That’s according to a Tuesday note to clients from Nomura analyst Mark Kalinowski, who named coffee chain Starbucks as his top restaurant stock pick for 2017.
“We believe that it is only a matter of time before Starbucks overtakes McDonald’s as the largest market cap restaurant stock, although likely not in 2017,” Kalinowski wrote. Starbucks is currently worth around $79 billion by market cap, while McDonald’s is worth about $98.47 billion.
In four to five years, Kalinowski predicts Starbucks will have achieved its goal of opening 37,000 stores worldwide. That exceeds the 36,615 McDonald’s locations by the end of September 2016. Eventually, Starbucks will be able to lay claim to 50,000 locations.
The Nomura analyst argues that Starbucks is likely to win over even more consumers in coming years because it is a brand focused around drinks, rather than food. That has kept Starbucks relatively insulated from its competitors such as McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, whose brands revolve around food.
Furthermore, Starbucks’ nascent “Reserve” brand, which focuses on higher-quality coffee for a higher price point, could one day generate $3 billion in revenue.
Shares of Starbucks fell by 1% in trading Tuesday.