Special Report | August 2012 | By Sam Oches

The QSR 50

Page 6
The top 50 quick-service and fast-casual restaurant brands.
McDonald's once again claims the No. 1 spot on the QSR 50. image used with permission.
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45 Baskin-Robbins ( 37 )

And the award for biggest tumble down the QSR 50 goes to … Baskin-Robbins? Despite several new flavor LTOs and the launch of on-trend, customizable, bite-sized Mini Ice Cream Cones, a $70 million sales hit sent Baskin-Robbins plunging eight spots down the list.

46 Tim Hortons ( 46 )

Probably not every quick-serve company was dying to secure the title sponsorship of the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, but it was a coup for Tim Hortons, a Canadian company whose namesake was a star hockey player. Similarly, Tim Hortons spent 2011 making its way into more sports stadiums and arenas.

47 Einstein Bros. Bagels ( 48 )

Much of Einstein Bros.’ 2011 was spent expanding, as it did when it debuted in Chicago and opened its first Marriott location, as well as focusing on charitable events like the Mile High United Way Turkey Trot race. Moving forward, the company is hoping its Smart Choices menu of lighter options can attract a new kind of clientele.

48 Captain D’s ( 47 )

Like fellow seafood quick serve Long John Silver’s, Captain D’s has struggled the last few years to sustain brand momentum. But with CEO Phil Greifeld, who came on in 2010, and new CMO Jonathan Muhtar, Captain D’s is hoping it can dig in and find some footing in a wide-open seafood segment. Earlier this year, the brand tasked Dallas-based TM Advertising with helping it do just that.

49 Sbarro ( 43 )

The Italian chain’s six-spot plunge from last year, complete with an $80 million sales fall and loss of 70 net stores from the previous year, may signal doom and gloom to some. But Sbarro emerged from Chapter 11 with reduced debt, cleaned house in the C-suite, and brought on James Greco, former CEO of Bruegger’s Bagels, to head up its turn around. Don’t be surprised if Sbarro begins a new climb up the QSR 50 in 2013.

50 Krystal ( 50 )

For the second year in a row, Krystal brings up the rear at the bottom of the QSR 50 pile. But optimists surely see a reason to bet on this horse; with a new owner (Atlanta-based private investment firm Argonne Capital Group LLC) and a new CEO (restaurant industry veteran Doug Pendergast), Krystal and its passionate fan base have plenty to be excited about.