McDonald’s Corporation (MCD), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (CMG), Yum! Brands, Inc. (YUM): A Crazy Little Thing Called…

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM)Crazy Cheesy Crust……Doritos Loco Tacos…….Maddening presence on the global front. Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) ascension these past 16 years has been an intriguing mix of making key moves at the right time and rebounding from scandals. Due to walking that line, the company is holding their own against heavy weights such as McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE:MCD) and Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG). However, the Achilles heel of the company is its heavy reliance on China for growth. Despite this, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) Brands will grow this year.

The good

Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM), similar to a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, recognized the emerging Chinese market and wasted no time immersing its business there. With 5,700 restaurants in more than 850 cities and $1 billion dollars in profits for 2012, the company has seen a nice return on its investment. Furthermore, Yum! was able to acquire Little Sheep, a chain of hotpot restaurants and to establish East Dawning, a restaurant that has Chinese cuisine, but employ the KFC business model. Little Sheep and East Dawning are boosts to the company’s profits and presence in China.

Wacky product choices are the Modus Operandi or M.O. for Yum!. Go into any of the company’s subsidiaries and products such as, Doritos Loco Tacos, Crazy Cheesy Pizza or Boneless Chicken, are sure to evoke your curiosity, if not your appetite. In a highly competitive and innovative age, Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) continues to churn out original products that excite customers. By consistently keeping their customers anticipating for more, the demand for Yum!’s products increases and in turn, raises their profits and the rate of return for their investors.

The competition

Chipotle and Panera Bread Co (NASDAQ:PNRA) each makes healthy and convenient food, at a relatively higher price than your typical fast-food restaurants. Both companies have rewarded investors by buying back stocks and consciously improving your holding long-term. It has ensured the companies to be able to expand their locations and build upon their menu. Each had a significant first quarter revenue increase, due to location expansion; in addition, to the fact that Chipotle’s Cultivate Festival and Panera’s “Live Consciously” campaign is allowing them to connect with customers in a new way. While Yum! Brands, Inc. (NYSE:YUM) is larger, cheaper, and has original products, Chipotle and Panera have redefined the fast-food experience, by employing a similar setup to their counterparts, but offering food at the highest quality.

McDonald’s strongest ability lies in being able to reinvent themselves, just as competitors think the giant might be slipping. The company’s revenue between 2010 and 2011 increased significantly, due to the introduction of the McCafe smoothies and frappes. These products revitalized McDonald’s appeal to customers and investors. Moreover, with the push for healthier food, this company continues to modify its product choices to fit the taste buds of their customer; while they also offer it for a cheap price. New menu items such as Premium Wraps, Egg White Delight, and Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie, are a part of the revitalization plan. The company also is a double advantage for investors; McDonald’s pays out dividends, that increase yearly, and buys back shares. Yum employs a similar strategy too.

McDonalds and Yum! have found continued success, despite their menus being criticized, due to the fact that in economically strapped times, Chipotle and Panera become ideal, rather than actual choices. On the same note, customers want to have a variety of food options when on-the-go. However, McDonald’s portfolio advantage over Yum!’s is the fact that it is not heavily dependent on one country for a surge.