People must need coffee more than fries: Starbucks set to top McDonald’s as No. 1 chain

Starbuck's new upscale Reserve brand also could eventually generate $3 billion in sales, helped by pricier drinks.Starbucks is poised to overtake McDonald’s as the world’s most valuable restaurant chain, and the coffee giant could ultimately have a staggering 50,000 locations. That’s the prediction of Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski, who named Starbucks his top restaurant stock for 2017 in a report on Tuesday. He estimates that the company will increase its worldwide restaurant count by 8.4 percent this year and boost same-store sales by more than 5 percent. “It is only a matter of time before Starbucks overtakes McDonald’s as the largest market cap restaurant stock, although likely not in 2017,” said Kalinowski, an influential restaurant analyst. Though Starbucks has set a goal of having 37,000 cafes open by 2021, up from about 25,000 last year, Kalinowski sees potential for a much larger operation. “Well beyond 2021, we would not be surprised to see Starbucks exceed the 50,000-store level,” he said. More