Based on the aggregated intelligence of 125,000-plus investors participating in Motley Fool CAPS, the Fool's free investing community, restaurant equipment maker Middleby (NASDAQ:MIDD) has earned a coveted five-star ranking. Our data has shown that five-star stocks outperform the market by a significant margin; conversely, one-star stocks woefully lag the market average.

With that in mind, let's take a closer look at Middleby's business, and see what CAPS investors are saying about the stock right now.

Middleby facts

Headquarters (founded)

Elgin, Illinois (1888)

Market Cap

$491.6 million

Industry

Industrial machinery

TTM Revenue

$646.4 million

Management

Chairman/CEO Selim Bassoul
CFO Timothy Fitzgerald

Return on Capital (average, last three years)

24%

Competitors

FMC Technologies (NYSE:FTI)
Manitowoc (NYSE:MTW)

CAPS members bullish on MIDD also bullish on:

Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD)
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)

CAPS members bearish on MIDD also bearish on:

General Motors (NYSE:GM)
Citigroup (NYSE:C)

Sources: Capital IQ (a division of Standard & Poor's), and Motley Fool CAPS. TTM = trailing 12 months.

Over on CAPS, 2,815 of the 2,906 members who have rated Middleby -- or 97% -- believe the stock will outperform the S&P 500 going forward. These bulls include blakeseely and dcbbrinks.

In October, blakeseely noted that Middleby "took on a ton of extra debt to make the TurboChef (NASDAQ:OVEN) purchase, and I think it's arguable that it was not a proper time to take on that much debt. On the other hand, it's easy to argue that it was a smart move by management-taking on the debt to buy [TurboChef] at a really good price."

In a pitch from earlier this month, dcbbrinks followed that line of thinking, writing:

Americans will continue to eat out and management will do an excellent job of integrating the latest acquisitions into the business cost effectively in the long term. FCF continues to grow 20% over the past 4 years and will continue with the latest acquistions. Although the debt level is high because of the recent acquisitions management has already started to pay down the long term debt balance based on 9/30 numbers.

What do you think about Middleby, or any other stock for that matter? Make your voice heard on Motley Fool CAPS today. More than 125,000 investors are waiting to hear what you have to say. CAPS is 100% free, so simply click here to get started.

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Fool contributor Brian Pacampara owns no position in any of the companies mentioned. Middleby and Buffalo Wild Wings are Motley Fool Hidden Gems picks. Apple is a Stock Advisor selection. The Fool owns shares of Buffalo Wild Wings. The Fool's disclosure policy always gets a perfect score.