America’s 50 Most Successful Restaurant Chains – 24/7 Wall St.
It’s no secret that 2020 has been a difficult year for the restaurant industry. Restaurants are built around the idea of conviviality – eating and drinking as a social activity in nearby neighborhoods in a shared space. This has been impossible to provide for most places for most of the past year.
As chain operations and independents have turned to take-out and delivery services wherever possible in response to COVID-19 restrictions, many have suffered catastrophic losses; many are gone forever. (These are the saddest restaurant closings of 2020.)
The best publication specializing in catering News from the nation’s restaurant (NRN) publishes an annual ranking of the best performing restaurant chains – fast food and others – according to system-wide national sales. The data comes from an RRN partnership with the food industry research and data company Essential data and their proprietary Firefly database. In previous years, the chain’s ranking included only 200 companies; this year, for the first time, it covers 500.
When 24/7 Tempo reviewed the top 50 channels in the rankings, the effects of the pandemic became clear. For all 500, reports the NRN, overall domestic sales fell 4.3%, from $ 319 billion in 2019 to $ 305.1 billion last year. It is clear from the details, however, that establishments built around seated dining rooms have generally performed less well than those already geared towards a take-out business model. (For last year’s ranking, from another foodservice publication, compare the current list with that of 2019 America’s most successful restaurant chains.)
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For example, Red Robin, Cheesecake Factory, and Applebee’s all saw declines of over 25% last year compared to 2019. Meanwhile, Domino’s is up 11% and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen saw its sales jump 20%. %. However, even many chains that recorded losses still managed to maintain their place in the top 50.