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That succulent steak? It’s just business

Lynne Collier ’92 MBA rates the dining industry.

That succulent steak? It’s just business

Lynne Collier ’92 MBA rates the dining industry.

Lynne Collier ’92 MBA eats out a lot — steaks, chicken quesadillas, pancakes on a stick. If Outback Steakhouse, Taco Cabana and Sonic can invent it, she will taste it. She also talks a lot — to the wait staff, to drive-through window attendants, to third-shift weekend managers. Anything to glean how good a restaurant is.

Collier is no food critic or health inspector. She’s one of the country’s foremost restaurant analysts for Stephens Inc., a brokerage firm in Little Rock, Ark. And her bulldog tenacity — she regularly visits 25 restaurants a week and calls scores of others for their wait times — was profiled by The Wall Street Journal in September 2001 in a piece about stock analysts getting back to the practice of old-fashioned detective work to see how a business is really faring.

Her colleagues joke that a 5-foot, 95-pound woman can’t be trusted to rate the dining industry, but Collier’s evaluations more often than not lead to rising stock prices and sound investment decisions.