The champion of our fast-food fried chicken taste-test has had a tumultuous few years financially. They went public in 2003 at $21 a share, a number that early investors rued once the stock bottomed out at $3.50 in the winter of their discontent (2008). This was shortly after the death of the company's founder, whose lavish lifestyle reportedly included decking the walls of his house in half a million Christmas lights (while leaving coal in the stockings of his shareholders). Thankfully for those investors, a new CEO came on board and turned things around. 110% is nothing to sneeze at.
Despite the stock market being a whirlpool of variables that can often send your life savings to a watery grave, each of these food stocks would've been a sturdy life raft to cling to through the recession. In hindsight, it's easy to kick yourself for not predicting Chipotle would become a world-dominating burrito force, but, hey, there's always the next Chipotle.
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He's pretty new to this whole stock market thing but has a Google Alert set up for Huy Fong IPO, so his future is in good hands. Follow him to unbalanced checkbooks at @Dannosphere.