Editor's note: Jim Cramer told viewers of his "Mad Money" TV show on Tuesday that Intuitive Surgical (ISRG) and Potash (POT) are two ugly ducklings set to become beautiful swans. Here's another stock with those same characteristics.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- It has been a bizarre run for McDonald's ( MCD) over the past couple of years. Starting in 2011, the stock was trading in the low $80 range. Then near the end of that summer, investors panicked, gold skyrocketed along with volatility and all hell broke loose. It was the herd mentality at its finest. But amid the chaos, the Golden Arches were not only holding up, but the stock was killing it, running all the way to $100 a share. Traders and investors had apparently come to the collective agreement (read: herd mentality), that no matter what happened going forward, McDonald's would always be there -- and obviously, many other companies they irrationally left for dead would be too. But that's not all. After a few months into 2012, the stock dropped all the way back to the low $80s because now all of a sudden, McDonald's global sales were down and the company could seemingly no longer compete. This story played out for the rest of 2012, marked by a 52-week low of $83.31 on Nov. 16. BKW), Wendy's ( WEN) and Yum! Brands' ( YUM) KFC and Taco Bell. The explosive growth of healthy, quick eateries such as Panera Bread Company ( PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican Grill ( CMG) didn't help matters. Along with higher food costs, this contributed to McDonald's margins shrinking faster than management could respond.
Clearly, McDonald's is responding to the wishes of calorie-counting diners. The company has also made a slight alteration to its ever-famous Breakfast Menu -- more than just egg whites, too. The company will now begin serving breakfast items at midnight, at which time they can be ordered in combination with lunchtime favorites, such as Big Macs and double cheeseburgers. Although the company's October 2012 same-store sales growth was negative -- the first time in nearly a decade -- the new menu changes seem to be providing a boost, especially in North America. The company posted same store sales growth of 1.9% in the region for the month of May, beating analysts' expectations of 1.4%. Across the globe, the company posted sales growth of 2.6%, the highest figure in 2013.
Company executives aren't remaining stuck in the mud. Although they're sticking with their bread and butter -- burgers and fries -- they're also expanding the menu options to satisfy the more health-conscious customer. Mickey D's remains king of fast-food until otherwise noted. At the time of publication, Kenwell held shares of MCD and PNRA. -- Written by Bret Kenwell in Petoskey, Mich.. Follow @traderboy23 This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.