Technomic identifies restaurant chains poised to break into the Top 500

April 12, 2018

Results for the “2018 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report” are in, revealing that Top 500 brands posted a cumulative 2017 sales growth of 3.1%, down from 3.8% growth the prior year. As an extension of the report, Technomic tracks sales, unit counts and locations, key contacts and more for an additional 1,000 emerging chains in the United States.

“We expect to see a lot of the same challenges that operators were facing in 2017 carry over into 2018,” said Joe Pawlak, Technomic managing principal. “Operators will be tasked with finding new ways to steal share from the competition and the rise of technology in foodservice will likely play a part.”

While the Top 500 chains outpaced emerging chains in 2017 in both overall sales growth and unit growth, the limited-service restaurant (LSR) chains ranked 501–1,500 outperformed the Top 500 LSR chains, seeing sales grow by 4.5% versus the 3.9% observed by chains in the Top 500. The market research company identified the following chains as poised to break into the Top 500 based on sales and unit growth: California Fish Grill (ranked No. 504), Keke’s Breakfast Cafe (No. 508), and Jimmy’s Egg (No. 530).

As for the Top 500, Technomic found that they are essentially evenly split between limited- and full-service operators; 65% of chains ranked 501–1,500 are classified as limited service. Chain restaurants that ranked 501–1,500 accounted for approximately $21 billion in sales and 21,800 locations in 2017.

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