Which U.S. restaurant chains have the most sales?
The biggest American restaurant chains can officially put any thoughts of recession behind them.
Overall the top 100 largest chains in the United States saw sales jump by 5.9% in 2015, according to Nation's Restaurant News' annual Top 100 report [subscription required]. That's the strongest growth since 2006, building on a 4.6% spike last year.
"The 2016 report shows the highest growth in 10 years of the Top 100 study," said Alan J. Liddle, NRN data and event content director, and database manager for the Top 100 project. "The Top 100 chains had some pretty good momentum in unit growth and solid same-store sales. That was a good combination."
The big winners overall were beverage/snack, which posted 11.1% growth; chicken, which climbed by 10.9%; and convenience stores, which added 10.5% to their sales totals.
"If you look at lifestyles these days, people are cramming a lot more activity into their day and feel a lot of times that they don't have an hour or 90 minutes to spend on dinner. They have 20 minutes to spend on dinner," Liddle said."Certainly price point can be an issue because the Casual-Dining price point is higher than Quick Service and Fast Casual."
The top 10, while largely unchanged from last year, saw casual dining staples Applebee's drop out while Domino's (NYSE: DPZ) moved in.
"It wasn't that Applebee's had a bad year — its U.S. systemwide sales rose 3.5% in the latest year, easily besting its 1.3% growth from the previous year. It was just that Domino's had a great year," NRN wrote.
Here's a look at the top 10:
What does it all mean?
While fast-casual gets a lot of the media attention (though Chipotle probably wishes it hadn't over the past few months) casual dining still dominates. In addition, while a lot of press has gone to McDonald's "struggles" in recent years, most chains would be very happy to have those kind of problems.
At the top, McDonald's and Subway actually saw their store counts fall slightly while Burger King, Pizza Hut and Wendy's reported basically flat numbers. That's at least in part because the concepts have saturated the market while a chain like Domino's -- which added over 130 U.S. units -- still has room to grow.
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Daniel Kline has no position in any stocks mentioned. He almost never eats at McDonald's, but enjoys the McFlurry. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chipotle Mexican Grill and Starbucks. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.
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