The 23 Biggest Fast-Food Chains in America

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Subway
S Choice mark at Subway.

Subway

Sometimes it can be easy to forget just how big Subway is. For instance, the sandwich chain, in 2017, had nearly 12,000 more domestic units than McDonald’s. That’s just one of the eye-opening reminders found on this year’s QSR 50, which annually breaks down the quick-service landscape according to its most-telling metrics: Unit count, sales, average-unit volume, and more.

[DOWNLOAD] QSR 50 Data 2008-2018

CHECK OUT THE 2019 RANKING OF AMERICA'S BIGGEST CHAINS

Here’s a look at where the biggest brands in America stack up, how they’re growing, which are retracting, and which icons are outperforming everybody else. The unit counts are by U.S. restaurants in 2017.

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Subway
The outside of a Subway restaurant.

Subway

1. Subway

Unit count: 25,908

Franchised stores: 25,908

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2016: –866

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,800.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $416.86

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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McDonald's
McDonald's in Cary, North Carolina.

McDonald's

2. McDonald’s

Unit count: 14,036

Franchised stores: 13,194

Company stores: 842

Total change in units from 2016: –119

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $37,480.67

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,670.32

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Starbucks

Starbucks

3. Starbucks

Unit count: 13,930

Franchised stores: 5,708

Company stores: 8,222

Total change in units from 2016: 758

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $13,167.61

Average sales per unit (thousands): $945.27

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dunkin' Donuts
Specially Crafted Coffee and Espresso Lineup at Dunkin' Donuts.

Dunkin' Donuts

4. Dunkin' Donuts

Unit count: 12,538

Franchised stores: 12,538

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2016: 280

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,192.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $733.13

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut pizza and wings.

Pizza Hut

5. Pizza Hut

Unit count: 7,522

Franchised stores: 7,426

Company stores: 96

Total change in units from 2016: –167

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,510.84

Average sales per unit (thousands): $900.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Mike Mozart
The Burger King sign hangs outside a restaurant.

flickr: Mike Mozart

6. Burger King

Unit count: 7,226

Franchised stores: 7,176

Company stores: 50

Total change in units from 2016: 70

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,028.32

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,387.81

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Taco Bell
Taco Bell is launching Nacho Fries.

Taco Bell

7. Taco Bell

Unit count: 6,446

Franchised stores: 5,799

Company stores: 647

Total change in units from 2016: 168

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,790.15

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,500.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wendy's
Wendy’s new Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad & Sandwich.

Wendy's

8. Wendy’s

Unit count: 5,769

Franchised stores: 5,432

Company stores: 337

Total change in units from 2016: 30

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,288.09

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,610.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Domino’s

Domino’s

9. Domino’s

Unit count: 5,587

Franchised stores: 5,195

Company stores: 392

Total change in units from 2016: 216

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,900.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,000.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dairy Queen
 Dairy Queen's Reese’s Outrageous Blizzard Treat is a decadent combination of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, crunchy Reese’s Pieces, creamy peanut butter topping, and a layer of warm and sweet caramel topping hand-blended with signature DQ vanilla soft serve

Dairy Queen

10. Dairy Queen

Unit count: 4,455

Franchised stores: 4,453

Company stores: 2

Total change in units from 2016: –62

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,640.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,269.75

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Mike Mozart

flickr: Mike Mozart

11. Little Caesars

Unit count: 4,332

Franchised stores: 3,797

Company stores: 535

Total change in units from 2016: 8

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,530.58

Average sales per unit (thousands): $815.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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KFC
KFC restaurant from the front.

KFC

12. KFC

Unit count: 4,109

Franchised stores: 4,055

Company stores: 54

Total change in units from 2016: –58

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,417.05

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,200.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Mike Mozart
Sonic Drive-In with car parked out front.

flickr: Mike Mozart

13. Sonic Drive-In

Unit count: 3,593

Franchised stores: 3,365

Company stores: 228

Total change in units from 2016: 66

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,408.16

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,250.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Arby's
Arby's Beef N Cheddars sandwiches.

Arby's

14. Arby’s

Unit count: 3,415

Franchised stores: 2,340

Company stores: 1,075

Total change in units from 2016: 57

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,634.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,130.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Ildar Sagdejev
Papa John's.

Ildar Sagdejev

15. Papa John's

Unit count: 3,314

Franchised stores: 2,606

Company stores: 708

Total change in units from 2016: –127

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,209.30

Average sales per unit (thousands): $968.45

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jimmy John's
Jimmy John's 16-inch sandwich.

Jimmy John's

16. Jimmy John's

Unit count: 2,755

Franchised stores: 2,700

Company stores: 55

Total change in units from 2016: 108

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,139.62

Average sales per unit (thousands): $796.97

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins

17. Baskin-Robbins

Unit count: 2,560

Franchised stores: 2,560

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2016: 22

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $606.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $360.72

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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John Johnston/Chipotle

John Johnston/Chipotle

18. Chipotle

Unit count: 2,371

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 2,371

Total change in units from 2016: 173

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,476.41

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,940.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Thomas Hawk
Jack in the Box restaurant storefront.

flickr: Thomas Hawk

19. Jack in the Box

Unit count: 2,251

Franchised stores: 1,975

Company stores: 276

Total change in units from 2016: –4

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,469.17

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,543.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

20. Popeyes

Unit count: 2,231

Franchised stores: 2,178

Company stores: 53

Total change in units from 2016: 147

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,213.06

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,440.19

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chick-fil-A
Workers taking orders at the Chick-fil-A drive thru.

Chick-fil-A

21. Chick-fil-A

Unit count: 2,225

Franchised stores: 1,882

Company stores: 343

Total change in units from 2016: 140

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,000.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $4,090.90

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Mike Mozart
Panera Bread.

flickr: Mike Mozart

22. Panera

Unit count: 2,043

Franchised stores: 1,112

Company stores: 931

Total change in units from 2016: 43

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,503.64

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,693.90

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panda Express
Panda Express has a new chicken dish for the Chinese New Year.

Panda Express

23. Panda Express

Unit count: 2,011

Franchised stores: 113

Company stores: 1,898

Total change in units from 2016: 118

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,114.80

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,641.00

Read more in the QSR 50 here.