Special Report | August 2017 | By Sam Oches

The QSR 50

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McDonald’s Golden Arches in Las Vegas aren’t the only thing that’s huge; so is the company’s lead over the rest of the industry. istockphoto / Valerie Loiseleux
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Papa Murphy’s

The take-and-bake specialists are in the midst of a rough patch, which includes a same-store sales decline of 5 percent in 2017’s first quarter and the closing of several locations. To help turn the ship around, Papa Murphy’s is investing in mobile ordering and a delivery platform through services like Amazon and Grubhub.



Oak Hill Capital Partners purchased sister double-drive-thru concepts Checkers and Rally’s in a $525 million deal in March. The brands’ CEO, Rick Silva, said the deal was like “throwing gasoline on a fire” for the company’s expansion plans.


Jersey Mike’s

This year’s biggest chart climber? That’d be Jersey Mike’s, which leaps seven spots after padding its store count by more than 100 units and its sales by about $150 million. Its explosive growth continues unabated as demand for high-quality sandwiches continues.


Qdoba Mexican Eats

Fresh off a name refresh and corporate move to San Diego—where parent company Jack in the Box is based—Qdoba is apparently on the chopping block. Jack in the Box CEO Lenny Comma said earlier this year that the “overall valuation of the company is being impacted by having two different business models.”


Church’s Chicken

The chicken quick serve is struggling and experienced the biggest slide on the QSR 50, falling four spots. But the company recently signed its biggest development deal with Goalz Restaurant Group, which will develop 20 Church’s Chicken restaurants per year in six states.


El Pollo Loco

As it grows slowly eastward—including expansion in Texas and Louisiana—El Pollo Loco honored its Los Angeles roots with its “Road to Authenticity” campaign. The campaign recognized the brand’s heritage with a nod to L.A.’s vibrant Latino culture.


Del Taco

Del Taco continues to add to its Epic Burritos lineup—17-ounce Huevos Rancheros Burrito, anyone?—while it also added a new lineup of Platos, which are individually plated meals. The company’s growth has mostly revolved around a franchise push in the Southeast U.S.


White Castle

Get ready for White Castle 2.0. The company announced that a new prototype would debut in 2018 and will feature outdoor seating and a digital experience that will include mobile POS ordering and an interactive drive thru.


Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons enjoyed 5.2 percent global system-wide sales growth in 2016, but trouble could be brewing; a group of franchisees filed a $500 million lawsuit against parent Restaurant Brands International, alleging breach of contract and mismanagement of money.


Moe’s Southwest Grill

Moe’s showed off some new decorations in 2016, rolling out in-store artwork that features “foodscapes” of famous musicians. Some of the artwork featured augmented reality, allowing guests to interact with the art through the brand’s mobile app.