on whether the company can grow value for its shareholders over the long term. Continue reading to learn more about some crucial factors to consider before investing in Cava's stock.
Step 4: Place an orderOnce you've opened and funded a brokerage account, set your investing budget, and researched the stock, it's time to buy shares. The process is relatively straightforward. Go to your brokerage account's order page and fill out all the relevant information, including:
- The number of shares you want to buy or the amount you want to invest to purchase fractional shares
- The stock ticker (CAVA for Cava Group).
- Whether you want to place a limit order or a market order. (The Motley Fool recommends using a market order since it guarantees you buy shares immediately at the market price.)
Should I invest?
Should I invest in Cava?Doing research is essential before buying any stock. It could cause you to lose your appetite for the shares, or it might reaffirm your belief that it's a tasty investment opportunity. Here are some reasons you might want to buy shares of Cava Group:
- You're a big fan of the company's food.
- You're interested in investing in recent IPOs with high growth potential.
- You understand that Cava Group's stock could be very volatile.
- You don't need dividend income from your investment.
- Owning shares of the restaurant operator would help you build a more diversified portfolio.
- You believe the company can continue opening profitable new locations while rapidly growing sales at existing stores.
- You believe the company will grow into its lofty valuation.
- You like to invest in founder-led companies.
- You aren't a fan of Mediterranean food and don't like Cava's menu items.
- You're nearing retirement or already retired and must earn income from your investments.
- You already own some restaurant stocks, and adding Cava would give you outsize exposure to the sector.
- You're growing more concerned about the economy and worry a recession could impact Cava's sales and growth potential.
- You prefer lower-risk investments than a hot IPO like Cava.
- You're concerned about Cava's spicy valuation.
Is Cava profitable?Evaluating a company's profitability is essential to an investor's stock research process. Profit growth tends to be the primary driver of a company's stock price in the long term.
Cava Group delivered its first quarterly report to investors in August 2023 for its fiscal second quarter of 2023. It got off to a great start, reporting its first quarterly profit. The company generated $6.5 million of net income on $171.1 million in revenue. Cava's reported net income was a notable improvement from the previous year when it posted an $8.1 million net loss.A big driver of its improving profitability is the company's growing scale. It has opened 102 net new Cava Restaurants since its 2022 fiscal second quarter. The new locations, combined with strong same-store sales growth (18.2% year over year), drove a 62.4% increase in its revenue.
The company also benefitted from an improving restaurant-level profit margin, which increased from 22.1% to 26.1% over the past year. The primary drivers were its larger-scale operations, falling costs, and higher sales of premium menu items.While Cava reported a profit in its fiscal 2023 second quarter, investors should keep a close eye on profitability. The company reported net losses in its first fiscal quarter of 2023 and all four quarters of its 2022 fiscal year.Ideally, investors want to see a company consistently increase its profitability. It is unclear whether Cava has turned the corner on profitability or its first quarter as a public company was a one-off.
Does Cava pay a dividend?Cava Group has yet to initiate a dividend since going public. The fast-growing restaurant group likely won't declare one soon. It's using its retained earnings to help support its expansion, including opening new locations.
ETFs with exposure to Cava
Cava has only been a publicly traded company since June 2023, so it's not yet widely held by institutional investors, including exchange-traded funds (ETFs). However, ETFs are starting to add shares of the newly public company. According to Tiprankings.com, 13 ETFs held shares of the company as of mid-2023.
Notable ETFs holding shares were the Vanguard Small-Cap Growth ETF (VBK 1.33%), the Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB 1.25%), and the Vanguard Small Cap Value ETF (VBR 1.03%). However, they had tiny allocations to the restaurant group, 0.02% or less, so ETFs are probably not the best way to passively invest in Cava Group.
Another alternative option is to invest in a restaurant ETF. While most still need to add the newly public Cava, they likely will buy shares of the Mediterranean fast-casual brand soon. In the meantime, owning shares of a restaurant ETF would enable investors to passively invest in some of the top publicly traded restaurant operators.
Will Cava stock split?
Cava Group didn't have an upcoming stock split as of mid-2023. The company completed its IPO earlier in 2023 at $22 per share. While shares rallied after its IPO, they still traded at an accessible level for most investors, so it isn't likely that the restaurant group will split its stock anytime soon.
Related investing topics
Investing in Food StocksThe companies that make the foods we eat can also produce investment opportunities.
Investing in Food ETFsAn in-depth look at the leading food ETFs in the U.S. stock market this year.
The bottom line on CavaCava burst onto the scene in 2023 as one of the hottest IPOs. The Mediterranean fast-casual restaurant brand is growing rapidly. That could make it a delicious opportunity for some investors since its continued growth could drive its stock price even higher.However, Cava might not be the right investment for everyone. Shares could be volatile, and the stock doesn't currently pay dividends. Investors need to do their research and make sure they want to own Cava before buying shares.
Investing in Cava FAQs
Is Cava a good company to invest in?
However, Cava has risks. The company trades at a spicy valuation (nearly six times price to sales and more than 40 times its forward PE). While Cava could easily grow into that valuation, shares could be volatile along the way.Meanwhile, a recession could cause consumers to lose their appetite for eating out, causing Cava's growth to slow and its stock price to tumble. Cava might not be a good company for all investors. It's best for those with a high risk tolerance seeking a potentially high-growth stock.
Is Cava a publicly traded company?
Cava Group is a publicly traded company. It closed its initial public offering on June 20, 2023, at $22 per share. It trades on the NYSE under the stock ticker CAVA.