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Sonic Offers the Tasty Trade in Burgers


The humble hamburger has seen one of the biggest booms in terms of both offerings and sales growth.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL It's amazing that even as the food industry has exploded due to fusion, locavore sustainability, and celebrity chefs, the humble hamburger has seen one of the biggest booms in terms of both offerings and sales growth. This group includes everything from the global behemoths like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Burger King (NYSE:BKW) down to regional favorites like In-N-Out Burger on the west coast and Five Guys on the east coast. And let's not forget that any worthwhile gastropub needs a signature burger, sometimes in the whopping $30-$40 price range. The burger has reaffirmed itself as Americans' must-have menu item.

But I'm not here for a taste test or even to assess which hamburger offers the best value for your hard earned dollars. Instead, I want to look at which one could be the best investment. And given the fast food nature of the product and the fact that I'm focused on options, we want something that can deliver profits hot and fast. With that in mind, I'm going with Sonic (NASDAQ:SONC), a chain with some 3,500 locations concentrated in the southeast. The restaurants' concept is inspired by the 1950s with both drive-through and car hop service. Sometimes the servers even wear roller skates. And that's great marketing, which I'll discuss in a moment.

Nearly 100% Beef

While McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's (NASDAQ:WEN) have expanded their menus to include chicken, fish salad, and smoothies, Sonic has remained true to its burger-based roots. This is not to say that it doesn't offer a variety of nuggets, wraps, and liquid concoctions. But Sonic tries to keep its menu tight. It has actually bridged the burger-hotdog gap that others have attempted (but failed) to cross. Having the two major food groups -- burgers and hotdogs -- in all their variations is a major selling point in the car-centric markets Sonic serves.
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