Special Report | August 2011 | By Sam Oches

The 2011 QSR 50

Page 5
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


Taking the biggest unit tumble of 2010, Quiznos’ net store count dropped by a whopping 600 units from 2009. The sandwich concept did work to encourage sustainability through its packaging and suppliers, and even jumped on the smaller-portion bandwagon with a Choose 2 menu that let customers choose two items among Quiznos’ Toasty Bullets, flatbread Sammies, soups, and salads for $5.

22/Panda Express

The top Asian concept’s popular talking pandas, Eddie and Tom-Tom, returned to talk up Panda Express’ first-ever premium shrimp entrée. Then a Korean-influenced dish, Kobari Beef, hit the menuboards in September. Panda Express also tested online ordering in select stores with its Order Panda program.

23/Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr. has always aimed for the “young, hungry male” and in 2010 added two new burgers aimed squarely at that demographic: the Grilled Cheese Bacon Burger and the Philly Cheesesteak Burger. Still, a Teriyaki Chicken Sandwich, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, and Hawaiian Grilled Chicken Salad spoke to customers looking for something lighter, and this year’s addition of a Turkey Burger really wowed the health-conscious.

Did we mention there was also a marketing campaign featuring Kim Kardashian?

24/Little Caesars

Little Caesars is clawing its way back into the upper pizza echelon and proving that not all Detroit-based companies are doomed. Once the third-biggest pizza chain, Little Caesars has used its value offering of the $5 Hot-N-Ready pizza to hold firm at No. 24 and, in 2010, added 152 new stores. A continued investment in its new college football bowl game, meanwhile, hopes to lure sports fanatics.


A Texas mainstay since 1950, Whataburger celebrated its 60th year in 2010 with new chicken menu items like the Grilled Chicken Melt and the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich, plus a contest to find the company’s biggest fans. Stoking the passion of its consumer base may be key to keeping up Whataburger’s growth, since the In-N-Out juggernaut is moving into Dallas and “better-burger” newbie Mooyah Burgers is homegrown in Texas.

Next: QSR 50 Profiles 26 - 30



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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