McDonald’s (MCD) Dollar Menu must be appealing in tight times, but the food and beverage exchange traded fund (ETF) does seem to be eating it up.

The world’s largest purveyor of fast food reported that same-store sales worldwide jumped 8.2% last month, on the strength of value-seeking consumers, reports Lauren Shepherd for the Associated Press. Even as consumers closed their wallets on recession anxiety and the credit markets seized up, the lure of the Golden Arches proved strong. In the United States, same-store sales rose 5.3%.

Another fast-food giant, KFC, which is owned by Yum! Brands (YUM), is infiltrating the Chinese market. Since 1987, KFC has opened more than 2,000 stores in the country, while continuing to add 300 yearly. The pace is unprecendented in China’s restaurant industry, reports Martin Adams for China International Business.

KFC in China differs from what we know of it in the United States, too. There, it caters to the more “upwardly mobile” middle-class types, perhaps making it the Chart House of China. 

Yum! Brands estimtes internally that in 10 years, KFC China’s contribution to corporate earnings will be around 40% of the global total.

Aside from the low prices, there’s another positive aspect for fast-food consumers in this economy: better workers. The rising labor pool means that employers can be more selective in hiring, reports Bruce Horovitz for the Chicago Sun-Times. This means that there’s a better chance that you’ll have the fries your ordered in your bag at the drive-through, instead of the salad meant for the person behind you.

PowerShares Dynamic Food & Beverage (PBJ) is down 24.3% year-to-date. Yum is 4.7%; McDonald’s is 5.5%.

Food, Beverage ETF

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.