I love to kick off the new trading week by taking a quick peek at companies that have just hiked their dividends. It's not just about the money. A company that is easing up on its pocketbook probably has improving fundamentals to back up that generosity.

Readers of the Income Investor newsletter can certainly appreciate that kind of thinking. Let's take a closer look at four of the companies that inched their payouts higher this past week.

We'll start with Darden Restaurants (NYSE:DRI). The casual dining operator behind Olive Garden and Red Lobster is serving up heaping portions of coins to its investors. The restaurateur's quarterly distribution is soaring 57% higher to $0.18 per share. Eatery stocks may be out of favor lately, but the shiny new 1.7% yield should keep hungry shareowners fed during the lull.

Then we can hit the open road with Winnebago (NYSE:WGO). The RV giant is jacking up its payout by 20% to $0.12 per share every three months. Winnebago upped the ante, despite posting a dip in profitability a week earlier. It coupled the new dividend rate with a share buyback, hopefully indicating internal faith in the company's prospects.

Stop the presses! Gatehouse Media (NYSE:GHS) is another topper. The newspaper publisher's disbursements are climbing 8% higher to $0.40 per share. That gives the shares a whopping 8.4% yield. It's also the second time that Gatehouse has grown its dividend since going public last summer. Who says that publishers are dead?

Finally, we have Sun Hydraulics (NASDAQ:SNHY). The maker of hydraulic cartridge valves and manifolds declared a 3-for-2 stock split last week. The move would have lowered its quarterly dividend from $0.10 a share to $0.0667 a share. Instead, the split shares will produce a $0.09 per-share quarterly payout, thanks to a 35% boost in income to shareowners.

Subscribers to the Income Investor newsletter can appreciate the companies sending more and more money to their investors. The newsletter singles out companies that are committed to growing their distributions with market-thumping results.

Want to see what is being recommended these days? Go ahead and give the newsletter service a shot with a 30-day trial subscription. Who knows? Maybe the next thing that will get hiked will be your interest.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz pays attention to yield signs. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.