You won't find the word steakburger in the dictionary. You will find it featured prominently on the menu of your nearest Steak 'n Shake (NYSE:SNS). With its hand-dipped shakes and signature burgers, the chain of 24-hour eateries has been a steady server as well as a steady grower.

Last night the company saw its fiscal third-quarter earnings inch up by a penny to $0.27 a share on a modest 8% uptick in revenues. Sleepy? Nah. It's just fine for a company whose restaurants never sleep.

The chain's popularity continues to grow as the company put up a healthy 6.3% spike in comps. If you prop up the company's aggressive same-store sales gains against the single-digit top line growth, it becomes apparent that the company is taking its time right now when it comes to expansion. Sure enough, the company is looking to tack on no more than 20 new units this year to its base of 416 locations.

So why is a quick-service eatery growing this slowly? And like an impatient patron, can you threaten to get up and leave if someone doesn't pick up the pace?

It's hard to argue with success. Well, at least that's the case once you temper your enthusiasm for rapid growth. Yes, the company has been putting up healthy comps for a while now. It would be completely justified in cashing in on that popularity by speeding up its expansion efforts.

However, the company's lethargic ways of building out its chain has also meant consistency. The company has been able to stick to its full fiscal year profit projections calling for earnings to come in between $1.00 and $1.04 a share for a few quarters now.

Some investors have been spoiled in the restaurant sector by either turnaround plays such as McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) and Ruby Tuesday (NYSE:RI) or faster growing concepts such as P.F. Chang's (NASDAQ:PFCB) and Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ:CAKE). Perhaps that's why Steak 'n Shake has been picked over, trading closer to its 52-week low than its 52-week high at a time when restaurant stocks have been in favor.

That's just the Steak 'n Shake way. Walk away if you want to, but hand-dipped growth is a work in progress that is usually worth waiting for.

Find yourself eyeing the Steak 'n Shake salads over the steakburgers and the milkshakes? Care to shed a few pounds this summer? Are low-carb diets really starting to fade in popularity? All this and more -- in the Fools Fighting Fat discussion board. Only on

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz needs to drive a dozen miles to get his steakburger -- but he'll do it gladly. He owns shares in Cheesecake Factory.