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Fast-Food Chains Grow Sales Despite Modest Expansion

Subway has the most units, while McDonald’s had the most sales




McDonald’s, left, had the most sales last year, while Subway (right) had the most units, Dataessential found. PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO

Sales by the nation’s largest fast-food chains grew by 7.5% in 2023, to $417.13 billion, as price increases helped revenues in a year which saw a modest unit expansion of just 2.1%, to 238,152 total units, according to a preview of Datassential’s latest annual top 500 chains report.

Some key findings from that study:

  • Subway remains the largest restaurant chain by units despite losing some ground from 2022, with total units in 2023 of 20,133 compared with 20,576 in 2022.
  • McDonald’s is still No. 1 in sales, growing sales to $52.91 billion in 2023 from $48.67 billion the year before.
  • Only one change took place in the rankings among the top 10 chains by units: Domino’s Pizza overtook Burger King with 6,854 locations nationwide. And in terms of sales, Chipotle moved ahead of Subway, with sales of $9.87 billion.
  • 7 Brew, a drive-thru coffee chain, is the fastest-growing chain in the U.S., with annual unit growth of 373.7% in 2023 compared with 2022.
  • Expansion accelerated last year for the fastest-growing brands: Five chains grew faster in 2023 than 2022’s fastest-growing restaurant, Mochinut, a Los Angeles-based chain that sells mochi donuts, bubble tea and Korean hot dogs.

The full report is available only to subscribers; click here for more information.



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