Channel Check, Please!

This should prove to be a very interesting week in the Heller household. With my wife en route to Haiti, the three Heller children will be subject to my cooking for the next week. That's probably a frightening thought for my teenage daughters, who are much more concerned about what they eat than my son and I. This could end up being a good week for channel checks at a few of the publicly traded restaurant names.

I'm thinking of limiting it to those that pay dividends; of course, I won't tell the kids that bit of news lest they think that the old man has finally lost it. We will more than likely start at a local Darden (DRI) location, namely Olive Garden, which is becoming a family favorite. It has never failed to deliver on a good meal, at least when I've been there. Darden itself has quietly become one of the sector's dividend champions, with a 3.3% yield and a dividend that has grown at a 27% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in the past 10 years. Last summer, the company hiked the quarterly dividend 34%, to $0.43 from $0.32, and the payout ratio is still below 50%. Of course, the real estate angle here is somewhat compelling: Darden owns the land and buildings for 973 of its 1894 locations, the buildings and equipment for another 726....412 more words left in this article. To read them, just click below and try Real Money FREE for 14 days.

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