2022 Theme: Food Prices - War & The Chipotle Menu

Lastly, and to end on a slightly more Pebble focused note: what does a war adding more complexity to the inflation problem mean for American companies?

The key dynamic to follow in terms of a company's stock price is whether companies are able to pass along the higher costs to their customers.


Well, if the customers absorbs the hit, then the company's profits stay intact. If the company can't "pass along" these higher prices then their profit margins will suffer.

There are obviously thousands of possible examples to monitor here - everything from Walmart to your local pizzeria. Studying individual restaurants can therefore reveal whether their businesses are able to force their customers to pick up the tab.

Chipotle might be a standout here.

The reason might be that, at least so far, the famous burrito chain has demonstrated an ability to force its customers to pick up the tab for higher labor costs and rising energy and food prices.

The big caveat for the above is: so far.

So, higher costs and yet also higher prices, sales and profits. As long as that can continue the stock should continue to outperform both its peers and possibly even the broader market.

This dynamic will be playing out across the economy. It is still early but the signs are pretty good, especially if you are a large and efficient firm like Chipotle or Walmart.

The flip side is that it is very hard for small businesses - like Pebble! - to withstand these powerful forces. This is one of the many reasons that indices of smaller companies (such as the Russell 2000) have had such a terrible 2022 so far.

The new question mark will be will the Ukrainian and war related disruptions simply make it impossible for firms like Walmart and Chipotle to protect their profits?

Have prices risen too far too fast and proven too volatile for even the likes of Walmart or Kroger to protect their margins?

This will be a big financial question in the year ahead. Watch this space for more.


Have questions? Care to find out more? Feel free to reach out at contact@pebble.finance or join our Slack community to meet more like-minded individuals and see what we are talking about today. All are welcome.


    Sanctions, Sanctions - What Are They Good For?


    2022 Theme: War & Tightening Financial Conditions