These 29 Fast-Food Brands Earn the Most Per Restaurant

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Portillo's

Each year, the QSR 50 gives an in-depth look at how the fast-food industry is performing. 

One of those metrics, average-unit volume (AUV), gives insight from the store how restaurants are performing across their portfolios. Franchising brands often leverage AUV to give potential operators a sense of their return on investment. 

Although COVID has significantly changed the landscape, this list of industry-best AUVs captures which companies were winning in the trenches prior to the crisis, and may indicate which are best positioned to thrive post-pandemic.

HERE ARE THE FULL-SERVICE RANKINGS

This year, we included the 15 brands just outside the top 50 as well. So this is a list of the top 29 AUVs among the 65 highest-grossing quick-service brands in America in terms of U.S. systemwide sales.

CHECK OUT PAST RESULTS OF THE QSR 50:

2020

2019

2018

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

 

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Portillo's
Portillo's

1. Portillo's

Average sales per unit (thousands): $7,273

Unit count: 64

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 64

Total change in units from 2018: 7

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $440

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chick-fil-A

2. Chick-fil-A

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Shake Shack
Shake Shack burgers and glasses of wine.

3. Shake Shack 

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

Unit count: 185

Franchised stores: 22

Company stores: 163

Total change in units from 2018: 59

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

4. Raising Cane's 

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

Unit count: 457

Franchised stores: 86

Company stores: 371

Total change in units from 2018: 57

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Whataburger
Whataburger burger, fries, drink

5. Whataburger

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

Unit count: 830

Franchised stores: 703

Company stores: 127

Total change in units from 2018: 5

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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McDonald's
The exterior of a McDonald's restaurant.

6. McDonald’s

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Unsplash/Andrew Weibert

7. In-N-Out Burger

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,882

Unit count: 13,846

Franchised stores: 0

Company stores: 354

Total change in units from 2018: 14

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,000

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panera Bread

8. Panera Bread

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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wikimedia commons/Corey Coyle
Jason's Deli exterior.

9. Jason's Deli

Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,478

Unit count: 290

Franchised stores: 110

Company stores: 180

Total change in units from 2018: 11

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $705

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Culver's
Culver's burger

10. Culver's

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

Unit count: 733

Franchised stores: 727

Company stores: 6

Total change in units from 2018: 46

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Chipotle
Chipotle burrito on a platter.

11. Chipotle

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

12. Zaxby’s

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

Unit count: 904

Franchised stores: 755

Company stores: 149

Total change in units from 2018: 6

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Habit Burger
Habit Burger burgers and fries

13. The Habit Grill 

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,953

Unit count: 264

Franchised stores: 23

Company stores: 241

Total change in units from 2018: 21

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $501

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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El Pollo Loco
El Pollo Loco

14. El Pollo Loco 

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,865

Unit count: 480

Franchised stores: 277

Company stores: 203

Total change in units from 2018: 4

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $894

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Panda Express

15. Panda Express

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

16. Bojangles

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,717

Unit count: 746

Franchised stores: 434

Company stores: 312

Total change in units from 2018: –10

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $1,290

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Steak 'n Shake
Steak 'n Shake Pork Belly Steakburger.

17. Steak 'N Shake

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,673

Unit count: 577

Franchised stores: 183

Company stores: 365

Total change in units from 2018: –19

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $932

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Wendy's
Wendy's exterior restaurant.

18. Wendy’s

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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McAlister's Deli
Loyal Fans and Simple Operations Make McAlister’s Deli a Strong Prospect for Franchisees

19. McAlister's Deli

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,629

Unit count: 469

Franchised stores: 438

Company stores: 31

Total change in units from 2018: 16

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $719

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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wikimedia commons
Jack in the Box exterior.

20. Jack in the Box

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Del Taco
Del Taco Epic Burritos with Beyond Meat.

21. Del Taco 

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,554

Unit count: 596

Franchised stores: 296

Company stores: 300

Total change in units from 2018: 16

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Popeyes
Popeyes exterior restaurant image.

22. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

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

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

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.

23. Freddy's

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,533

Unit count: 367

Franchised stores: 338

Company stores: 29

Total change in units from 2018: 39

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $536

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Taco Bell
Taco Bell tacos and sauces.

24. Taco Bell

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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White Castle

25. White Castle 

Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,493

Unit count: 375

Franchised stores: 3

Company stores: 372

Total change in units from 2018: 0

U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $560

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Starbucks
Starbucks employee holding a cup.

26. Starbucks

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Restaurant Brands International
Exterior of a Burger King restaurant.

27. Burger King

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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Five Guys
Burger and fries from Five Guys.

28. Five Guys

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

Unit count: 1,368

Franchised stores: 872

Company stores: 496

Total change in units from 2018: 10

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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

29. Sonic Drive-In

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

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

Read more in the QSR 50 here.