America's 50 Biggest Fast-Food Chains

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Taco Bell
Taco Bell drive-thru store exterior.

Call COVID-19 the great accelerant for quick-service restaurants. Years of innovation compressed into months as the country’s biggest fast-food brands scrambled to navigate a climate unlike any other. With dine-in gone from the picture, drive-thrus, delivery, curbside, QR codes, and more surged to forefront of the customer experience.

Given the fast-food sector’s familiarity with off-premises business, the category managed to weather the pandemic better than sit-down concepts. And, in the end, many of America’s top chains actually found ways to grow and emerge in even better shape—something that’s going to carry over in a post-COVID world.

Each year, the QSR 50 provides a status update using key metrics—sales, average-unit volume, and unit count. This year’s edition looked back on a coronavirus-dominated calendar that changed everything. Which brands grew? Which have the potential to soar on the other side? Which chains are closing stores?

CHECK OUT PAST RESULTS:

2020

2019

2018

Here’s a look at the 50 biggest fast-food restaurants in America.

Note: The unit counts are by U.S. restaurants as of 2020 year end.

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Subway
remodeled Subway

1. Subway

Unit count: 22,190

Franchised stores: 22,190

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2019: –1,612

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $8,318

Average sales per unit (thousands): $375

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Starbucks
Starbucks employee at the window.

2. Starbucks

Unit count: 15,328

Franchised stores: 6,387

Company stores: 8,941

Total change in units from 2019: 287

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $18,750

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,235

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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McDonald's
McDonald's still from a commercial.

3. McDonald’s

Unit count: 13,682

Franchised stores: 13,025

Company stores: 657

Total change in units from 2019: 287

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $40,518

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,944

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dunkin’
Dunkin’ oat milk.

4. Dunkin’

Unit count: 9,083

Franchised stores: 9,083

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2019: –547

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $8,762

Average sales per unit (thousands): $930

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Burger King
Burger King sign.

5. Burger King

Unit count: 7,081

Franchised stores: 7,029

Company stores: 52

Total change in units from 2019: –265

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,657

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,414

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Taco Bell

6. Taco Bell

Unit count: 6,799

Franchised stores: 6,324

Company stores: 475

Total change in units from 2019: 33

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,648

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut employee carrying a pizza for delivery.

7. Pizza Hut

Unit count: 6,561

Franchised stores: 6,539

Company stores: 22

Total change in units from 2019: –745

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,400

Average sales per unit (thousands): $938

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Domino's
Domino's mix and match deal.

8. Domino’s

Unit count: 6,355

Franchised stores: 5,992

Company stores: 363

Total change in units from 2019: 229

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $8,287

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,328

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wendy's
Wendy's exterior restaurant.

9. Wendy’s

Unit count: 5,881

Franchised stores: 5,520

Company stores: 361

Total change in units from 2019: 29

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,231

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,725

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Dairy Queen
Dairy Queen exterior

10. Dairy Queen

Unit count: 4,361

Franchised stores: 4,359

Company stores: 2

Total change in units from 2019: –20

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,978

Average sales per unit (thousands): $912

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Little Caesars

11. Little Caesars

Unit count: 4,211

Franchised stores: 3,629

Company stores: 582

Total change in units from 2019: –2

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $940

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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KFC
KFC employee.

12. KFC

Unit count: 3,943

Franchised stores: 3,896

Company stores: 47

Total change in units from 2019: –122

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,700

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,305

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Sonic Drive-In
Sonic Drive-In new Delight prototype

13. Sonic Drive-In

Unit count: 3,526

Franchised stores: 3,255

Company stores: 271

Total change in units from 2019: 0

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,680

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,611

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Inspire Brands

14. Arby’s

Unit count: 3,369

Franchised stores: 2,176

Company stores: 1,193

Total change in units from 2019: 10

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,215

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,273

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Papa John's
Papa John's pizza epic stuffed crust.

15. Papa John’s

Unit count: 3,134

Franchised stores: 2,546

Company stores: 588

Total change in units from 2019: –8

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,198

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,008

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chipotle
Chipotle burrito.

16. Chipotle

Unit count: 2,750

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 2,750

Total change in units from 2019: 150

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,985

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,200

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jimmy John's
Jimmy John's employee holding bread

17. Jimmy John’s

Unit count: 2,705

Franchised stores: 2,662

Company stores: 43

Total change in units from 2019: –82

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,925

Average sales per unit (thousands): $772

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Popeyes
Popeyes chicken nuggets

18. Popeyes Louisiana Chicken

Unit count: 2,634

Franchised stores: 2,593

Company stores: 41

Total change in units from 2019: 135

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,587

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,920

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chick-fil-A
Chick-fil-A employee at the drive thru window handing out food.

19. Chick-fil-A

Unit count: 2,607

Franchised stores: 2,589

Company stores: 18

Total change in units from 2019: 107

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $12,800

Average sales per unit (thousands): $5,013

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Baskin-Robbins

20. Baskin-Robbins

Unit count: 2,419

Franchised stores: 2,419

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2019: –105

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $620

Average sales per unit (thousands): $248

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panda Express
Panda Express cook wearing a mask.

21. Panda Express

Unit count: 2,263

Franchised stores: 150

Company stores: 2,113

Total change in units from 2019: 79

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,817

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,915

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box drive-thru only rendering

22. Jack in the Box

Unit count: 2,241

Franchised stores: 2,097

Company stores: 144

Total change in units from 2019: –2

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,673

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,660

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panera Bread
Pepperoni and Four Cheese flatbread pizzas.

23. Panera Bread

Unit count: 2,175

Franchised stores: 1,196

Company stores: 979

Total change in units from 2019: –50

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,500

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,500

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Jersey Mike's
Jersey Mike's catering boxes of sandwiches.

24. Jersey Mike’s

Unit count: 1,856

Franchised stores: 1,842

Company stores: 14

Total change in units from 2019: 189

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,595

Average sales per unit (thousands): $936

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

25. Hardee’s

Unit count: 1,766

Franchised stores: 1,563

Company stores: 203

Total change in units from 2019: –64

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,100

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wingstop
Wingstop wings in a basket.

26. Wingstop

Unit count: 1,538

Franchised stores: 1,506

Company stores: 32

Total change in units from 2019:153

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,489

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Five Guys
Burger and fries from Five Guys.

27. Five Guys

Unit count: 1,382

Franchised stores: 938

Company stores: 444

Total change in units from 2019: 14

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,711

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,575

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Papa Murphy's
Papa Murphy's redesigned interior

28. Papa Murphy's

Unit count: 1,292

Franchised stores: 1,233

Company stores: 59

Total change in units from 2019:37

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $805

Average sales per unit (thousands): $622

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

29. Firehouse Subs

Unit count: 1,140

Franchised stores: 1,102

Company stores: 38

Total change in units from 2019:2

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $741

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Carl's Jr.

30. Carl's Jr.

Unit count: 1,079

Franchised stores: 1,031

Company stores: 48

Total change in units from 2019:21

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,500

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,400

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Marco’s Pizza
Marco’s Pizza storefront.

31. Marco's Pizza

Unit count: 954

Franchised stores: 912

Company stores: 42

Total change in units from 2019:39

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $838

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Tropical Smoothie Cafe
Tropical Smoothie Cafe exterior of restaurant.

32. Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Unit count: 914

Franchised stores: 913

Company stores: 1

Total change in units from 2019:80

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $690

Average sales per unit (thousands): $841

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Church's Chicken
A platter of food at Church's Chicken.

33. Church's Chicken

Unit count: 913

Franchised stores: 753

Company stores: 160

Total change in units from 2019:27

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $741

Average sales per unit (thousands): $820

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

34. Zaxby's

Unit count: 905

Franchised stores: 760

Company stores: 145

Total change in units from 2019: 10

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,000

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,200

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Checkers
A Checkers restaurant from the outside.

35. Checkers and Rally's

Unit count: 858

Franchised stores: 594

Company stores: 264

Total change in units from 2019: –17

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $854

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,030

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Whataburger
Whataburger Hatch Green Chile Bacon Burger.

36. Whataburger

Unit count: 844

Franchised stores: 114

Company stores: 730

Total change in units from 2019: 14

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,698

Average sales per unit (thousands): $3,197

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Culver's
Culver's burger

37. Culver's

Unit count: 782

Franchised stores: 776

Company stores: 6

Total change in units from 2019: 50

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,986

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,624

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Bojangles
Bojangles exterior.

38. Bojangles

Unit count: 758

Franchised stores: 432

Company stores: 326

Total change in units from 2019: 12

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,374

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,861

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Qdoba

39. Qdoba

Unit count: 750

Franchised stores: 406

Company stores: 344

Total change in units from 2019: 20

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $787

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,086

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Moe's Southwest Grill
Moe's Southwest Grill burrito.

40. Moe's

Unit count: 681

Franchised stores: 680

Company stores: 1

Total change in units from 2019:41

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $561

Average sales per unit (thousands): $815

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Tim Hortons

41. Tim Hortons

Unit count: 633

Franchised stores: 633

Company stores: 0

Total change in units from 2019:23

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $702

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,109

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Del Taco
Del Taco exterior

42. Del Taco

Unit count: 596

Franchised stores: 301

Company stores: 295

Total change in units from 2019: 0

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $857

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,516

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Pexels
Exterior of Steak 'n Shake restaurant at night.

43. Steak 'n Shake

Unit count: 556

Franchised stores: 276

Company stores: 280

Total change in units from 2019: –54

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

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,563

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

44. Raising Cane's

Unit count: 509

Franchised stores: 92

Company stores: 417

Total change in units from 2019: 52

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,722

Average sales per unit (thousands): $3,850

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco exterior.

45. El Pollo Loco

Unit count: 482

Franchised stores: 283

Company stores: 199

Total change in units from 2019: 0

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $880

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,837

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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McAlister's Deli
McAlister's Deli food with a phone on the table.

46. McAlister's Deli

Unit count: 481

Franchised stores: 449

Company stores: 32

Total change in units from 2019: 12

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $625

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,418

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
Platter of burgers, fries, and drinks from Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers.

47. Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers

Unit count: 388

Franchised stores: 356

Company stores: 32

Total change in units from 2019: 20

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $643

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,681

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Krispy Kreme
Krispy Kreme caramel glaze doughnuts.

48. Krispy Kreme

Unit count: 369

Franchised stores: 83

Company stores: 276

Total change in units from 2019: 4

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $830

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,259

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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White Castle
White Castle retail sliders packaging.

49. White Castle

Unit count: 365

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 365

Total change in units from 2019:10

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $565

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,527

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Unsplash/Andrew Weibert

50. In-N-Out Burger

Unit count: 365

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 365

Total change in units from 2019: 11

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,100

Average sales per unit (thousands): $3,060

Read more in the QSR 50 here.