Ballpark Beer Cheaper Than Fast Food?! - InvestingChannel

Ballpark Beer Cheaper Than Fast Food?!

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Ballpark Beer Cheaper Than Fast Food?!

The San Francisco Chronicle recently traced the history of beer prices at the ballparks where SF’s baseball Giants have played. 

Beer cost $0.35 between 1958 and 1959 at Seals Stadium. It cost $0.40 – or $4.06 in 2023 money – when the team moved to Candlestick Park in 1960. 

The Giants raised prices five cents almost every year for 25 years. Then, in 1985, they added a quarter to the cost of a beer, bringing it to $1.50. In 2000, the Giants moved to Pacific Bell Park – now Oracle Park – but kept beer prices constant until 2004, when the cheapest beer cost $5.75, and a new “super premium” option cost $7.75. 

In 2019, the cheapest beer at a Giants game was $8.25. The most expensive was a stunning $19.25, though it was 22 ounces. 

By 2022, the cheapest beer cost $14. But the Giants just announced you can snag a typical domestic brew – think Coors or Bud Light – for just $9.

Yes, you’re reading this right. The SF Giants have lowered the price of beer. In 2023. Even Dodgers fans can get on board with that.

Something few of us can get on board with is the recent price increases at fast-food and quick-service restaurants. Some examples: 

  • Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) expects to increase prices in the mid-single-digit area during 2023, noting on its Q4 2022 conference call that people making more than $100,000 are coming in more often. As for low-income consumers, Chipotle says it’s not in its business model to “go chasing people with discounts.” Okay, then…
  • In October, Shake Shack (SHAK) raised prices by mid- to high single digits. The company says the loftier menu prices led to a 5.1% annual increase in same-store sales and a rise in average weekly sales from $73,000 to $76,000 between Q3 and Q4 2022. 
  • Domino’s Pizza (DPZ) hiked prices 5.4% last year and improved some of the same metrics Shake Shack did. 
  • In 2022, McDonald’s (MCD) raised prices an average of 10%. Metrics also improved. 
  • Starbucks (SBUX) increased prices around 6% in 2022. Same story on metrics. 
  • Papa John’s (PZZA) credits its growth in traffic and new customers to 7% to 9% price jumps in Q4 2022, plus new menu items. 

As for the stocks of these companies, the big winners are CMG and SHAK, up roughly 20.2% and 28.7%, respectively, year to date. MCD is up a relatively weak 3.6% so far in 2023, while DPZ is down 5.0%, PZZA has dropped 3.8%, and SBUX has lost 2.2%. 

The Bottom Line: It’ll be interesting to see if any of these chains, particularly the ones with soaring stock prices and higher-end customers (CMG and SHAK), lower prices when the dust settles on inflation. We’re guessing they won’t.

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