America's 25 Most Lucrative Fast-Food Chains

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McDonald's

McDonald's

When it comes to total sales, nobody holds a candle to McDonald's. The fast-food behemoth, in 2017, reported $37,480.67 (in millions) across its 14,000 domestic units—more than double its nearest competitor. 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.

Here’s a look at where the top-earning restaurants in America stack up by total systemwide sales.

Note: These figures reflect end of year fiscal 2017 results.

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

McDonald's

1. McDonald’s

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

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

Unit count: 14,036

Franchised stores: 13,194

Company stores: 842

Total change in units from 2016: –119

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Starbucks

Starbucks

2. Starbucks

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $945.27

Unit count: 13,930

Franchised stores: 5,708

Company stores: 8,222

Total change in units from 2016: 758

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Subway
S Choice mark at Subway.

Subway

3. Subway

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $416.86

Unit count: 25,908

Franchised stores: 25,908

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2016: –866

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Mike Mozart
Burger King's popular breakfast menu is the center of a lawsuit recently settled by the fast-food company.

flickr: Mike Mozart

4. Burger King

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

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

Unit count: 7,226

Franchised stores: 7,176

Company stores: 50

Total change in units from 2016: 70

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Taco Bell

Taco Bell

5. Taco Bell

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

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

Unit count: 6,446

Franchised stores: 5,799

Company stores: 647

Total change in units from 2016: 168

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

Wendy's

6. Wendy’s

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

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

Unit count: 5,769

Franchised stores: 5,432

Company stores: 337

Total change in units from 2016: 30

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dunkin' Donuts
A workes pours nitro cold brew from a tap at Dunkin' Donuts new restaurant deisgn in Massachusetts.

Dunkin' Donuts

7. Dunkin' Donuts

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $733.13

Unit count: 12,538

Franchised stores: 12,538

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2016: 280

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A

8. Chick-fil-A

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

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

Unit count: 2,225

Franchised stores: 1,882

Company stores: 343

Total change in units from 2016: 140

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Domino's

Domino's

9. Domino’s

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

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

Unit count: 5,587

Franchised stores: 5,195

Company stores: 392

Total change in units from 2016: 216

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut pizza and wings.

Pizza Hut

10. Pizza Hut

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $900.00

Unit count: 7,522

Franchised stores: 7,426

Company stores: 96

Total change in units from 2016: –167

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

 

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flickr: Mike Mozart
Panera Bread.

flickr: Mike Mozart

11. Panera

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

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

Unit count: 2,043

Franchised stores: 1,112

Company stores: 931

Total change in units from 2016: 43

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chipotle
Chipotle burrito in a red basket.

Chipotle

12. Chipotle

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

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

Unit count: 2,371

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 2,371

Total change in units from 2016: 173

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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KFC
KFC restaurant from the front.

KFC

13. KFC

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

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

Unit count: 4,109

Franchised stores: 4,055

Company stores: 54

Total change in units from 2016: –58

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

14. Sonic Drive-In

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

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

Unit count: 3,593         

Franchised stores: 3,365

Company stores: 228

Total change in units from 2016: 66

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen

15. Dairy Queen

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

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

Unit count: 4,455

Franchised stores: 4,453

Company stores: 2

Total change in units from 2016: –62

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Arby's

Arby's

16. Arby’s

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

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

Unit count: 3,415

Franchised stores: 2,340

Company stores: 1,075

Total change in units from 2016: 57

Read more in the QSR 50 here

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flickr: Mike Mozart

flickr: Mike Mozart

17. Little Caesars

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $815.00

Unit count: 4,332

Franchised stores: 3,797

Company stores: 535

Total change in units from 2016: 8

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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flickr: Thomas Hawk
Jack in the Box restaurant seen at night.

flickr: Thomas Hawk

18. Jack in the Box

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

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

Unit count: 2,251

Franchised stores: 1,975

Company stores: 276

Total change in units from 2016: –4

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

19. Popeyes

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

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

Unit count: 2,231

Franchised stores: 2,178

Company stores: 53

Total change in units from 2016: 147

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

 

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Mr. Blue MauMau
Papa John's logo with a half moon in the background.

Mr. Blue MauMau

20. Papa John's

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $968.45

Unit count: 3,314

Franchised stores: 2,606

Company stores: 708

Total change in units from 2016: –127

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

21. Panda Express

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

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

Unit count: 2,011

Franchised stores: 113

Company stores: 1,898

Total change in units from 2016: 118

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Whataburger

Whataburger

22. Whataburger

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2278.62

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,775.43

Unit count: 821

Franchised stores: 124

Company stores: 697

Total change in units from 2016: 15

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Hardee's

Hardee's

23. Hardee’s

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,168.00

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,164.00

Unit count: 1,864

Franchised stores: 1,745

Company stores: 119

Total change in units from 2016: 16

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

Jimmy John's

24. Jimmy John's

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $796.97

Unit count: 2,755

Franchised stores: 2,700

Company stores: 55

Total change in units from 2016: 108

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Zaxby's

Zaxby's

25. Zaxby’s

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,091.50

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,350.00

Unit count: 890

Franchised stores: 890

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2016: 74

Read more in the QSR 50 here.