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Starbucks is now No. 3 U.S. restaurant chain

/ Source: news services

Though some of its most ardent fans might not even consider it one, Starbucks has moved ahead of Burger King and Wendy's to become the third-largest U.S. chain restaurant by domestic sales, an industry analyst says.

McDonald's and Subway are first and second respectively. The research firm Technomic released the list of the top 500 chains by total 2010 U.S. sales, and the results were first reported by USA Today.

Seattle-based Starbucks Starbucks quarterly earnings failed to impress as Japan's earthquake and the bankruptcy of cafe partner Borders Group Inc weighed on profit.

Shares in the world's largest coffee chain slid 1.9 percent after hours despite a stronger-than-expected 7 percent jump in sales at established U.S. stores.

Net income for the company's fiscal second quarter, ended April 3, rose to $261.6 million, or 34 cents per share, from $217.3 million, or 28 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were looking for a profit of 34 cents for the latest quarter, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Starbucks forecast earnings of $1.46 to $1.48 a share in fiscal 2011, up from $1.44 to $1.47 previously but below the $1.50 analysts had expected on average.

The company looks to the United States for 70 percent of overall revenue, money that funds expansion in key growth markets such as China.