50 Most Successful Restaurant Chains in America – 24/7 Wall St.
The pandemic has been particularly hard on the restaurant industry, claiming thousands of lives nationwide, even long-time iconic institutions like the Pacific Dining Car in Los Angeles, K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen in New Orleans and the “21” Club in New York. shut down for good. (These are the saddest restaurant closings of 2021.)
Chains weren’t safe either. California Pizza Kitchen and Chuck E. Cheese, among others, have filed for bankruptcy, and even fast food giants like Pizza Hut, Burger King and Subway have closed many locations.
Many segments of the restaurant industry are still suffering, but as we emerge from the pandemic – we hope – or at least develop strategies to avoid it, many fine dining establishments in New York and around other major urban areas are full or less full than they have been for a few years.
And the news is even better for the chains – which have perhaps weathered the food delivery and takeout boom better, and started to experience a noticeable revival last year. As restaurant trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News notes, “2021 was a course correction for an unprecedented 2020,” noting that a handful of chains even surpassed their pre-pandemic numbers. Only four chains on the list saw their sales decline compared to the previous year, while half a dozen recorded increases of more than 25%. (On the other hand, here are some restaurant chains whose sales actually increased in 2020.)
To determine the 50 most successful restaurant chains in America, 24/7 Tempo reviewed the Top 500 2022 countdown published by NRN. The publication derives its data from a partnership with the food industry research and data company essential data and their proprietary Firefly database.
This year’s ranking contains good news for Dunkin’, which recorded an 18.90% increase over 2020 sales, overtaking Burger King and changing places with Subway from No. 8 to No. 6. While Subway remains the largest chain in the country by number of units (currently 21,178), it was one of the few chains to see a drop in sales – 0.30%.
Click here to see America’s 50 Most Successful Restaurant Chains
Chipotle also performed well in 2021, rising from #12 to #10 with a 19.30% increase in sales. Near the top of the list, last year’s No. 3 Taco Bell fell one spot, with last year’s No. 4 Chick-fil-A taking its place.
One chain listed in last year’s report – albeit at No. 50 – fell all together: TGI Friday’s. The bottom rung is now occupied by cult favorite In-N-Out, although NRN are reporting (for the second year in a row) that no data is available for him. The Top 50 Newcomers Firehouse Subs joins the list at No. 49.
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