Chick-fil-A, a fast food chain restaurant, is now ranked No. 5 within the top 500 restaurant chains, soaring past both Wendy’s and Burger King in 2018.
According to Technomic’s 2019 Top 500 chain Restaurant Advance Report, total U.S. sales for each of the top five chains is more than $10bn, in comparison to last year’s figures which showed that only the top three achieved this.
The “limited-service” chicken category appears to be leading the way for industry growth, with the likes of Wingstop and Raising Cane’s also doing well.
Kevin Schimpf, industry research manager, said: “Propelled by the improved performance of many of the industry’s largest players, the Top 500 chains displayed resilience in 2018.
“Despite diminishing customer foot traffic, labor challenges and volatile operating conditions, the Top 500 chains were still able to achieve stronger sales growth in 2018 than what we observed the prior year.”
Technomic also found that cumulative 2018 U.S. sales for the top 500 chains grew to $318bn and that fast casual remains the fastest-growing segment, increasing its sales 7.3% in 2018.
In addition to this, it saw sales growth for casual dining rebound to 1.3% in 2018, after dipping to 0.3% in 2017 and new location growth among the top 500 chains fell to a rate of 0.7% in 2018.
The Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report is a performance tracker for chain restaurants that provides annual sales and unit performance by chain, segment and menu category.