The 19 Fastest Growing Quick-Service Restaurant Chains

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Domino's
A sausage and pepperoni pizza at Domino's in a black pan.

Domino's

Following the growth path 

COVID effectively slammed the restaurant industry, but six months into the pandemic, brands are well on their way toward recovery. Some skipped that stage and entered record-breaking territory, like Papa John's.

Now the question becomes, which restaurants are in a position to expand in a post-COVID world where real estate opportunities will rise in the wake of widespread closures? The QSR 50, a collection of data from the top-50 grossing quick-service restaurants, provides insight into the concepts best capitalized to emerge. 

CHECK OUT PAST RESULTS:

2019

2018

This slideshow takes a look at the brands that carried the most momentum into 2020 in terms of unit growth. 

Note: The unit counts are by U.S. restaurants as of 2019 year end and the fastest-growing list is picked from among the top 50 grossing quick-service chains in terms of total systemwide sales.

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Domino's Pizza
Dominos offers two topping pizzas at value deal for one week only.

Domino's Pizza

Domino's 

Total change in units from 2018: 253

Unit count: 6,157

Franchised stores: 5,815

Company stores: 342

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $7,100

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,178

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Starbucks
Starbucks strawless lids.
Starbucks

Starbucks

Total change in units from 2018: 216

Unit count: 15,041

Franchised stores: 6,768

Company stores: 8,273

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $21,550

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,454

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Taco Bell
Taco Bell tacos and sauces.
Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Total change in units from 2018: 181

Unit count: 7,089

Franchised stores: 6,622

Company stores: 467

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $11,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,502

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jersey Mike's

Jersey Mike's

Jersey Mike’s

Total change in units from 2018: 173

Unit count: 1,667

Franchised stores: 1,595

Company stores: 72

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,340

Average sales per unit (thousands): $824

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panera Bread
Panera Bread's Baja Grain Bowl on a table next to soup.

Panera Bread

Panera Bread

Total change in units from 2018: 132

Unit count: 2,225

Franchised stores: 1,202

Company stores: 1,023

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,925

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,751

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Popeyes
Popeyes' chicken sandwiches side by side against an orange background.

Popeyes

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Total change in units from 2018: 131

Unit count: 2,499

Franchised stores: 2,458

Company stores: 41

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,750

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,541

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chipotle
A Chipotle employee helps a customer.

Chipotle

Chipotle

Total change in units from 2018: 130

Unit count: 2,580

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 2,580

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,520

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,195

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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pexels
Chick-fil-A exterior.
pexels

Chick-fil-A

Total change in units from 2018: 130

Unit count: 2,500

Franchised stores: 2,500

Company stores: 0

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $11,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $4,517

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Tropical Smoothie Cafe exterior of restaurant.
Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Total change in units from 2018: 115

Unit count: 834

Franchised stores: 833

Company stores: 1

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $577

Average sales per unit (thousands): $769

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wingstop
Wingstop wings in a basket.

Wingstop

Wingstop

Total change in units from 2018: 107

Unit count: 1,231

Franchised stores: 1,200

Company stores: 31

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,400

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,250

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panda Express

Panda Express

Panda Express

Total change in units from 2018: 80

Unit count: 2,184

Franchised stores: 138

Company stores: 2,046

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,800

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,765

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

Shake Shack

Total change in units from 2018: 59

Unit count: 185

Franchised stores: 22

Company stores: 163

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $630

Average sales per unit (thousands): $4,214

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Raising Cane's
Raising Canes to make managers into millionaire restaurant operators.

Provided by PR Ladd Biro

Raising Cane's

Raising Cane's

Total change in units from 2018: 57

Unit count: 457

Franchised stores: 86

Company stores: 371

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,466

Average sales per unit (thousands): $3,600

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Culver's
Culver's burger

Culver's

Culver's

Total change in units from 2018: 46

Unit count: 733

Franchised stores: 727

Company stores: 6

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,730

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,435

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dunkin'
Dunkin' cups lined up.
Dunkin'

Dunkin’

Total change in units from 2018: 42

Unit count: 9,630

Franchised stores: 9,630

Company stores: 0

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,220

Average sales per unit (thousands): $968

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Marco's Pizza

Marco's Pizza

Marco’s Pizza

Total change in units from 2018: 32

Unit count: 915

Franchised stores: 875

Company stores: 40

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $628

Average sales per unit (thousands): $726

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wendy’s International, LLC
Wendy’s International, LLC

Wendy’s International, LLC

Wendy’s

Total change in units from 2018: 30

Unit count: 5,852

Franchised stores: 5,495

Company stores: 357

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,865

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,666

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Arby's

Arby's

Arby’s

Total change in units from 2018: 30

Unit count: 3,359

Franchised stores: 2,170

Company stores: 1,189

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,885

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,183

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Firehouse Subs
Firehouse Subs sandwich franchise chief executive offers coronavirus tips.
Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs

Total change in units from 2018: 24

Unit count: 1,153

Franchised stores: 1,115

Company stores: 38

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $855

Average sales per unit (thousands): $729

Read more in the QSR 50 here.