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    The QSR 50

  • These are the 50 top limited-service restaurant brands in the U.S.

    McDonald's / Meagan Suzuki
    McDonald's managed to stabilize its business after years of disappointing results.


    Jason’s Deli

    Long heralded for its health halo and strong commitment to core values, Jason’s Deli is hoping to beef up its techie side. This year it teamed up with both Tapingo and DoorDash to bring on-demand delivery to its college campus units and other markets, beginning with Texas.


    Moe’s Southwest Grill

    Moe’s journey up the QSR 50 slowed a bit this year, but the brand still grew by 57 net stores. In May, parent company FOCUS Brands announced it would open the first cobranded Moe’s and Scholtzsky’s Deli unit in Wyoming.


    Tim Hortons

    While this Canadian-born coffee shop that merged with Burger King in 2014 isn’t going to dethrone Starbucks anytime soon, it did manage to add nearly $70 million in system-wide sales. Plus, like other java purveyors, Tim Hortons is beefing up its presence in other dayparts, specifically through a new line of lunch sandwiches.


    Boston Market

    Despite its emphasis on healthful options and endorsements from the likes of actor Kate Walsh and WNBA star Lisa Leslie, Boston Market continues to backslide. Consumers are demanding more wholesome options, and the brand is trying to provide with programs like its 550 Calories or Less Menu, but it can’t seem to bridge the disconnect.


    In-N-Out Burger

    Like the quintessential West Coast surfer, this California brand is going with the flow but still catching big waves. Sure, it slipped a few spaces in the QSR 50 based on sales projections, but AUVs and system-wide sales are strong, and the company’s loyal fan base is as crazed about its Double Double Animal Style as ever. That’s not bad for a regional brand with just over 300 locations.



    The 31-flavors originator is still a bit frozen, but sales are up incrementally and the brand grew by 19 units. Taking a page from the growing ranks of premium cookie ice cream sandwiches, Baskin-Robbins rolled out its own Warm Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches and Sundaes in March.


    McAlister’s Deli

    McAlister’s yo-yoed itself back into the top 50 after previously slipping to No. 54. The spud-and-sandwich-centric concept expanded its menu offerings with new entrées like Chicago Style Sausage Pasta and Big Bold Sandwiches including a California Turkey Reuben.


    Captain D’s

    Pushing its AUV past the $1 million mark, Captain D’s hit its 18th consecutive quarter of same-store sales growth earlier this year. The brand is also hoping to make a splash by applying the Nashville Hot style to fish.


    Auntie Anne’s

    The world’s largest soft pretzel franchise got back into the game of developing new pretzel products after taking a couple of years off. New in 2015 was the Cheddar Stuffed Pretzel Nugget LTO, which offered melted cheese in a bite-sized pretzel. Auntie Anne’s also partnered with peer quick-service chains on new products; last September, it joined with Schlotzsky’s to develop that concept’s Pretzel Dippers, which were sandwiches served on pretzel rolls along with dipping sauces. And earlier this year Auntie Anne’s lent its signature item to Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s for their Pretzel Breakfast Sandwich.


    Jamba Juice

    For the second year in a row, Jamba Juice slipped again and might soon find itself off of the list entirely. There’s a certain disconnect to the juice chain’s plight: Consumers are drinking healthy beverages more than ever before, and yet AUVs are down more than $40,000. Still, the company is hoping features like order-ahead apps and express units like the one recently opened in a Key West resort could extend its reach and its sales.