Foodservice Equipment Reports

International Sales Growth Of U.S. Chains Slowed In 2013

The 180 U.S.-based chains with operations outside of the U.S. grew international sales 4.4% in 2013 on a net unit gain of 9%, according to the latest data from Technomic Inc.’s annual Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, released in April. The international sales increase slipped from a 5.6% international gain reported for 2012, while unit expansion increased from an 8.3% gain the previous year.

Still, international sales and units increased faster than domestic sales for the 180 chains. U.S. sales rose only 3.2% in 2013 for the 180 on a 1.7% unit increase. Domestic sales for the 180 chains were up 4.7% in 2012 on a 1.8% unit gain. These numbers are lower than the gains for the Top 500 as a whole. Sales rose 3.4% last year in the U.S. for the Top 500 as net unit counts were up 2.1%. This compares with 2012 Top 500 growth of 4.9% and unit growth of 2%.

Holding down international sales growth was sluggish performance by McDonald’s, which saw international sales totaling $53.3 billion rise only 1.1% in 2013. Among the Top 10 U.S. chains by international sales, Baskin-Robbins and TGI Fridays posted sales growth of only 0.7% and 2.7% respectively. Among the Top 10, only Starbucks and Subway saw double-digit sales growth, with Starbucks adding 11.4% and Subway up 15%. Still, even for these high-performing chains, sales gains lagged international unit increases, which were 19.8% and 17.2% respectively.

Among U.S. chains showing double-digit international sales growth in 2013 were Hard Rock Café, up 12.5%; Papa John’s with an 18% gain; and Carl’s Jr., which saw international sales rise 29.1%. Two internationally based chains posting strong growth in both international markets and the U.S. were Pret a Manger, with a 32.7% gain in international sales and a 21.2% increase in the U.S., and Le Pain Quotidien, which saw international sales rise 10.1% and U.S. sales grow 14.5%

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