This is some news that may have escaped most people recently, but I think it's really a huge deal. An article in Bloomberg recently pointed to evidence that Starbucks (SBUX) is now poised to surpass McDonald's (MCD) as the largest restaurant company in the world; currently with more than 50,000 locations. At the moment, Subway currently holds the title for the most global locations of any restaurant chain, and although Starbucks is trailing McDonald's at the moment, all signs point to the former surpassing the latter in a very short amount of time.
So why is this significant? Well, I'm not out to paint McDonald's as a terrible company, but they have given us plenty of reasons over the years to be skeptical about their business practices and the food they produce. Starbucks is primarily known for coffee, and very little else, their food choices are small but at the same time they are meant to be healthier and "cleaner" than a lunch bought at McDonald's. I'm not arguing that one restaurant's products are far healthier than the other; the point is that people are generally more likely to pay for taste, quality, and ethics over mass production and corporate profits.
Starbucks had in the past few years offered tuition program assistance for its baristas to work part time and attend college. The idea was that they did not expect their baristas to stay employed at their current locations forever. As far as I know, McDonald's made no such promise and offered managerial training to keep employees within the company, but if they happen to be more "skilled" than their peers then they can move up the ranks to manager status and make a little more per hour. Starbucks allows the tipping of their employees both in person or via its app. I've never seen a tip jar at a McDonald's and I have yet to visit a location (in this country anyway) that offers outstanding service.
Good company practices are winning out in the long-term, and this makes me happy...and it should make you happy as well! Full disclosure - I actually own Starbucks stock and I've been quite pleased with its performance. A lot has helped the company to evolve in the past 10 years, and as a result it has nearly double the returns as McDonald's.
Which company's stock would you rather own? Let us know in the comment section below!
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