Special Report | August 2011 | By Sam Oches

The 2011 QSR 50

Page 10
The QSR 50 highlights the top fast food companies in the nation.
image used with permission.

Download Last Year’s QSR 50 in PDF Format

46/Tim Hortons

The Canadian coffee staple continued its U.S. invasion, finishing the year with 39 more stores and $29 million more in sales than in 2009. A move into more nontraditional markets, like its January opening at Naval Station Norfolk and its addition of several more kiosks at Tops Friendly Markets in New York and Pennsylvania, expanded the number of channels where Tim Hortons could deliver its signature coffee.

47/Captain D’s

Captain D’s continued its slide down the QSR 50 ranks, as well as its six-year-long systemwide sales decline, but leadership changes in 2010 gave the brand reason to be optimistic.

Sun Capital Partners acquired the seafood chain in May, and when former CEO David Head jumped ship for O’Charley’s in September, the company hired industry veteran Phil Greifeld to replace him. Greifeld has already positioned the Nashville, Tennessee–based brand for growth by canceling planned price increases and refocusing both the franchising and lunch-menu strategies. Part of the lunch strategy includes two new sandwiches that debuted this year: a chicken sandwich and a cod sandwich.

48/Einstein Bros.

One of the earliest Facebook-giveaway success stories was Einstein Bros.’ free bagel offer for new Facebook fans in January, which gave the brand an explosive start to 2010. The Einstein Bros. fan page—which was brand new at the time—climbed from 4,700 fans to more than 450,000 fans in just one week. Additional coupon offers on its Facebook page throughout the year helped the brand maintain active engagement with consumers online.

49/Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone entrenched itself in product innovation in an effort to grab a bigger piece of the dessert pie. The Gold Cone collection of flavors launched in April 2010 offered a new LTO ice cream flavor each month, and a line of Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches also debuted in stores. The biggest product innovation, however, loomed on the horizon for early 2011 in the form of a new spinoff concept: frozen yogurt.


Cult favorite Krystal made a push for sports fans across the South by rolling out new Game Time Wings. But it’s the opportunities it gave its avid fan base to become a more intimate part of the company that supported the brand through slight downsizing. Early in 2010, Krystal plastered Hall of Fame members’ faces on its iconic Krystal boxes, and later in the year the company invited customers to craft their own design of the boxes online. Vice president of marketing Brad Wahl says Krystal will expand its customer design promotion to other packaging options and merchandise, like T-shirts.

Next: Top 50 Chart




I pains me that we celebrate the "success" of restaurants that sell food that makes the world so unhealthy. I can't wait for the day that fast food outlets start going out of business to be replaced by quick serve restaurants that serve only healthy and nutritious food.

It pains you to see a industry succeed. That is so ridiculous in these times.It's just like the early '90s and Outback Steakhouse was going crazy selling those horrible Steaks and Bloomin Onions and other non PC foods. No one was forcing people to buy their product. People buy what they want and the ones that are trying to force stuff that they don't like on them will get some PC sales for a period of time but will end up a vague memory just like De'Lites. The fact that most of you don't remember them proves my point.Let people do what they want. They will anyway, this is the USA.

In this wonderful United StatesIn 1958 approximately one meal in five were eaten in Restaurants. Through the years restaurants of all kinds have exploded in numbers. Today six and a half of ten meals are eaten in Restaurants. In 1958 life expectance was about sixty five years. Today life expectance is over 78 years. Has medicine inproved so much that it has kept us alive in spit of your claim of unhealthy food or have Restaurants offered healthier nutritious foods with unlimited choices and high sanitary standards that has contributed to the increase of life expectance in the US?As for obesity Americans have more spendable income today then ever before and food prices in Restaurants are very low. Im sorry if you are unable to do the math, blame your teacher.Remember Freedom of choice is my mine, don't tell me how to live my life.

Your comment reminds me of the back drop of a movie I once saw - Demolition Man. If you recall the reason the bad guy was let out of prison was because people wanted freedom of choice and the establishment was willing to do anything to stop them in the name of "protecting them from themselves". The only restaurant that was left was Taco Bell and the was by name only, for they did not sell anything that resemble a taco. I say no thanks to that life style. If I were you I would watch that movie again and truly ask myself if I would really want to live in a world like that or would I rather have the freedom to make the right choices for myself and my family.

Just because you were once obese or have food issues doesn't mean I did or I do. I am perfectly healthy, run 4 times a week and enjoy a burger now and then.

Take pride Healthy Guy, but don't waste your time trying to educate people who are unwilling or unable to face the facts. Let them eat cake, and let them get diabetes, heart disease, and the rest. Why should you care?!?

And oh yeah, let's not forget the slave wages. But Americans are descendants of slave masters so that won't concern the average American either. Go al-Qaeda!

hi,Im looking for a nice and famouse restaurant and coffeeshop brand for my restaurant in Iran , could you please give me your suggestion ?thanks

Hi Leyla,I prefer Chipotle, they use natural meats and sometimes organic beans and rice. If Mexican food is unpopular in Iran, Panera Bread is also on the healthier side, serving sandwiches, soups and salads. Good luck!-Morgan

Noon Biar, Kabab Berbar, sounds nice for your restaurant, if you also open a Noon bakery right beside your restataurant. That way you hit two birds with one stone!

I am looking for a VP of R & D for an International QSR company. Give me a ring if you know anyone. 615-499-5463.


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