Yesterday, I took a little trip to the neighborhood McDonald's (NYSE:MCD) for a quick lunch. Today I noticed a colleague on his way back from Mickey D's with the telltale white sack. Idle chitchat? Perhaps, but from millions of similar little trips are trends derived.

Today, McDonald's reported same-store sales that outstripped expectations, especially in the U.S. market, which posted a 7.2% gain over last year. The Street had been hoping for as little as 4.5%. Overall, systemwide sales were up 4.6%.

Europe was the laggard; sales slipped nearly 1% across the pond. Management blamed the Germans and some lousy weather for raining on the parade, and investors would be wise to watch to make sure this doesn't become a habit.

Despite the well-reported cultural and epicurean disconnect between us and our trans-Atlantic friends, they eat plenty of Quarter Pounders (make mine a royale with cheese). McDonald's European revenues are roughly equal to those from the U.S., meaning an uptick over there would be mighty helpful to the top line. Still, if shareholders had to pick a place to shine and a place to suffer, they would say, "To heck with Europe." U.S. sales are much more savory, since the operating margin is 14% better back home.

At a time when we're getting accustomed to dim sales outlooks -- those from Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) come to mind -- McDonald's is providing some robust follow-up to its recent turnaround. The last two months' U.S. comps gains more than double the recent pace of rival YUM! Brands (NYSE:YUM), though that firm's hard-charging foreign operations are working magic of their own. Burger-hawking Wendy's (NYSE:WEN) could manage only a 2.8% uptick in August sales.

Trading at a P/E a bit richer than its peers, McDonald's stock may no longer be a no-brainer; its tasty dividend and continued success should be on any Fool's list of blue chips to savor.

For more Foolish food ideas:

  • Matt Richey says Lone Star Steakhouse (NASDAQ:STAR) is worth a nibble.
  • Steak 'n' Shake (NYSE:SNS), who could say no to that?
  • See how McDonald's is faring with the diet crowd.

Seth Jayson can eat like nobody's business, but he has no position in any company mentioned. View his Fool profile here.