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Bobby Flay's burger IPO will test whether his star power is enough to lure investors

Sarah Whitten
Potato chips and signature sauces may not be enough to lure investors to Bobby Flay's burger IPO.

Potato chips and signature sauces may not be enough to lure investors to Bobby Flay's burger IPO.

While the celebrity chef has plans to offer up shares of his fast-casual restaurant, Bobby's Burger Palace, Morningstar's R.J. Hottovy said now could be a bad time for an initial public offering, especially for such a small chain.

"The smaller chains that don't have the scale, you know, that might not be the best time to do it because you're finding ways that Amazon is disrupting the business," Hottovy said on CNBC's "Closing Bell." "And overall traffic is down in the restaurant space. I'd be a little wary with an offering like this."

Bobby's Burger Palace, of which there are only 17 locations, competes with the likes of Shake Shack, Five Guys and Smashburger. The restaurant industry as a whole is crowded and competitive and the burger space even more so, leaving Hottovy to question if Flay's chain will be able to gain a foothold.

While Flay has a few innovative burgers on his menu, including one with a layer of potato chips on top, Hottovy is skeptical.

"I don't think putting chips on a burger will be enough to differentiate," he said.

Hottovy said he prefers chains that are looking beyond the menu at innovations in technology and loyalty programs.

Still, Flay's name could be enough to garner investor interest. He is well-known for his appearances on Food Network and for his high-end restaurants.

The company is expected to launch a Regulation A+ initial public offering and seeks to raise about $15 million. The company will be listed as "FLAY" at the New York Stock Exchange.