Morgan Stanley says this 'underappreciated' restaurant brand is about to explode

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The third-largest fast-food chain in the world is blowing up — and no one is paying attention.

A recent Morgan Stanley report called the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons, Restaurant Brands International, an "underappreciated story" that most people are misunderstanding.

The company's success goes beyond what is on the menu at both chains — though that certainly helps.

Burger King's US sales may make headlines the most frequently, but they only represent one-third of the business.

Here are four key strategies that are driving Restaurant Brands International's success.

1. Give Tim Hortons Burger King's playbook

"To grow our presence globally with Tim's, we'll continue to work with our existing partners as well as new partners to expand all around the world, similar to how we've scaled our Burger King brand over the last few years," CEO Daniel Schwartz said in the company's third-quarter earnings call in October.

Burger King's $11 billion acquisition of Tim Hortons has not resulted in any menu crossovers. Instead, it has provided the chance to share strategies between the brands, to the benefit of Tim Hortons, which has struggled with international expansion in the past.

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Morgan Stanley says this 'underappreciated' restaurant brand is about to explode
McDonald's Japan serves rice cheese balls! A crispy outside with a warm, gooey inside -- YUM.
McDonald's India features the McAloo wrap. Aloo is a type of potato curry and McDonald's put its own spin on it by wrapping a flour tortilla around an aloo patty garnished with lettuce, onions, vegetables, and sauce.
Pizza Hut Russia serves an Oktoberfest seasonal pizza with Bavarian sausage, pepperoni, vegetables, sauce, and mustard. You like?
At Burger King Argentina you can order a Churrasquito. It's grilled over hot coals and served with cheese, lettuce, tomato, and mayo.
At select Wendy's locations in Australia, you can order a Brekky dog -- a breakfast style hot dog. GOOD MORNING to that!
Taco Bell Japan serves a shrimp and avocado burrito. This exclusive item has only been on the menu since April 2015!
Known as 'Maccas' in New Zealand, McDonald's menu there includes 3 savory pies. This one is the Mince 'N' Cheese pie stuffed with ground beef and cheese. 
At Pizza Hut in Saudi Arabia you can order a seafood pizza, including shrimp, calamari, crab, and vegetables on a thin crust.
McDonald's serves porridge in Thailand! 
You can order chili cheese nuggets from Burger King in Hungary. Bits of jalapeño peppers and a spicy kick.
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2. Go international

Both Burger King and Tim Hortons are on major expansion sprees.

In late 2015, Tim Hortons announced plans to open more than 150 Tim Hortons locations in the Cincinnati area in the next decade, as part of its global expansion plan. Burger King is currently planning hundreds of new locations in countries including France, India, the Ivory Coast, and Morocco.

3. Trust franchisees

Both brands' international expansion plans are through partnerships with franchisees. Almost 100% of Burger King locations are owned by franchisees, a model that Tim Hortons is planning to follow.

4. Give customers the spice they crave

Burger King adopted a strategy two years ago to launch fewer, more impactful products, as opposed to continually cycling through limited-time offerings.

Two of these super successful introductions in 2015 were Fiery Chicken Fries and the Extra Long Jalapeno Cheeseburger, which the company reported helped drive sales growth. By focusing on what the company knows customers want, Restaurant Brands International has managed to cut costs and introduce offerings that get results.

RELATED: Secret fast food menu items

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Morgan Stanley says this 'underappreciated' restaurant brand is about to explode
"Mc10:35" from McDonald's 
"Apple Pie McFlurry" from McDonald's

“Animal Style” Burger/Fries from In-N-Out

Starbucks' "Butterbeer Frappuccino"

Burger King's "Rodeo Burger"

A triple-layered drink from Starbucks

McDonald's' "McGangBang Sandwich"
Starbucks' "Nutella Frappuccino"
Chipotle's "Quesarito"
"Green Tea and Cotton Candy Frappés" from Starbucks
Dairy Queen's "Arctic Rush Float"
“Grand Slam" from Wendy's
"Neapolitan Milkshake" from McDonald's

"Thin Mint Frappuccino" from Starbucks

Subway's "Pizza Sub"
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