NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It's IPO time again, and there's more excitement around some of the new public offerings than I've seen in years.Admittedly, the Facebook (FB - Get Report) IPO, the granddaddy of them all, did not thrill me, and my opinion has not changed now that it has been public for two months.
- Chick-Fil-A. With more than 1,600 stores in 39 states, Chick-Fil-A has done wonders with chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. It is estimated that the company had $4.1 billion in revenue for 2011. I didn't know this chain until my college days in the late 1980's, but now it is a frequent destination. It probably has the best milkshakes of any fast food chain.
The company also marches to its own drummer and is not open on Sundays, which I greatly admire. I admit sitting at the drive through a couple of times on Sundays wondering why no one was taking my order. Owned by the Cathy family, I'd be surprised if the company ever went public, but I can dream.
- Trader Joes. A unique specialty grocery store chain, Trader Joes has more than 360 stores in 35 states and Washington D.C., with a large concentration in California, where the company was founded and is headquartered. It sells a wide variety of food items, including fresh fruit, meat, frozen foods, prepared foods and baked goods -- many with a healthy twist.
In some states, stores sell wine and beer, and the company has become well-known for selling Charles Shaw wines, also known as "Two buck Chuck." The closest store to us is about 20 miles away, but it is a favorite in my household. The company is currently owned by the family of one of the founders of the Aldi grocery-store chain.
- In N Out Burger. A California fast-food staple founded in 1948, this is a must-stop destination for me when I'm on the left coast. The menu is pretty much limited to burgers and fries, but everything is fresh, and it's always good. There are 278 locations in five states -- California (210), Arizona (28), Nevada (16), Texas (15) and Utah (9).
I've frequented the Pasadena location while attending the Value Investing Congress several times and been amazed at the length of drive-through lines -- and just how long Californians will wait for a burger and fries. This chain would play out very well in the East, but I don't believe that there are any plans for an eastward expansion.
I'm very curious as to the company's total revenue and what the margins look like, but I imagine they'd both be solid. I hope to find out. Someday.