Special Report | August 2011 | By Sam Oches

The 2011 QSR 50

Page 6
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

26/Church’s Chicken

A “Chicken Genius” ad campaign ramped up exposure for Church’s Spicier Spicy Chicken offering, and Crispy Chicken Tacos gave customers an option that fit in different dayparts.

But the biggest change for Church’s, the one that really set it up for future success, was the shakeup in management; a new president of U.S. operations, vice president of advertising, and executive vice president of supply chain all joined the fold, among other new management hires.

27/Steak n Shake

The 77-year-old Midwest burger fave announced that it would do something it had never done before: move west of Texas. The concept opened its first unit in Las Vegas in December, significant not just because it established West Coast roots for the chain, but also because it was a rare urban location. Much of the hype now rests on the shoulders of the concept’s new prototype, which shrinks the store footprint and offers a sleeker look.


The fried-chicken fast casual took advantage of its 20th anniversary in 2010 by opening its 500th unit. Also, a steady stream of celebrities has been in and out the Zaxby’s doors to lend the company some marketing help, including Terry Bradshaw and Jaime Pressly in 2010 and later Ryan Stiles and Giuliana Rancic in early 2011.

29/Jimmy John’s

Never one to spend much time with product innovation, Jimmy John’s instead spent 2010 focused on its steady growth. The company opened its 1,000th store, grew sales by about $130 million, and boasted one of the biggest unit expansions in the industry with 162 new stores in the year. But the concept’s home turf of progressive college towns may be coming back to haunt it; the company made headlines all year as employees in several stores attempted to unionize.

30/Five Guys

Five Guys continued its meteoric rise into the quick-serve elite, experiencing the biggest rankings jump in the QSR 50 this year. In fact, only Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts opened more stores than Five Guys’ 195 new units in 2010.

Five Guys’ biggest success in 2010, however, may be in the Better Burger wars. The company continued its growth into West Coast markets and strengthened the roots it planted on In-N-Out’s turf two years before. Not only does Five Guys have deals in place to have almost twice as many units than In-N-Out has in Southern California, but there are also whispers that the East Coast chain is forcing even the fiercest of In-N-Out fans to reconsider their brand loyalties.

Next: QSR 50 Profiles 31 - 35



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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