There are dozens of upon dozens of industry exchange traded funds (ETFs) on the market today. These products range from the benign and prosaic, including aerospace and defense, biotechnology and internet stocks, to the controversial (think casinos and cannabis, just to name a few) and everything in between.
What is interesting about the current lineup of industry ETFs is that there are no dedicated restaurant ETFs. Once upon a time, there were, but those funds didn’t gain traction with investors and went to the ETF graveyard, indicating that not all themed ETFs will find receptive audiences.
ETFs or not, some restaurant stocks, broadly speaking, are soaring. McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) is one the best-performing names in the Dow Jones Industrial Average this year. Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) recently hit record highs and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has regained its growth story status.
Data support the restaurant stock these. About 56% of Americans go out to eat or have food delivered two to three times a week. By some estimates, a third of all Americans indulge in fast food everyday. Yes, there’s plenty of controversy surrounding fast food companies, but there’s also ample credibility in the restaurant investment niche.
In lieu of dedicated funds, here are some pseudo restaurant ETFs to consider.
Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF (PEJ)
Expense ratio: 0.63% per year, or $63 on a $10,000 investment.
The Invesco Dynamic Leisure and Entertainment ETF (NYSEARCA:PEJ) is a more than adequate replacement for a dedicated restaurant ETF. The fund holds 30 stocks, 11 of which are restaurant fare. That group includes the aforementioned Chipotle, McDonald’s and Starbucks as well as several other fast food and fast casual names.
PEJ follows the Dynamic Leisure & Entertainment Intellidex Index and that benchmark “is designed to provide capital appreciation by thoroughly evaluating companies based on a variety of investment merit criteria, including: price momentum, earnings momentum, quality, management action, and value,” according to Invesco.
What that means is that PEJ status as a restaurant ETF is fluid. Potentially, there will be times when the fund holds more than restaurant stocks than it currently does and times when its restaurant exposure is than it is today.
Invesco Dynamic Food & Beverage ETF (PBJ)
Expense ratio: 0.63%
The Invesco Dynamic Food & Beverage ETF (NYSEARCA:PBJ) is very similar to the aforementioned PEJ. However, PBJ is a little bit less of a restaurant ETF. Both ETF follows the same index methodology, but PBJ has a significantly larger tilt to the consumer staples sector.
That said, PBJ does allocate over a quarter of its weight to consumer discretionary stocks, the sector where restaurant names reside. As such, six of the fund’s seven consumer cyclical holdings are dining out names, giving PBJ some chops as a restaurant ETF.
Restaurant stocks in this fund include Chipotle, McDonald’s and Starbucks as well as Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM), among others.
Global X Millennials Thematic ETF (MILN)
Expense ratio: 0.50%
Due to the dearth of true restaurant ETFs, some stretching is necessary here. The GlobalX Millennials Thematic ETF (NASDAQ:MILN) is a stretch as restaurant ETF as just 5.30% of its weight is allocated to the industry and about 60% of that exposure is devoted to a single stock — Starbucks — but there are some other reasons to consider MILN.
MILN touches a broad range of sectors and themes that millennials are driving, including “social media and entertainment, food and dining, clothing and apparel, health and fitness, travel and mobility, education and employment, housing and home goods, and financial services,” according to Global X.
MILN may not be the restaurant ETF some investors are hoping for, but it is a nifty, tactical play on a burgeoning demographic that’s growing its wealth and spending power. Plus, MILN is up 29% year-to-date. That’s pretty impressive.
Invesco S&P SmallCap Consumer Discretionary ETF (PSCD)
Expense ratio: 0.29%
In terms of number components, the Invesco S&P SmallCap Consumer Discretionary ETF (NASDAQ: PSCD) is a realistic alternative to a true restaurant ETF. More than 10 of PSCD’s 97 holdings are restaurant stocks, reflecting the small-cap status of many of dining names.
Perhaps surprisingly, PSCD’s allocations to growth and value stocks are nearly even. That’s noteworthy because the consumer discretionary sector is usually seen as a growth destination. Add in the small-cap overlay, and that growth profile is often enhanced.
There are some risks with PSCD. It’s usually more volatile than a traditional, broad-based small-cap ETF. Second, because it’s a small-cap fund, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), the king of large-cap consumer cyclical stocks, doesn’t reside in this fund, creating a performance gap relative to large-cap competitors.
Principal Millennials Index ETF (GENY)
Expense ratio: 0.45%
Another millennials fund and another stretch to restaurant ETF reality, but the Principal Millennials Index ETF (NASDAQ:GENY) holds a few restaurant stocks and is cheaper than its aforementioned rival.
“They [Millennials] communicate heavily on social media platforms, consume hours of digital content per day, are physically very mobile, prefer to shop online rather than in stores, tend to be more health-focused than members of other generations, and prefer experiences over physical goods,” says Nasdaq.
The experiential element of millennial proclivities could bode well for restaurant shares going forward and GENY has more of a global kicker than the rival millennials ETF. GENY, which follows the Nasdaq Global Millennial Opportunity Index, allocates about half its weight to ex-US stocks while MILN mainly a domestic fund.
“We believe that the companies that effectively cater to Millennials’ predilections will penetrate a consumer base of 90-million strong and therefore are more likely to outperform the broad market over the long term,” according to Nasdaq.
Todd Shriber does not own any of the aforementioned securities.
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