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The 10 Fastest-Growing Fast Food Companies

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Ahead of end-of-the-day earnings for some, a list of fast food makers currently cooking up healthy revenue.

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Starbucks

Starbucks leads with this list's highest market cap at $36 billion, which has grown nearly 13% over the past 12 months. The 41-year-old Seattle-based coffee seller is currently operating or has licensed 17,651 stores (as of July 1) in 60 countries. Known for its higher-end, high-priced products, Starbucks entered into direct competition with fast food rivals like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Dunkin' Donuts (NASDAQ:DNKN) in 2010, when it announced its Seattle's Best Coffee brand (which it acquired in 2003) would be sold in roughly 30,000 fast food stores, supermarkets and coffee shops.

The morning brew megabrand has never shied away from breaking into untapped market segments. As recently as last week, Starbucks began selling single serve Verismo coffee and espresso brewing machines. This pits Starbucks against Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (NASDAQ:GMCR) and Nestle (PINK:NSRGY), whose respective Keurig and Nespresso coffee machines have dominated the single serve market thus far.

Starbucks will release its fourth quarter and fiscal year end 2012 financial results on November 1.

AFC Enterprises

If you're not familiar with AFC Enterprises (NASDAQ:AFCE), you're likely familiar with its quick-service franchise restaurant brand Popeyes Chicken and Biscuits and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Known together as Popeyes, the spicy chicken and fried seafood purveyor distinguishes itself with a Louisiana-style menu. Popeyes is the world's second-largest fast food chicken concept, behind Yum Brands' (NYSE:YUM) Kentucky Fried Chicken. Over the past year, Popeye's market cap has growth 12% to $619 million.

AFC currently owns or franchises upwards of 2,049 Popeyes locations across 48 states and 25 foreign countries (as of July 8). Last week, the company added to its stock after purchasing 28 unnamed franchise-restaurants in Minnesota and Northern California for $13.8 million, with intentions to convert them into Popeyes Louisiana Kitchens at a cost of $11.5 million. This represents a move into markets where AFC currently has no presence.

AFC releases its Q3 earnings on November 5.

Twitter: @brokawbrokaw
Analyst quoted for this article may have positions in some of the stocks mentioned.
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