MCD), Starbucks has demonstrated a remarkable ability to innovate, which we don't typically expect from a restaurant operation. Unlike McDonald's, though, I can't say that Starbucks's stock is on the value menu -- not at a price-to-earnings ratio of 37, which is more than twice that of McDonald's P/E of 18. As of this writing the stock is up more than 7%, reaching a high of $73.52. Investors are rewarding the company for yet another solid earnings result, which included a 25% jump third-quarter profits. So, I don't want to overstate the importance of value here. Nor do I want to put too much emphasis on the P/E ratios, especially when Starbucks is performing so well. But with Starbucks now priced for perfection, pressure is on managements to keep the jolt going. That's no easy task.
Now, with the stock making new 52-week highs, investors believe that there's another 9% growth in fourth quarter comps on the way. That's not likely to happen. While I do believe that Starbucks will continue to benefit from strong store traffic, which should yield another double-digit revenue quarter, 5% comp growth is the more reasonable expectation. Will this support the stock's near-term performance? I don't believe it will. Also, don't assume that Dunkin' Brands ( DNKN), which has played second fiddle to Starbucks will continue to underperform. Along similar lines, I don't expect that McDonald's will remain satisfied with 1% comps. Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.