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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RankChain2018 U.S. Sales ($000,000)YOY Sales Change2018 U.S. UnitsYOY Unit ChangeSegmentMenu Category
1McDonald's$38,52413,914Quick ServiceBurger
2Starbucks$19,660*14,606Quick ServiceCoffee Cafe
3Subway$10,41024,798Quick ServiceSandwich
4Taco Bell$10,3606,588Quick ServiceMexican
5Chick-fil-A$10,180*2,370Quick ServiceChicken
6Burger King$9,9397,330Quick ServiceBurger
7Wendy's$9,4055,810Quick ServiceBurger
8Dunkin'$8,7869,419Quick ServiceCoffee Cafe
9Domino's$6,5915,876Quick ServicePizza
10Panera Bread$5,760*2,074Fast CasualBakery Cafe
11Pizza Hut$5,5267,482Quick ServicePizza
12Chipotle Mexican Grill$4,8052,452Fast CasualMexican
13Sonic Drive-In$4,4473,606Quick ServiceBurger
14KFC$4,4334,074Quick ServiceChicken
15Applebee's$4,2111,693Casual DiningVaried Menu
16Olive Garden$4,082855Casual DiningItalian/Pizza
17Arby's$3,8863,329Quick ServiceSandwich
18Little Caesars$3,820*4,350Quick ServicePizza
19Buffalo Wild Wings$3,7951,208Casual DiningSports Bar
20Dairy Queen$3,6544,406Quick ServiceFrozen Desserts
21Panda Express$3,5232,105Fast CasualAsian/Noodle
22Chili's Grill & Bar$3,500*1,251Casual DiningVaried Menu
23Jack in the Box$3,4662,237Quick ServiceBurger
24IHOP$3,2331,705MidscaleFamily Style
25Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen$3,2212,347Quick ServiceChicken
26Texas Roadhouse$2,720*533Casual DiningSteak
27Papa John's$2,7123,199Quick ServicePizza
28Denny's$2,6611,578MidscaleFamily Style
29Outback Steakhouse$2,611733Casual DiningSteak
30Cracker Barrel$2,439655MidscaleFamily Style
31Whataburger$2,416825Quick ServiceBurger
32Red Lobster$2,405*678Casual DiningSeafood
33Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches$2,168*2,840Fast CasualSandwich
34The Cheesecake Factory$2,127201Casual DiningVaried Menu
35Hardee's$2,120*1,875Quick ServiceBurger
36Zaxby's$1,849*906Fast CasualChicken
37LongHorn Steakhouse$1,754520Casual DiningSteak
38Golden Corral$1,732489Quick ServiceFamily Casual
39Five Guys Burgers and Fries$1,6151,358Fast CasualBurger
40Culver's$1,576686Quick ServiceBurger
41Red Robin Gourmet Burgers and Brews$1,506555Casual DiningVaried Menu
42Carl's Jr.$1,415*1,148Quick ServiceBurger
43Waffle House$1,300*1,936MidscaleFamily Style
44Bojangles'$1,296756Quick ServiceChicken
45Wingstop$1,2071,124Fast CasualChicken
46Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers$1,183400Fast CasualChicken
47TGI Fridays$1,183*424Casual DiningVaried Menu
48Jersey Mike's Subs$1,1481,494Fast CasualSandwich
49BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse$1,116202Casual DiningVaried Menu
50Steak 'n Shake$1,034*594Quick ServiceBurger
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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