The current turmoil plaguing restaurant chains has pundits pinning falling sales and traffic on everything from politics to independents snatching market share.
As evidence, distributors are cautiously optimistic about the trending performance of indies. In its most recent earnings call, Performance Food Group’s CEO said its independent growth has been steady, while chains were softening. “It’s difficult to determine how independent restaurants are performing, but the way we look at it, and the way it feels to us, they are performing better today than the chains are performing,” he said.
US Foods’ execs told analysts in August they’re targeting independents, after its Q2 sales (reported in August) to these spots remained strong.
Counter to that snapshot are the high-profile exits of some top-grossing independents in the past year—several of which were booted after decades at the top by landlords looking to free up space for trendier concepts. Even the indies holding strong on our current Top 100 ranking are feeling battered by all things labor, showing that no operator—independent or chain—can rest on their laurels in today’s tumultuous times.
Here are four Top 100 Independents that won't be on the list next year.