2015 All-America Research Team: Restaurants, No. 2: Sara Senatore
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2015 All-America Research Team: Restaurants, No. 2: Sara Senatore

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Posting her strongest showing to date, Sara Senatore of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. advances from the runner-up position she held the past to years to claim second place.

< The 2015 All-America Research Team

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Sara Senatore

Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.

First-place appearances: 0


Total appearances: 4


Analyst debut: 2012


Posting her strongest showing to date, Sara Senatore of Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. advances from the runner-up position she held the past to years to claim second place. In the eyes of at least one fund manager, the 38-year-old has proven herself “responsive, forward thinking, highly knowledgeable and open to a healthy debate on various stocks.” Another backer appreciates that “she doesn’t just tell what she thinks will happen — rather, she shows you why it should happen.” In considering the big picture for U.S. restaurants, Senatore is warning clients that the group is facing a “great moderation.” The rapid expansion of recent decades, during which restaurant spending outstripped consumer income gains, is finished, she explains. “Instead, we’ll see restaurant demand tied closely to income growth, with channel shifts and company-level market share gains and losses determining the pace of growth for different companies.” Her favorite name is Seattle-based coffee purveyor Starbucks Corp. “It has the strongest brand equity among restaurants — and probably some of the strongest across all consumer sectors — and has reinforced that brand equity with best-in-class execution,” she notes. “I can think of few other companies that have managed to strike a balance between being both broadly accessible and aspirational in nature. It appeals across geographies and customer groups.” After initiating the recommendation in September 2009, Senatore presented Starbucks as her team’s best idea at the firm’s Annual Strategic Decisions conference in May 2014, and has reiterated her outperform position several times. The stock has, indeed, been on the rise since then, soaring 57.8 percent, to $56.84, and well ahead of the S&P 500’s 2.5 percent gain.



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