McDonald’s It Ain’t as Burger King Posts Whopper Earnings; Chipotle Crosses GMO Off Its Menus; WalletHub Gives You the Lowdown on Where to Start a Biz

Royal earnings…

Image courtesy of joephotostudio/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of joephotostudio/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Looks like the Burger King-Tim Hortons merger paid off as the newly formed company, Restaurant Brand International Inc., the world’s third largest fast-food company, posted some very impressive earnings. Those earnings had a little help from some of those tasty chicken fries and the ever-popular Spicy BLT Whopper Sandwich. Pulling down $932 million in revenue and taking in 18 cents a share, the company beat analysts’ estimates by 3 cents. In fact, the home of the Whopper had its best quarter for growth in almost ten years, unlike fast-food chain rival, McDonald’s who can’t seem to do anything right these days to get its earnings on the uptown train. Burger King has 14,300 restaurants with about half just in North America. Sales at Burger King picked up 9.6% while Tim Hortons saw an 8.1% rise. The company is even giving out a 10 cent per share dividend. And who doesn’t like a dividend?  These earnings might not be sitting too well with the Department of the Treasury who is downright aghast at companies merging for tax inversion purposes. In case you don’t recall, that’s when U.S. companies merge with foreign companies in an effort to pay a reduced tax rate in the U.S. The Department of the Treasury has since been doing its super, very best to make those tax inversion mergers that much more difficult to complete.

I got 99 problem but GMO’s ain’t one…

Image courtesy of rajcreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of rajcreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In case you get a yen for some GMO – as in, genetically modified  – nourishment, you needn’t bother getting your fix on at Chipotle. They’ve dropped that ingredient from its cuisine. At least in the United States. It seems like only yesterday that Chipotle was serving up genetically modified soybean oil and corn. Actually it was yesterday and those ingredients were actually found in a number of items at the eatery including its tortilla chips and taco shells. Perhaps you recall two years ago when Chipotle brought the issue of GMO’s to our attention and graciously began listing the offending items on its menu that contained such ingredients. Chipotle became the first restaurant to do such a thing and, in its own special way, passively-aggressively began menu-shaming other fast-food establishments who didn’t own up to their genetically-modified flawed menus. However the scientific community has yet to jump on the anti-GMO bandwagon, or even find anything alarming or problematic with using GMO’s. Even though Chipotle recently missed earnings estimates, with some of that owing to a pork shortage for its beloved carnitas, the stock seems to be holding steady at around $640 per share.

Location location location…

Image courtesy of jennythip/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of jennythip/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you like the idea of being your own boss, the question of where to set up shop might just be the most important decision you make in starting your own business. Good thing the fine folks over at WalletHub already did the research for you so you can focus on the fun stuff, like zoning permits and plumbing problems. Using a bunch of useful criteria, from space affordability to how educated a locale’s labor force is, WalletHub compiled a list of “2015’s Best Cities to Start a Business.” Of the 150 cities listed, some of the more notable gems from the study found that the South is where it’s at with Shreveport, Louisiana taking the top spot. In fact Southern cities dominate most of the top ten spots. Figures as they know a thing or two about hospitality. Thinking of starting your own business in California? Well, don’t. Several cities in the Golden State fall at the wrong end of the list. As for the 150th best city to start your business? That distinguished honor belongs to Newark, New Jersey.

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Amazon is Be-Twitched; Let’s Hear it for the S&P 500; Oh, Burger King

Getting Twitch-y with it…

Image courtesy of bulldogza/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bulldogza/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Streaming video-game service Twitch just scored a premium deal with Amazon. The super e-tailer just picked up Twitch for close to a billion dollars. Not bad for a service that lets its users watch other people play games. Yes, it’s true. People like to watch other people play games. Whether they’re skilled gamers or total amateurs. The Twitch acquisition happens to be Amazon’s biggest purchase to date. But what was it about Twitch that made Amazon want to add it to its collection? Well, besides the fact that Twitch gets more than 50 million monthly users with about 7 million logging on each day, its users typically linger at the site for around two hours  – that’s two hours of major advertising potential that Amazon is all too eager to tap into. Incidentally, Google was rumored to be the one picking up Twitch. But wouldn’t you know  it….some pesky antitrust issues were getting in the way, presumably because Google already owns the competition – YouTube.

Gimme an S, gimme a P…

Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Photokanok/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The S&P 500, which so often toys with our fiscal emotions, just hit the 2000 mark today. Oddly enough, even though it took the index thirteen years to go from 1500 to 1600, since March of 2009, the index has rallied in a very bullish market, with companies listed on it gaining around 200%. Companies listed in the S&P inlcude Apple, Google and Facebook.  The index is seen as important in terms of the Wall Street psyche. Which is all well and good, since these days the index seems to be indicating that stocks – some anyway – are worth the investment.

Can’t tax this…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In the latest exodus of major companies, Florida-based Burger King is getting set to cross the Canadian border as talks are in the works for a merger between the burger powerhouse and Canadian-based coffee and donut chain Tim Hortons. Besides the fact that Canadians are just so gosh darn nice ( I know this to be true as some of my best friends are Canadian), the country’s corporate tax laws are equally lovely – and considerably lower. Wall Street seemed to also be pleased by the news of this merger as shares of both companies took a nice hike north  – no pun intended – well maybe a little. This move is sure to help Burger King stake out some territory in the increasingly competitive breakfast arena. Of course leave it to politicians who would like to spoil a perectly lucrative merger as tax inversions tend to infuriate them. After all, they don’t so much appreciate US companies defecting in favor of better tax rates. But then perhaps those politicians should focus their efforts on tax reforms instead of trying to prevent these inversions. Some factions in Canada aren’t too thrilled about the inversions either as Canadian comapnies get conveniently scooped up by its neighbors to the south. It should be duly noted that this merger will not dramatically decrease Burger King’s tax rate which is already at a 27 % tax rate, compared to the usual US corporate tax rate of 35%. But Canada’s corporate tax rate is a major bargain at 15%. And who doesn’t like a bargain, eh?