Restaurant stocks have caught up with soaring S&P 500 gains in the last year. These 10 companies have surged and led the industry.

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

  • Fast and casual dining company stocks have closed the gap on the benchmark S&P 500 so far in 2019.
  • These 10 individual stocks have posted strong gains, outperforming the S&P 500 on a year-to-date basis.
  • Read more on Markets Insider.

Fast-food and casual restaurants are on an upward tear this year, with some individual stocks outperforming the S&P 500 during a period of strong market growth.

Shares of multiple fast-food restaurants have posted huge spikes recently during a blockbuster earnings season for the category. Chipotle soared to a 52-week high after it reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday and is now up 75% this year.

McDonald’s is up 21%, and Restaurant Brands International, which owns Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, is up 44%. For context, the S&P 500 is up roughly 20% year to date.

Shares of Starbucks hit an all-time high after beating analyst estimates, prompting the company to boost its full year-outlook. The new record comes after Starbucks already hit an all-time high early in July when it announced its seasonal summer beverage, the tie-dye Frappuccino.

Fast-food restaurants have largely outperformed more casual dining choices, such as Texas Roadhouse and The Cheesecake Factory, both of which have struggled to maintain meaningful share gains this year. Investors are more hesitant about casual dining, wrote Dennis Geiger, an analyst at UBS in a note.

“Key concerns are focused on decelerating sales trends and heightened cost pressures from ongoing labor inflation, now combined with added risk of rising commodity costs from African swine fever,” Geiger wrote.

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Even as valuations on stocks such as Brinker, Texas Roadhouse and The Cheesecake Factory have come down, investors are still hesitant, Geiger said. Traffic has been negative, and same-store sales, an important measure for customers visiting restaurants, has whiplashed over the last year.

Those are issues that some fast-food restaurants have been able to circumvent or avoid while gaining ground in brand image perception. McDonald’s, for example, outperformed its peers as consumers favorite restaurant in a recent UBS Evidence Lab survey.

To be sure, Geiger wrote that for some brands, growth may be topping at the end of 2019. For example, while Chipotle has posted a strong comeback from issues with its food-safety, Geiger wrote in a note that growth will become more difficult going forward for the company and cited the cost of avocados as a key variable to watch.

And, some casual dining brands have posted strong years as well. Darden Brands, which owns Olive Garden and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, is up more than 24% this year.

Here are 10 fast-food and casual dining stocks that have outperformed the S&P 500, ranked in increasing order of year-to-date return.


10. McDonald’s

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Anton NovoderezhkinTASS via Getty Images

2019 year-to-date gains: 20.18%


9. Wendy’s

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Wendy’s has created Gifs as ads
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Tenor

2019 year-to-date gains: 20.66%


8. Yum! Brands International

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A KFC Cheetos sandwich
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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

Yum! Brands International includes KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

2019 year-to-date gains: 23%


7. Darden Restaurants

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Spaghetti from Olive Garden.
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Business Insider

Darden includes Olive Garden and Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

2019 year-to-date gains: 24%


6. Dunkin’ Brands

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The Dunkin’ Beyond Sausage breakfast sandwich.
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Kate Taylor/Business Insider

Dunkin’ Brands includes Dunkin’, Baskin-Robbins, and Mister Donut.

2019 year-to-date gains: 26%


5. Yum China

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A hamburger pizza from Pizza Hut.
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Screengrab from PizzaHutMiddleEast on YouTube

Yum China includes Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Little Sheep Group in China.

2019 year-to-date gains: 33.6%


4. Restaurant Brands International

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Burger King

RBI includes Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes

2019 year-to-date gains: 41%


3. Wingstop

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Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

2019 year-to-date gains: 49%


2. Shake Shack

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Facebook/Shake Shack

2019 year-to-date gains: 64%


1. Chipotle

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Irene Jiang / Business Insider

2019 year-to-date gains: 75%