It’s easier for smaller restaurant concepts to achieve high year-over-year growth percentages than it is for larger concepts. Open five restaurants, and, bingo, you’ve grown sales by 50%. So it’s no surprise that when we look at the Top 500 chains with the largest sales increases, we see many regional and even local concepts among the leaders.
To paint a broader picture, we took a different tack. We found the fastest-growing chains among the Top 250, parsed by menu category, to get a view of the biggest brands. And then we did the same for the chains ranked 251 to 500—those smaller regional players. For perspective, all of the chains among the Top 250 had 2015 U.S. systemwide sales of $120 million or more; the sales threshold for the 251-to-500 set was $44 million.
Read on for the fastest-growing large and small chain in each limited-service and full-service menu category.