Foodservice Equipment Reports

Five Guys Tops List Of Fast-Growing Chains In Technomic’s Top 500

In a year marked by a return to sales growth for some of the country’s biggest name brands, Five Guys Burgers & Fries was 2010’s fastest-growing restaurant chain.

The news comes through the market research firm Technomic Inc. Its annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report calculates that systemwide sales at the 500 largest chain concepts in the United States rose 1.8% to $234 billion in 2010, after falling 0.8% to $230 billion in `09. More than half the foodservice chains included in the Top 500 recorded sales increases in ’10, Technomic said. Only 231 chains reported annual sales declines last year, compared with 283 chains that posted sales decreases in ’09.

In total, the top 10 fastest-growing chains (with sales of more than $200 million) accounted for $7.8 billion in sales in ’10, an 18% increase over ’09. Unit counts grew 14%.

Five Guys has opened more than 375 restaurants over the past three years, and is primed for further expansion with a new $100 million facility, made up of a $45 million revolving line of credit and a $55 million term loan, with GE Capital Financial, the bank affiliate of GE Capital, Franchise Finance.

Founded in 1986 in Arlington, Va., Five Guys today has more than 100 company-owned and 640 franchised locations in the United States and Canada. It offers hamburgers, hot dogs and French fries.

In addition to Five Guys, other chains in Technomic’s Top 10 fastest growing list include Jimmy John’s, Chipotle, Firehouse Subs, Noodles & Co. and Panda Express among the quick-serve and fast-casual segments. All posted double-digit sales gains in ’10, Technomic reports. But even a few casual-dining concepts bucked the negative trend to post strong gains in sales and unit counts, including BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse, Yard House, Cheddar’s Casual Café and Buffalo Wild Wings. A number of smaller chains also posted double-digit growth. Information on how to purchase the entire Top 500 report, which will be available later this spring, can be found at www.technomic.com.

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