Special Report | August 2013 | By Sam Oches

The QSR 50

The 50 brands setting the pace in the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industries.

In 2012, Chick-fil-A surpassed KFC to become the best-selling chicken chain, Jimmy John’s and Five Guys joined the billion-dollar-brands club, and fast-growing Wingstop and Moe’s Southwest Grill climbed into the limited-service industry’s upper echelon for the first time. McDonald’s, meanwhile, maintained its stranglehold on the No. 1 position, nearly tripling runner-up Subway’s domestic sales. Dig deep into the data driving the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industries with this year’s QSR 50.

Click column headers to sort
RankCompany/Chain Name2012 U.S. Systemwide Sales (Millions)2012 U.S. Average Sales per Unit (thousands)Number of Franchised Units in 2012Number of Company Units in 2012Total Units in 2012sort descendingTotal Change in Units from 2011
1McDonald's $35,600.0$2,600.012,6051,55214,15759
7Dunkin' Donuts$6,264.2$857.47,278287,306291
5Burger King*$8,587.0$1,195.07,0001837,183-21
8Pizza Hut$5,666.0$883.05,7574526,209156
6Taco Bell$7,478.0$1,363.04,2181,0445,26225
13Domino's Pizza$3,500.0$710.24,5403884,92821
18Dairy Queen*$2,300.0$545.04,45934,462-23
22Little Caesars*$1,684.0$465.03,1755503,725207
12Sonic Drive-In$3,790.7$1,074.03,1474093,556-5
17Papa John's$2,402.4$829.02,4836483,131130
14Jack in the Box$3,084.9$1,379.01,7035472,25029
19Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen$2,253.0$1,242.01,634451,67969
11Panera Bread$3,861.0$2,427.28438091,652111
25Jimmy John's$1,262.8$878.81,534261,560229
21Panda Express$1,797.4$1,237.0471,4861,533119
16Chipotle Mexican Grill$2,731.2$2,113.001,4101,410180
33Papa Murphy's$738.0$574.91,270591,32979
28Church's Chicken$869.9$706.59442581,20210
24Carl's Jr.$1,400.0$1,470.06974271,1248
26Five Guys Burgers & Fries$1,082.7$1,049.08502551,105204
34Long John Silver's$723.0$794.09110911-21
43Tim Hortons$532.2$1,095.0800480490
50Jamba Juice$450.0$714.747330177440
38Qdoba Mexican Grill$583.2$966.031131662744
37Del Taco$607.9$1,100.025329855119
46CiCi's Pizza*$505.0$915.054010550-23
47Captain D's$467.1$903.0239278517-2
30Steak 'n Shake*$857.5$1,700.08741450110
48Moe's Southwest Grill$452.0$1,102.5478448243
42Boston Market$559.0$1,184.00469469-12
36White Castle$618.5$1,284.204064069
41El Pollo Loco*$563.0$1,475.02321653973
44In-N-Out Burger*$528.0$1,935.0028028014
39Jason's Deli$578.9$2,556.410114424510
40Krispy Kreme*$569.4$2,428.0142972399
*Includes figures estimated by Technomic Inc. 1Franchise Unit Counts Represent data for Licensed Units 2AUV data for Company-operated units only


The key for supersubscripts is missing on this webpage for Starbucks & Wendy's.

So Chick Fil A closes on Sunday and sells $500,000 more per year than MacDonalds. Looks like a great business model.

Chick Fila is killing it here, assuming mcD's and Chick were equal in units, chick would have a ~24% greater overall gross sales number than mcD's. Crazy..!

Chicken's cheap.

I think you have to take into consideration the concentration of McDonald's units versus Chick-fil-A. I'm just thinking in terms of my neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio, we've got 3 McDonald's locations within a 2 mile radius of my house, which I think is fairly common across the U.S in terms of large metro areas, whereas I can think of 1 maybe 2 Chick-fil-A units on my side of Columbus, which are located in high traffic areas. I'm think in terms of me spending 100 dollars a year at McDonald's versus 100 dollars a year at Chick-fil-A. I could be pretty confident that my 100 dollars would be split between at least 3 if not 5-10 McDonald's locations, while my full 100 dollars would most likely be to the 1 Chick-fil-A location. I know that's way too simplified an example, as obviously you have more overhead, etc. with more locations, but I don't think sales/unit can be an apples to apples comparison when you have different strategies in terms of how to gain market share.

If you're looking at average sales per unit, of course Chic Fil A would be higher per unit, each store covers dozens of square miles of market more than McD's. There's a McD's every other block, it's usualy 5 or 10 miles at least between Chic Fil A's (unless you're in Georgia where they originated and are VERY popular). If you took the service area of that one Chic Fil A and compared it to all the McD's within 1/2 mile or mile of that store, McD's would be 4 or 5 times as much. I would guess that if there were the same number of McD's per square mile as Chic, they would do 4 or 5 times the business as well.

What about Krystals????

I cant believe Jamba Juice was ranked 50!

The key for supersubscripts?Is this it:*Includes figures estimated by Technomic Inc. 1Franchise Unit Counts Represent data for Licensed Units 2AUV data for Company-operated units only

I really thought Los Pollos Hermanos would make the list this year.

You go Chick-fil A!!!!!

I would definitely eat Chick-Fil-A over McD's. I can wait till Monday to eat it or just buy extra on Saturday...lol

how do you go about buying shares in the company I don't know nothing about shares but if chick is doing that well seems to me we should buy shares

None of these food is halal that's why they are called junk food. Allah prohibit human eat non-halal food. So if you think you are human, not dog, then don't eat any of these food. Buy meat from halal meat shop and cook it yourself and be blessed by Allah.

Even In fast food restaurant , they can serve Halal food and so even in many international market , restaurants like Mcd, KFC, Pizza Hut etc are serving Halal meat so the same can be followed in US too.

And if I don't want to pay the "Hallal-tax"? (Hallal is a big business here in Europe too, for example in France, the "non-believers (or "infidels" or whatever you wanna call someone who is not muslim) are eating/buying Hallal meat without knowing it in the supermarket (and the worse thing is that the Hallal business is mainly held by jewish companies, which I think is funny, because if the french muslims knew this, they wouldn't buy those products in the supermarkets (cos' of the Israel/Palestine conflict, they don't want to support Israeli or Pro Israelis businesses). Problem in my country is if you're a "goy", you can eat everything, if you are jewish you are supposed to eat cosher, and if you're muslim you're supposed to eat hallal. Thus, because they know we (the goyim) will buy Hallal anyway because we don't mind about it, supermarkets starts to be flooded with those products (because the muslims don't wanna eat "haram" food), and the slauther houses where those meats come from have to pay a fee for the imams to "bless" the meat.. I'm telling you, it's only business here!!!

Pork rules!

Pork is lean but has many toxins in it! Pigs are disgusting! Pork will but pork on you and if you ever saw pigs in the poke you would puke!I try not to eat such putrid meat but in America it's in almost everything!

After all the religious connotations,it's still all about $$$$$$! Islamics will eat pig if they're not at home and in a country that cares not. The mice are away and they play! I personally don't care if any rabi, priest or imam blesses my food.only almighty GOD can do that. As for cheap American beef, there are some that serve good stuff and others that serve mixed beef with whatever. I usually get a salad or sometimes chicken but that is full of antibiotics. Bean burritos are not to bad......

fast food chains are missing a golden public relations opportunity by not placing uplifting,positive,motivational, inspirational and thought provoking quotations on all the wasted space on your/their coffee/soda cups.there is no better way to show your customer community that you really care. call it food for thought.the young man and woman with sight see things as they are, the young man and woman with insight see things as they could be. joseph p.martinojoseph p.martino poet,writer millburn,nj

Wing stop

Five Guys good head way in the last few years.

It's all toxic filth unfit for human consumption.

I thought Wendy's was better than subway. Wendy's should have made it in the top three instead of fourth place.

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