Top 500 CHAINS

A Restaurant Business and Technomic Special Report

Top 500 CHAINS

The restaurant space grew even more crowded in 2018, with Top 500 unit growth slowing for the fifth consecutive year. While they again failed to outpace smaller brands and independents, chains have established a modest sales growth trend. After a dip below 3% growth in 2017, the Top 500 rebounded slightly in 2018 with a 3.3% sales gain to $317.7 billion. Here, we take a close look at Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, providing a peek at the data as well as insights into the shifts and trends impacting the industry.

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Top 250: The Ranking

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RankChain2016 U.S. Sales ($000)YOY Sales Change2016 U.S. UnitsYOY Unit ChangeSegmentMenu Category
1McDonald's$36,389,00014,155Quick ServiceBurger
2Starbucks$14,673,400*13,172Quick ServiceCoffee Cafe
3Subway$11,300,00026,744Quick ServiceSandwich
4Burger King$9,430,100*7,161Quick ServiceBurger
5Taco Bell$9,353,7726,278Quick ServiceMexican
6Wendy's$8,963,600*5,739Quick ServiceBurger
7Dunkin' Donuts$8,226,1008,828Quick ServiceCoffee Cafe
8Chick-fil-A$6,743,000*2,062Quick ServiceChicken
9Pizza Hut$5,751,3817,689Quick ServicePizza
10Domino's$5,479,000*5,371Quick ServicePizza
11Panera Bread/Saint Louis Bread Co.$5,132,0002,017Fast CasualBakery Cafe
12Sonic Drive-In$4,518,0983,557Quick ServiceBurger
13KFC$4,483,3154,167Quick ServiceChicken
14Applebee's$4,418,6001,857Casual DiningVaried Menu
15Olive Garden$3,865,000840Casual DiningItalian/Pizza
16Chipotle Mexican Grill$3,822,200*2,198Fast CasualMexican
17Little Caesars$3,800,000*4,388Quick ServicePizza
18Buffalo Wild Wings$3,785,000*1,187Casual DiningSports Bar
19Arby's$3,662,4903,237Quick ServiceSandwich
20Chili's Grill & Bar$3,635,000*1,259Casual DiningVaried Menu
21Dairy Queen/Orange Julius$3,621,0694,517Quick ServiceFrozen Desserts
22Jack in the Box$3,461,5402,255Quick ServiceBurger
23IHOP$3,222,4001,631Family DiningFamily Style
24Papa John's$2,931,550*3,331Quick ServicePizza
25Panda Express$2,903,0411,893Fast CasualAsian/Noodle
26Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen$2,870,000*2,067Quick ServiceChicken
27Denny's$2,585,000*1,610Family DiningFamily Style
28Outback Steakhouse$2,514,000755Casual DiningSteak
29Red Lobster$2,380,000*677Casual DiningSeafood
30Texas Roadhouse$2,336,200*499Casual DiningSteak
31Cracker Barrel Old Country Store$2,323,200640Family DiningFamily Style
32Hardee's$2,241,2411,848Quick ServiceBurger
33Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches$2,220,000*2,620Fast CasualSandwich
34Whataburger$2,181,348806Quick ServiceBurger
35The Cheesecake Factory$2,078,083194Casual DiningVaried Menu
36Zaxby's$1,710,600*825Fast CasualChicken
37Golden Corral$1,695,641482Quick ServiceFamily Casual
38LongHorn Steakhouse$1,641,000500Casual DiningSteak
39Carl's Jr.$1,519,7571,163Quick ServiceBurger
40Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews$1,476,000*533Casual DiningVaried Menu
41Five Guys Burgers and Fries$1,436,9221,284Fast CasualBurger
42TGI Fridays$1,367,000*464Casual DiningVaried Menu
43Culver's$1,301,378605Quick ServiceBurger
44Waffle House$1,246,900*1,882Family DiningFamily Style
45Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'N Biscuits$1,229,478*713Quick ServiceChicken
46Ruby Tuesday$1,116,700*673Casual DiningVaried Menu
47Steak 'n Shake$1,075,000*568Quick ServiceBurger
48BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse$993,052189Casual DiningVaried Menu
49Bob Evans$951,200527Family DiningFamily Style
50Wingstop$943,258922Fast CasualChicken
Source: Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report; *Technomic estimate
What’s driving—and deterring—growth+ Top Growth Brands
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Insights from the top 500



“Location growth overall for the Top 500 slowed for five consecutive years. It will stay positive but continue to decelerate. There’s nowhere to go and lots of saturation, and everyone is feeling traffic struggles. Why open new units when operators can focus on improving existing ones?”KEVIN SCHIMPF, MANAGER OF INDUSTRY INSIGHTS, TECHNOMIC


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