The 37 Biggest Fast-Food Chains in America

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Subway
Two footlong Subway sandwiches.
Subway

Fast food for a new world

COVID-19 has accelerated the fast-food industry years in a matter of months. Marketing. Digital. Loyalty. Menu simplification. Expansion and retraction. It’s safe to assume the sector that emerges on the other side will look materially different.

Every year, the QSR 50 provides a status update by examining key metrics—sales, average-unit volume, and unit count. This year’s edition serves more as a baseline for the future given how rapidly everything has changed. Who was growing pre-pandemic? Who has the potential to surge once the dust settles? Who will continue shrinking in the coming year and beyond?

CHECK OUT PAST RESULTS:

2019

2018

Before the COVID-19 hammer dropped, here’s a look at where the country’s biggest restaurants stacked up, and how it compares to the previous calendar.

Note: The unit counts are by U.S. restaurants as of 2019 year end.

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Subway
Subway employee hands a drink out the drive thru.
Subway

1. Subway

Unit count: 23,802

Franchised stores: 23,802

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2018: –996

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $410

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Starbucks
Starbucks employee holding a cup.
Starbucks

2. Starbucks

Unit count: 15,041

Franchised stores: 6,768

Company stores: 8,273

Total change in units from 2018: 216

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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McDonald's
McDonald's exterior with drive thru.

McDonald's

3. McDonald’s

Unit count: 13,846

Franchised stores: 13,154

Company stores: 692

Total change in units from 2018: –66

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $40,413

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,912

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dunkin'

Dunkin'

4. Dunkin’

Unit count: 9,630

Franchised stores: 9,630

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2018: 42

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $968

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut

5. Pizza Hut

Unit count: 7,416

Franchised stores: 7,393

Company stores: 23

Total change in units from 2018: –40

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,380

Average sales per unit (thousands): $714

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Restaurant Brands International
Exterior of a Burger King restaurant.
Restaurant Brands International

6. Burger King

Unit count: 7,346

Franchised stores: 7,294

Company stores: 52

Total change in units from 2018: 16

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,300

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,399

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Taco Bell

Taco Bell

7. Taco Bell

Unit count: 7,089

Franchised stores: 6,622

Company stores: 467

Total change in units from 2018: 181

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

Domino's Pizza

8. Domino’s

Unit count: 6,157

Franchised stores: 5,815

Company stores: 342

Total change in units from 2018: 253

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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Wendy's
Wendy's exterior restaurant.
Wendy's

9. Wendy’s

Unit count: 5,852

Franchised stores: 5,495

Company stores: 357

Total change in units from 2018: 30

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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Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen

10. Dairy Queen

Unit count: 4,381

Franchised stores: 4,379

Company stores: 2

Total change in units from 2018: –25

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,760

Average sales per unit (thousands): $713

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Little Caesars

Little Caesars

11. Little Caesars

Unit count: 4,213

Franchised stores: 3,652

Company stores: 561

Total change in units from 2018: –49

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,850

Average sales per unit (thousands): $899

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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KFC

KFC

12. KFC

Unit count: 4,065

Franchised stores: 4,009

Company stores: 56

Total change in units from 2018: –9

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,820

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,196

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Sonic Drive-In
Sonic Drive-In exterior of new design.
Sonic Drive-In

13. Sonic Drive-In

Unit count: 3,526

Franchised stores: 3,329

Company stores: 197

Total change in units from 2018: –74

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,687

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,320

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Arby's

Arby's

14. Arby’s

Unit count: 3,359

Franchised stores: 2,170

Company stores: 1,189

Total change in units from 2018: 30

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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Papa John's
Papa John's Shaq-a-Roni Pizza.
Papa John's

15. Papa John’s

Unit count: 3,142

Franchised stores: 2,544

Company stores: 598

Total change in units from 2018: –57

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,655

Average sales per unit (thousands): $837

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's

16. Jimmy John’s

Unit count: 2,787

Franchised stores: 2,735

Company stores: 52

Total change in units from 2018: –13

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,105

Average sales per unit (thousands): $759

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chipotle
Chipotle burrito on a platter.
Chipotle

17. Chipotle

Unit count: 2,580

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 2,580

Total change in units from 2018: 130

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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Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins

18. Baskin-Robbins

Unit count: 2,524

Franchised stores: 2,524

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2018: –26

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $626

Average sales per unit (thousands): $247

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chick-fil-A
A Chick-fil-A employee hands a customer their food at a table.

Chick-fil-A

19. Chick-fil-A

Unit count: 2,500

Franchised stores: 2,500

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2018: 130

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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Popeyes
Popeyes exterior restaurant image.
Popeyes

20. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Unit count: 2,499

Franchised stores: 2,458

Company stores: 41

Total change in units from 2018: 131

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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wikimedia commons
Jack in the Box exterior.
wikimedia commons

21. Jack in the Box

Unit count: 2,243

Franchised stores: 2,106

Company stores: 137

Total change in units from 2018: 6

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,505

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,565

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panera Bread

Panera Bread

22. Panera Bread

Unit count: 2,225

Franchised stores: 1,202

Company stores: 1,023

Total change in units from 2018: 132

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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Panda Express

Panda Express

23. Panda Express

Unit count: 2,184

Franchised stores: 138

Company stores: 2,046

Total change in units from 2018: 80

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Hardee's
Hardee's new Southwestern biscuit and burrito.

Hardee's

24. Hardee’s

Unit count: 1,830

Franchised stores: 1,713

Company stores: 117

Total change in units from 2018: –16

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,070

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,126

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jersey Mike's

Jersey Mike's

25. Jersey Mike’s

Unit count: 1,667

Franchised stores: 1,595

Company stores: 72

Total change in units from 2018: 173

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $824

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Mr. Blue MauMau

Mr. Blue MauMau

26. Papa Murphy’s

Unit count: 1,368

Franchised stores: 1,301

Company stores: 67

Total change in units from 2018: –69

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $748

Average sales per unit (thousands): $551

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Unsplash/Marcel Heil
The food line at Five Guys Burger & Fries.
Unsplash/Marcel Heil

27. Five Guys

Unit count: 1,368

Franchised stores: 872

Company stores: 496

Total change in units from 2018: 10

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,662

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,359

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wingstop
Wingstop wings in a basket.

Wingstop

28. Wingstop

Unit count: 1,231

Franchised stores: 1,200

Company stores: 31

Total change in units from 2018: 107

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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Auntie Anne's

Auntie Anne's

29. Auntie Anne’s

Unit count: 1,211

Franchised stores: 1,200

Company stores: 11

Total change in units from 2018: –20

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $563

Average sales per unit (thousands): $562

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

30. Firehouse Subs

Unit count: 1,153

Franchised stores: 1,115

Company stores: 38

Total change in units from 2018: 24

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $729

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Carl's Jr.

Carl's Jr.

31. Carl’s Jr.

Unit count: 1,100

Franchised stores: 1,052

Company stores: 48

Total change in units from 2018: –21

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,390

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,252

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Church's Chicken
Church's Chicken Smokehouse Chicken with sides.
Church's Chicken

32. Church’s Chicken

Unit count: 1,050

Franchised stores: 885

Company stores: 165

Total change in units from 2018: –35

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $700

Average sales per unit (thousands): $688

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Marco's Pizza

Marco's Pizza

33. Marco’s Pizza

Unit count: 915

Franchised stores: 875

Company stores: 40

Total change in units from 2018: 32

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $726

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Zaxby's
Zaxby's employee hands a customer food through the drive thru.
Zaxby's

34. Zaxby’s

Unit count: 904

Franchised stores: 755

Company stores: 149

Total change in units from 2018: 6

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,840

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,030

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Checkers & Rally’s
Checkers & Rally’s chicken sandwiches.
Checkers & Rally’s

35. Checkers/Rally’s

Unit count: 890

Franchised stores: 634

Company stores: 256

Total change in units from 2018: 4

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $862

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,087

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

36. Tropical Smoothie Café

Unit count: 834

Franchised stores: 833

Company stores: 1

Total change in units from 2018: 115

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $769

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Whataburger
Whataburger restaurant exterior.

Whataburger

37. Whataburger

Unit count: 830

Franchised stores: 703

Company stores: 127

Total change in units from 2018: 5

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,556

Average sales per unit (thousands): $3,080

Read more in the QSR 50 here.