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Top Restaurant Chains Report Significant Growth

Written by Ken Gaebler
Published: 3/23/2012

In 2011, the top 500 restaurant chains doubled previous year growth figures as limited-service restaurants take a leadership role.

According to a recent report by foodservice researcher, Technomic, the top 500 restaurant chains reported 3.4% annual growth in 2011 -- nearly double the 1.8% growth rate reported in 2010. In terms of sales volume, nationwide sales for the top 500 chains totaled $242 billion in 2011, up more than $8 billion from the previous year's sales figures.

Restaurant Franchise Growth Trends

"It is certainly encouraging to see overall industry growth rates nearly double in one year," said Ron Paul, President of Technomic. "On a chain-by-chain basis, however, performance varied substantially, reflecting the fact that many organizations are still redefining their value propositions for today's economy and tackling various industry challenges."

Limited-service restaurants (e.g. Starbucks, Subway, Chipotle) saw the most aggressive growth in 2011 at 3.7%, significantly outpacing the 2.8% growth rate of their full-service counterparts. McDonalds continues to be the largest limited-service chain in the U.S., and is followed by Subway, Starbucks, Wendy's and Burger King.

The top 10 fastest growing restaurant chains (over $200 million) accounted for $8.2 billion of industry revenue and include:


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