As one of the hottest segments in the restaurant industry, fast casuals enjoyed a growing popularity among consumers in fiscal 2009. The segment leader by a long shot is soup, salad, and sandwich concept Panera, based in St. Louis. The company posted $2.7 billion in sales in fiscal 2009, a far cry from the QSR 50’s overall leader, McDonald’s, which posted $31 billion in systemwide sales in 2009. But Panera’s earnings were enough to beat No. 2 Steak N Shake, which posted $735 million in sales.

Although the segment is popular among consumers, there’s little diversity in menu offerings among the top 10 brands. While Asian and pasta/pizza fast casuals exist, none made it onto this year’s top 10 list, perhaps because there are fewer units in those brands’ systems. As the segment continues to grow both in popularity and in footprint, more diverse brands should enter the top 10.

QSR 50
Chain Segment U.S.
Sales ’09
1 15 Panera Bread* sandwich $2,796.5
2 27 Steak 'n Shake* burger $753.8
3 28 Zaxby’s chicken $718.0
4 39 Boston Market* chicken $545.0
5 43 Jason’s Deli sandwich $471.6
6 46 Qdoba mexican $434.8
7 50 Einstein Bros. Bagels* sandwich $378.4
8 51 McAlister’s Deli sandwich $352.0
9 53 Moe’s Southwest Grill* mexican $321.2
10 54 Fuddruckers* burger $320.5
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