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Cramer: One player McDonald's hasn't dominated

Under the leadership of CEO Steve Easterbrook, McDonald's has been taking share in the fast food industry. Jim Cramer has watched as one competitor stock after another has been hammered — just take one look at Jack in the Box.

But one burger chain doesn't seem to be feeling the pain at all — Sonic Corporation.

Despite the fact that Sonic sells many of the same core items as McDonald's, Sonic managed to report an extremely impressive quarter last week.

"In an industry where virtually every player seems like a victim of McDonald's, we saw no signs of victimization in Sonic's numbers," the "Mad Money" host said.

How the heck could Sonic be doing so well at a time when other competitors are being beaten by the golden arches?





A McDonald's in Sarasota, Florida
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
A McDonald's in Sarasota, Florida

Cramer boiled it down to three reasons: first, its specific operation niche; second, its compelling drive-in concept; and third, its promotions.

Sonic has some 3,500 drive-in style restaurants across the United States, and, unlike many other fast casual chains, it operates in a very specific niche. In an environment that is increasingly health conscious, Sonic is synonymous with indulgence.

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The company has worked to create a quality menu with offerings at affordable prices that appeal to value conscious consumers, even if it isn't healthy.

Sonic has also been very smart and selective about the way it uses promotions. In its most recent conference call, CEO Cliff Hudson talked about the need for a more long-term approach to its promotional strategy, rather than offering quick short-term deals to drive traffic. So, instead of cutting prices, he is focused on the customer's perception of value.

"Put it all together and you've got a brand that can go toe-to-toe with Steve Easterbrook's McDonald's, which is why I think Sonic is still worth owning," Cramer said.

When Cramer considered the company's long-term growth rate of nearly 18 percent, the price-to-earnings multiple of 22 actually seemed inexpensive.

"This is a well-run company, and I bet its stock continues to run," Cramer said.

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