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    The Contenders

  • Brands No. 51-65 are fast-rising quick-service and fast-casual companies that just missed the QSR 50.


    Still working toward recovery after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2010 and being bought out by Luby’s the following July, the hamburger joint brought in $290 million in U.S. sales last year. Although it saw a loss of almost 50 units in 2010, the company is still rolling out new products, like wild boar burgers—part of the Fudds Exotics line—and Fudds Favorites, a line of premium burgers like the Bacon Cheddar and the Three Cheese.

    60/Firehouse Subs

    Hoping to reach the 2,000-store mark by 2020, Firehouse signed development agreements in March to open 429 new stores across the country over the next several years. Targeted markets include Iowa, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Texas. The Jacksonville, Florida–based sub brand has also been busy launching a national fundraising campaign, which kicked off in May, to raise money for first responders and tornado survivors who suffered from the Southeast storms this past spring.

    61/Jamba Juice 

    Growth is top priority for the smoothie brand, with the January opening of its first South Korean store and plans to develop 50–70 locations before the year is up. The company’s 392 franchised units saw a 4.1 percent sales increase in Q1 over the previous year, and in May, Jamba signed a 10-year, 80-store development agreement in Canada. Fresh products have been rolling out, including its Whirl’ns line of frozen yogurt, probiotic yogurt smoothies, and Fruit Refresher beverages made with coconut water.

    62/Corner Bakery CafÉ

    Breaking into the New Jersey market last November (with plans to open an additional 35 stores in the Northeast over the next eight years) and promising to more than double its presence in the Lone Star State within four years, Corner Bakery Café is on a roll as it prepares to turn 20 this November. The line of cafés ended the year with U.S. systemwide sales of $247 million and celebrated the new year with the launch of its “100 under 600” program, featuring 100 sandwich, panini, salad, and soup combos with less than 600 calories.


    With a focus on making the brand “Lotz Better,” Schlotzsky’s launched a nationwide initiative to re-image more than 350 stores by the end of 2011. Keeping its eye on bright colors, modern furniture, and a circle theme—a tribute to the chain’s toasted round sandwiches—the prototype also unleashed a new service model in which crewmembers deliver food to tables. Schlotzsky’s plans to have 600–700 stores by 2015 and is actively developing in untapped markets like Atlanta, Denver, and Phoenix.


    Fazoli’s ventured into an unfamiliar frontier last October, opening its first retail location in a St. Louis Walmart. The company also introduced a new service style and design, featuring bold colors, fun graphics, and meals served tableside, in Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Illinois. More than 60 of the chain’s 232 units have undergone the makeover, and 77 additional units are scheduled to be remodeled this year.


    The bagel shop is a new addition to the Contenders list and another company under new ownership this year. It was acquired by Le Duff America in March, and the Vermont-based brand reported U.S. sales of more than $203 million in 2010. In May, the 300-unit chain introduced its first-ever “Skinny Bagel”—designed for calorie-conscious diners—and, in 2010, renovated 45 bakeries, with plans to complete another 40 bakeries before the end of 2011.


    QSR 50 Rank Company/Chain Name Segment 2010 U.S. Systemwide Sales (millions) 2010 U.S. Average Sales per Unit (thousands) Number of Franchised Units in 2010 Number of Company Units in 2010 Total Units in 2010 Total Change in Units from 2009
    51 Auntie Anne's Pretzels snack $359.0 $464.8 861 14 875 44
    52 McAlister's Deli sandwich $357.5 $1,254.4 268 35 303 13
    53 Moe's Southwest Grill* mexican $347.0 $915.0 418 4 422 13
    54 Wingstop chicken $344.0 $740.0 444 24 468 35
    55 Au Bon Pain sandwich $301.8 $1,800.0 55 125 180 4
    56 Taco John's* mexican $296.0 $725.0 409 9 418 2
    57 Souplantation/
    Sweet Tomatoes
    bakery/café $295.0 $2,500.0 0 118 118 6
    58 Baja Fresh* mexican $291.0 $1,098.0 130 130 260 -10
    59 Fuddruckers* burger $290.0 $1,420.0 126 56 182 -46
    60 Firehouse Subs sandwich $255.0 $602.5 373 29 402 32
    61 Jamba Juice snack $254.5 $625.0 392 351 743 4
    62 Corner Bakery Café bakery/café $247.0 $2,168.0 17 101 118 3
    63 Schlotzsky's sandwich $240.8 $740.0 305 29 334 -9
    64 Fazoli's pizza/pasta $240.0 $1,000.0 100 132 232 -15
    65 Bruegger's sandwich $203.4 $710.0 107 191 298 3

    *Includes figures estimated by Technomic, Inc.

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