It's no secret that sky-high energy prices and food inflation are putting a hurt on consumer pocketbooks these days. Given the financial pinch, many families are eating out less and trading down to more affordable fare. That trend has favored the fast-food operators over the casual-dining crowd.
A look at a stock chart of key industry players is quite revealing: Fast food is leading the pack as share performance of McDonald's
Demonstrating that people are seeking less-expensive alternatives for dining out and that price has become the key differentiator in our economic malaise, fellow Fool Selena Maranjian recently highlighted some tasty fast-food trends. Mickey D's has been a primary beneficiary of the current tendency -- a combination of menu innovation, service, and low cost have the fast-food giant firing on all cylinders these days.
Given the favorable trends for quick-serve restaurants, I see a couple of opportunities for value-minded investors. Drive-in restaurant operator Sonic
The other notable opportunity is Motley Fool Hidden Gems Pay Dirt pick Jack in the Box
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