NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sonic (SONC) has been on a sales hot streak for the better part of a year. In many respects, that has been directly the result of its struggling fast-food rival McDonald's (MCD).
TheStreet's Brian Sozzi and Sonic's chairman, president and CEO Clifford Hudson sat down to talk about the state of the burger industry. In April, Hudson celebrated his 20th year as CEO of Sonic, and has spent 30 years with the company.
He said New McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook has laid out a series of initiatives to rejuvenate declining sales at the Golden Arches' important U.S. business. One effort is to become what Easterbrook is calling a "modern, progressive, burger company."
That has McDonald's recommitting to making hot food, served very quickly. And the food it's serving up is starting to be more interesting on the eyes, including different variations of premium priced angus sirloin burgers and a new value box for families that includes sandwiches and chicken nuggets. Easterbrook has also sought to put more power into the hands of franchisees, encouraging them to be ambitious on the menu to better meet their client's flavor preferences.
A refocused McDonald's could pose a threat to hard-charging Sonic, but it has several measures in the works to stay on top. They include new healthier options in the chicken category and currently unnamed portable options, which are millennial friendly.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum of McDonald's is Shake Shack (SHAK). The red-hot better burger chain has seen its stock skyrocket since its IPO earlier in the year. Many on Wall Street believe Shake Shack could be the next big thing in the burger business, operating hundreds, if not thousands, of restaurants globally over the next ten years. But, Shake Shack will have a few challenges in achieving McDonald's like domination of the burger business, including finding new sites and connecting with lower income consumers.