Micky D's (MCD)  finally served up something palatable: strong sales. It trounced Wall Street expectations, leaving investors in most sit-down eateries with that "duuuh" look on their face. 

Third quarter revenue sank 10.4% year-over-year but topped consensus estimates, while earnings of $1.76 per share came up a penny short of analysts' expectations.

So where's the blowout? McDonald's may have seen sales fall, but operating income soared 44% in the quarter. Additionally, comparable-store sales results remain strong, with 6% growth vs. estimates calling for 4.5%. Comp-store sales in the U.S., international and high-growth markets each exceeded expectations as well.

Ronald McDonald.
Ronald McDonald.

In a nutshell, McDonald's is delivering and its stock is up 43% over the last 12 months as a result. But what companies are coming at the expense of McDonald's resurgence?

Many would immediately think of other fast-food stocks, like Wendy's (WEN)  (which also owns an 18.5% stake in Arby's) and Restaurant Brands International (QSR) , which owns brands like Burger King, Tim Hortons and as of late-March, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen.

But ironically, both of these companies are doing well. Wendy's stock is up 39% over the past 12 months, while Restaurant Brands International stock is up almost 42%. Yum Brands (YUM) , which owns brands like Taco Bell and KFC,hasn't had the easiest time. But since it spun off Yum China (YUMC) , things have been going pretty well for them, too.

So who are the laggards? Starbucks (SBUX) hasn't had a very easy time, struggling to generate comp-store sales growth in the U.S. thanks in part to the debacle surrounding its Mobile Order & Pay platform. But shares are only flat over the past year. Domino's Pizza (DPZ) has also stumbled, but not fallen. Shares are up about 10% over the past year, but are down almost 20% from the highs.

Don't even get us started on Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) , which may be suffering more from self-inflicted wounds than anything else.

But maybe it's not the fast-food for fast-casual food sectors that are coming under pressure from McDonald's. After all, if Burger King and Wendy's are still doing OK; it must be another industry under pressure. Look no further than sit-in dining.

Admittedly, some companies -- like Cracker Barrel (CBRL) , Denny's (DENN) and Darden Restaurants (DRI) -- have done well. But a vast majority have really struggled.

Over the past year, Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) is down 14%, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD) is down 24% and Ruby Tuesday (RT) , despite being bought out, is still down 23%. Fogo de Chao (FOGO) and Noodles (NDLS) are down 3.5% and 4.3% respectively. Although over the last two years they are down 28% and 67%, respectively.

DineEquity (DIN) , which owns brands like Applebee's and IHOP, is down 41%, while Brinker International (EAT) , which owns brands like Chili's and Maggiano's, is down 40%. On the plus side, if we can call it that, Bloomin' Brands (BLMN) , with brands like Outback, Fleming's and Carrabba's, is up 1%.

Zoe's Kitchen (ZOES) is down 44%.

So what's the pitch? McDonald's isn't crushing its peers. In fact, the fast-food industry is pressuring (but not crushing) fast-casual options like Domino's and Starbucks, but is absolutely eating the lunch of sit-down restaurants. The question is, how long will that trend continue, as consumer appear fine with opting for more convenient options over timely sit-down alternatives.

McDonald's international offerings are...interesting...to say the least:

Starbucks is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells SBUX? Learn more now.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author had no positions in the stocks mentioned.

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