Turnover analysis / International

The 10 largest gastro-players in the USA

Best growth value for the industry leader since 2015: The 500 top-selling restaurant chains in the USA generated 330.6 billion dollars in revenues last year.
imago images / Panthermedia
Best growth value for the industry leader since 2015: The 500 top-selling restaurant chains in the USA generated 330.6 billion dollars in revenues last year.

McDonald's, world market leader in the gastronomy business, also leads the ranking of the biggest players in its home market. With 40.4 billion dollars in system sales in 2019 - an increase of 4.9 %. The brands Starbucks (21.3 billion dollars) and Chick-Fil-A (11.3 billion dollars) follow.

The 500 top-selling restaurant chains in the U.S. generated $330.6 billion in revenues last year, 4.2% more than in 2018. It is the best growth rate for the industry's top 500 since 2015, with the top 500 representing 228,000 units (+0.4%). Here is a detailed look at the top 10:

USA 2019: Top 10 Foodservice-Ketten

Quelle: Quelle: Technomic
RMarkeSales in $zu 2018Units Average Check
1.McDonald's40,412 Mrd.4,9%13.8466,85 $
2.Starbucks21,380 Mrd.8,6%15.0496,45 $
3. Chick-fil-A11,320 Mrd.13,0%2.4709,70 $
4.Taco Bell11,293 Mrd.9,0%6.7667,15 $
5.Burger King10,204 Mrd.2,7%7.3467,05 $
6.Subway10,200 Mrd.-2,0%23.8018,15 $
7.Wendy's9,762 Mrd.4,2%5.8527,20 $
8.Dunkin'9,228 Mrd.5,0%9.6305,20 $
9.Domino's7,044Mrd.6,9%6.1267,96 $
10. Panera Bread5,890 Mrd.4,0%2.16010,90 $

These structural figures are particularly interesting:
  • Quickservice: Quite clearly, fast food leads. Among the top 10 with a total annual turnover of 140 billion dollars are 9 QSR brands. Panera Bread alone falls into the Fast Casual category.
  • Units: The top 10 names represent nearly 80,000 units in the United States. It leads in this discipline Subway with 23,801 units, followed by Starbucks (15,049) and McDonald's (13,846).
  • Market leader McDonald's stands for 1.9 billion dollars in additional revenues last year. This is followed by Starbucks with 1.7 billion and Chick-Fil-A with 1.3 billion increase in sales.
  • The highest net density at Starbucks (+ 437 units), followed by Domino's (250) and Dunkin' (211).
  • Average Check: The top 9 fast food chains range from $5.20 (Dunkin') to $9.70 (Chick-Fil-A). McDonald's is in midfield with average sales of $6.85 per till. Significantly higher is the value of Panera Bread, namely $10.90.
It's obvious: The big ones are getting bigger and bigger. Among the top 10 brands last year, Subway alone had to leave 2% feathers in its wake. A lot of sales growth comes from digital opportunities (mobile ordering, third-party delivery, etc.). McDonald's, for example, has invested heavily in digital technology and is now reaping the rewards. Among the strongest supply trends are plant-based recipes/meals - one of the most visible in the burger patty.

2019 was a chicken year in the US restaurant business. Chicken sandwiches performed better than any other single item in terms of sales. In particular, the Popeyes Luisiana Kitchen and Chick-Fil-A brands shone with new poultry products. The result: outstanding sales volume increases.

Popeyes, for example, achieved growth of 10.2 % in existing stores. This brand, with annual sales of $3.8 billion in nearly 2,500 restaurants, thus made it into the top 20 in the ranking for the first time.

"Power of chicken"

Technomic talks a lot about the 'power of chicken'. This is not entirely new, but it was more striking in 2019 than ever before. Especially for poultry brands, but also elsewhere. The star in this discipline: Chick-Fil-A with 126% sales growth since 2013. Now 3rd in Technomic's big national ranking after McDonald's and Starbucks.

Read more detailed analyses by Gretel Weiß - here, for example, the detailed analysis of Germany's top-selling single restaurant in 2019.