Hospitality in Recovery Mode? Stocks to Watch: FUNN, AMC, CNK, DIS, PLAY

The hospitality industry faced difficult times in the last year regarding operations, profitability, and managing people (labor). With the reopening of the restaurant industry across the US and developed world, crucial issues are arising in terms of the availability of key workers, hampering operations.

Restaurant industry experts say these labor issues are due to pandemic – although most restaurants were at least partially closed during the pandemic, labor shortages have worsened post-pandemic as the majority of restaurants have opened at the same time and are ramping up fast.

Amfil Technologies Inc. (OTCMKTS: FUNN) is one company in the industry grappling with this issue.

Amfil Technologies Inc. (OTCMKTS: FUNN), the owner of Snakes & Lattes board game cafes in North America, announced a new Chief Operating Officer, Aaron McKay. McKay will leverage his years of experience in restaurant management to support the company’s vision and growth strategy. Hired in 2020 as Snakes & lattes VP Food and Beverage, Mckay will be vital in growing the Snakes and Lattes brand.

Reopening + New Venue to support higher revenue. Amfil Technologies Inc. (OTCMKTS: FUNN) has been working for several months to open Snakes & Latte Tuscon and was finally successful in April 2021 and is one of the greatest milestones in the company’s expansion. Sixth Snakes & Latte is located at University Blvd, next to the University of Arizona, which is walking distance from Tucson. The sixth venue is a milestone, as it’s opened during pandemic times to return to normalcy/occupancy. This is just the starting as the nation returns to normalcy.

The street believes that the company had seen a sharp shift in the recent month, post the vaccine rollout. This has led to the reopening of the economy and various restaurants or eating joints in the U.S.  Amfil Technologies Inc. (OTCMKTS: FUNN) is of the view that with the reopening at all the locations coupled with the recently opened venue, annual revenue growth is expected to surpass $10 million, as there is no shortage of customers, post-vaccine rollout.

Though management has not given any guidance in terms of revenue, it sounded quite confident about crossing last year’s figures. This will lead to better profitability and strengthen the company’s position in the market. With the gradual lifting of restrictions, the opening of the economy is part of the company’s expansion plan as normalcy returns post-pandemic. The company is also scouting for other locations to expand its wings further.

New COO to execute growth strategy and vision. Amfil Technologies Inc. (OTCMKTS: FUNN) recently hired a new Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Aaron McKay, in June 2021 to execute the company’s growth strategy and vision. Mr. Aaron brings with him more than a decade of experience managing the restaurant and has a quite deep understanding of the markets and business.

The company believes that Mr. Mckay is the ideal candidate to lead the organization from the front and execute the overall vision of Amfil Technologies Inc. He was earlier a Vice President at Snakes & Lattes Food and Beverage and has helped the company sail through these pandemic times and come out strongly.

As the company focuses on reopening all its venues and executing an expansion plan, Mr. Aaron plays a critical role in putting everything in place. The connection to more and more people, branding their business, and expansion of business operations will be a key to growth.

A sharp improvement in audience/people across the leisure/hospitality industry post-pandemic

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE: AMC), the largest theatrical exhibitor in the United States, in Europe & the Middle East, and in the world, has witnessed a sharp increase in the audience over the last few weekends, thanks to vaccine rollout.

As per the company, ~2 million people visited the theatres in the U.S over the last weekend and recorded as most of the busiest weekend numbers in more than a year. Things look much better in Europe and the Middle East, where the company witnessed ~500,000 additional people. The performance of the hospitality industry largely depends on consumer spending power.

Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: CNK), in line with other peers in the hospitality industry, NYSE: CNK has also witnessed a gradual ramp in the opening of the theatres. This was largely driven by the gradual lifting of lockdown, vaccine rollout, and stimulus measures, leading to expectations of an increase in the number of theatres getting functional.

As per various media reports, it seems that NYSE: CNK will take time to reach pre-COVID levels in terms of occupancy levels, as in the international markets, ~50% of the company’s theatres are functioning due to a spike in COVID cases. The sharp improvement in the company’s financial performance can be seen once all its theatres/facilities operate at full capacity in the international market. The U.S operations for the company is doing good in the recent time. To attract the audience/moviegoers, the company is expected to take the Cinema Week celebration to the next level with in-theatre activations and giveaways.

Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise. To execute the company strategy and drive the growth plan, the company hired two new directors: Amy Chang, veteran technology executive, and Calvin McDonald, Chief Executive Officer, in May’21.

The company witnessed improvement in the financial performance in the last quarter, driven by signs of recovery across their business segments, which includes reopening of theme parks, increased production at their studios, the success of streaming services, to name a few. All this was backed by sharp movement in audiences in the hospitality industry.

Dave & Buster’s Entertainment Inc (NASDAQ:PLAY), an owner and operator of entertainment and dining venues, reported sequential improvement in performance, with the opening of ~76% of its store base. Most stores opened during the quarter operated under reduced hours due to pandemic-related restrictions.

In addition, the company opened one new store, thereby taking the total store count to 141 stores. The business momentum continued in the second quarter as well but foresee the impact on operating performance due to increased overall costs.

Movement of audiences/people and availability of skilled labor are key for the hospitality industry

The fortune of the leisure/hospitality industry largely depends on the movement of people/audiences and the availability of skilled labor. With the gradual lifting of the lockdown and jurisdiction restrictions, it is expected that the industry will gradually witness improvement in the revenue, however to a certain extent, we might see the impact on operating /EBITDA performance if the company is unable to pass on the increase in cost.

Amfil Technologies Inc. (OTCMKTS: FUNN) has seen a shift on a positive side with the vaccine rollout and lifting of restrictions. As a result, the industry is expected to see a further increase in audiences in the near term, which augurs well. This will lead to an increase in the overall revenue of the company/industry, and with the gradual ramp-up of the facility, the industry shall also witness the improvement in operating leverage; this will also strengthen the balance sheet.