Foodservice Equipment Reports

Technomic’s Top 500 Chains Grew Sales 3.4% Last Year

The 500 largest restaurant-chain concepts grew nearly twice as fast in 2011 as in ’10, according to Technomic Inc., the Chicago foodservice research firm. The 500 chains rang up sales of $242 billion last year, up $8 billion from the prior year.

“It is certainly encouraging to see overall industry growth rates nearly double in one year," said Technomic Pres. Ron Paul. He added, however, that performance of individual chains “varied substantially, reflecting the fact that many organizations are still redefining their value propositions for today's economy and tackling various industry challenges."

Full-service chain growth continued to lag behind that of limited-service concepts. Quick-serve concepts’ growth was fueled in part by 5.5% growth in the U.S. by McDonald’s, the largest chain in the ranking, and the rapid growth of fast-casual concepts. Limited-service chains saw sales rise 3.7% while full-service concepts boosted sales 2.8%, after a flat year in ’10 and sales declines at the depths of the recession in ’09.

More than 60% of chain concepts managed at least nominal sales increases while 193 suffered sales decreases; that was an improvement over last year when 237 chains reported lower sales.

Growth outside the U.S. by the Top 500 chains continued to outperform that at home. International sales for those concepts with units outside the U.S. rose 6.4%, three points better than in the U.S., while international unit growth was 6.5% compared with a slight 0.7% gain in units in the U.S.

The Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which includes forecasts and data by menu and service segments as well as five-, 10- and 20-year trends analyses, can be purchased by visiting or calling Patrick Noone at 312/506-3852.

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