Is The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated's (NASDAQ:CAKE) 22% ROE Better Than Average?

By
Simply Wall St
Published
March 21, 2022
NasdaqGS:CAKE
Source: Shutterstock

While some investors are already well versed in financial metrics (hat tip), this article is for those who would like to learn about Return On Equity (ROE) and why it is important. By way of learning-by-doing, we'll look at ROE to gain a better understanding of The Cheesecake Factory Incorporated (NASDAQ:CAKE).

Return on Equity or ROE is a test of how effectively a company is growing its value and managing investors’ money. In short, ROE shows the profit each dollar generates with respect to its shareholder investments.

View our latest analysis for Cheesecake Factory

How To Calculate Return On Equity?

The formula for return on equity is:

Return on Equity = Net Profit (from continuing operations) ÷ Shareholders' Equity

So, based on the above formula, the ROE for Cheesecake Factory is:

22% = US$72m ÷ US$330m (Based on the trailing twelve months to December 2021).

The 'return' refers to a company's earnings over the last year. That means that for every $1 worth of shareholders' equity, the company generated $0.22 in profit.

Does Cheesecake Factory Have A Good ROE?

By comparing a company's ROE with its industry average, we can get a quick measure of how good it is. However, this method is only useful as a rough check, because companies do differ quite a bit within the same industry classification. As you can see in the graphic below, Cheesecake Factory has a higher ROE than the average (16%) in the Hospitality industry.

roe
NasdaqGS:CAKE Return on Equity March 21st 2022

That's clearly a positive. However, bear in mind that a high ROE doesn’t necessarily indicate efficient profit generation. Especially when a firm uses high levels of debt to finance its debt which may boost its ROE but the high leverage puts the company at risk. Our risks dashboardshould have the 3 risks we have identified for Cheesecake Factory.

How Does Debt Impact Return On Equity?

Companies usually need to invest money to grow their profits. That cash can come from issuing shares, retained earnings, or debt. In the first two cases, the ROE will capture this use of capital to grow. In the latter case, the debt used for growth will improve returns, but won't affect the total equity. Thus the use of debt can improve ROE, albeit along with extra risk in the case of stormy weather, metaphorically speaking.

Combining Cheesecake Factory's Debt And Its 22% Return On Equity

Cheesecake Factory clearly uses a high amount of debt to boost returns, as it has a debt to equity ratio of 1.41. While its ROE is respectable, it is worth keeping in mind that there is usually a limit as to how much debt a company can use. Debt increases risk and reduces options for the company in the future, so you generally want to see some good returns from using it.

Summary

Return on equity is one way we can compare its business quality of different companies. Companies that can achieve high returns on equity without too much debt are generally of good quality. If two companies have the same ROE, then I would generally prefer the one with less debt.

But ROE is just one piece of a bigger puzzle, since high quality businesses often trade on high multiples of earnings. The rate at which profits are likely to grow, relative to the expectations of profit growth reflected in the current price, must be considered, too. So you might want to take a peek at this data-rich interactive graph of forecasts for the company.

Of course Cheesecake Factory may not be the best stock to buy. So you may wish to see this free collection of other companies that have high ROE and low debt.

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