Liquidity and Capital Resources
Our primary liquidity and capital requirements are for new restaurant construction, working capital and general corporate needs. As of June 30, 2017, we had a cash and short-term investment balance of $569.6 million that we expect to utilize, along with cash flow from operations, to provide capital to support the growth of our business (primarily through opening restaurants), to repurchase additional shares of our common stock subject to market conditions, to maintain our existing restaurants and for general corporate purposes. As of June 30, 2017, $197.9 million remained available under repurchase authorizations previously approved by our Board of Directors. We believe that cash from operations, together with our cash and investment balances, will be enough to meet ongoing capital expenditures, working capital requirements and other cash needs for the foreseeable future.
We haven’t required significant working capital because customers generally pay using cash or credit and debit cards and because our operations do not require significant receivables, nor do they require significant inventories due, in part, to our use of various fresh ingredients. In addition, we generally have the right to pay for the purchase of food, beverage and supplies some time after the receipt of those items, generally within ten days, thereby reducing the need for incremental working capital to support our growth.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
As of June 30, 2017, we had no off-balance sheet arrangements or obligations.
Critical Accounting Estimates
Critical accounting estimates are those that we believe are both significant and that require us to make difficult, subjective or complex judgments, often because we need to estimate the effect of inherently uncertain matters. We base our estimates and judgments on historical experiences and various other factors that we believe to be appropriate under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from these estimates, and we might obtain different estimates if we used different assumptions or factors. We had no significant changes in our critical accounting estimates since our last annual report. Our critical accounting estimates are identified and described in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016.
ITEM 3.QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK
Commodity Price Risks
We are exposed to commodity price risks. Many of the ingredients we use to prepare our food, our packaging materials, as well as utilities to run our restaurants are commodities or ingredients that are affected by the price of other commodities, exchange rates, foreign demand, weather, seasonality, production, availability and other factors outside our control. We work closely with our suppliers and use a mix of forward pricing protocols under which we agree with our supplier on fixed prices for deliveries at some time in the future, fixed pricing protocols under which we agree on a fixed price with our supplier for the duration of that protocol, and formula pricing protocols under which the prices we pay are based on a specified formula related to the prices of the goods, such as spot prices. However, a majority of the dollar value of goods purchased by us is effectively at spot prices. Generally, our pricing protocols with suppliers can remain in effect for periods ranging from one to 24 months, depending on the outlook for prices of the particular ingredient. In several cases, we have minimum purchase obligations. We have tried to increase, where necessary, the number of suppliers for our ingredients, which we believe can help mitigate pricing volatility. We follow industry news, trade issues, exchange rates, foreign demand, weather, crises and other world events that may affect our ingredient prices. Increases in ingredient prices could adversely affect our results if we choose for competitive or other reasons not to increase menu prices at the same rate at which ingredient costs increase, or if menu price increases result in customer resistance.
Changing Interest Rates
We are also exposed to interest rate risk through fluctuations of interest rates on our investments. Changes in interest rates affect the interest income we earn, and therefore impact our cash flows and results of operations. As of June 30, 2017, we had $442.5 million in investments and interest-bearing cash accounts, including insurance-related restricted trust accounts classified in other assets, and $134.6 million in accounts with an earnings credit we classify as interest income, which combined earned a weighted-average interest rate of 0.66%.
Foreign Currency Exchange Risk
A portion of our operations consists of activities outside of the U.S. and we have currency risk on the transactions in other currencies and translation adjustments resulting from the conversion of our international financial results into the U.S. dollar. However, a substantial majority of our operations and investment activities are transacted in the U.S. and therefore our foreign currency risk is not material at this date.