Five hundred largest US restaurant chains registered 4.9% annual sales increase in 2012, compared to 3.5% growth in 2011, according to Research and Markets report; sales total US$254B in 2012, up more than US$12B from 2011

DUBLIN , February 18, 2014 (press release) – Research and Markets ( has announced the addition of the "Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report" report to their offering.

The 500 largest US restaurant chains registered a 4.9 percent annual sales increase in 2012, a marked improvement over 3.5 percent the prior year. US system-wide sales for the Top 500 chains grew to an estimated $254 billion in 2012, up more than $12 billion over 2011.

Among limited-service restaurants, the highest growth came from the Asian, Bakery Café and Mexican categories. Segment leaders were Panda Express (19.8 percent sales growth), Panera Bread (12.3 percent, est.) and Taco Bell (8.3 percent, est.). McDonald's, the largest US restaurant chain, boosted sales 4.2 percent in 2012, with total annual sales of $35.6 billion.

As a whole, limited-service restaurants saw a sales bump of 5.6 percent. Chicken chains, which grew 8.8 percent, represented another limited-service segment with above-average sales growth. Within this group, Chick-fil-A grew 14.1 percent with 2012 sales of $4.6 billion. Fast casual chains also contributed to stronger 2012 performance. A standout in the fast casual Mexican segment was Chipotle Mexican Grill with sales growth of 20.2 percent.

Full-service restaurants experienced a 2.9 percent sales increase in 2012, a marginal increase over 2.8 percent seen in 2011.

The full-service steak and seafood categories continued to show healthy growth, with increases of 5.9 and 4.5 percent, respectively. Gains in the steak category were driven by Texas Roadhouse (12.4 percent) and LongHorn Steakhouse (12.1 percent). Among seafood chains, the category leader, Red Lobster, met the average 4.5 percent.

In total, the top 10 fastest-growing chains' sales accounted for $10.3 billion, a 22 percent increase over 2011. Unit counts grew 15 percent. More than 60 percent of the Top 500 restaurant chains posted at least nominal sales increases; only 168 of these chains suffered sales declines in 2012 compared to 193 in 2011. Both winners and losers appeared in every segment and menu category.

These widely-mixed results demonstrate the overall competitiveness of the industry and the need for suppliers and operators to carefully identify and focus on the winners. International performance by the Top 500 restaurant chains continued to outperform their domestic counterparts in 2012. International sales (up 5.6 percent) outpaced US sales (up 4.9 percent); international unit growth was also up 8.3 percent versus 2.2 percent for US units.

Publication Overview

The Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report is the most comprehensive ranking, analysis, and overview of the 2013 U.S. chain restaurant industry. The Top 500 helps readers develop sales and marketing strategies, identify growth opportunities and monitor segment and menu category performance.

Topics covered in the report include:

In-depth Industry Overview
Top 500 Segment Performance Review
Leading Chain Performance
Key Rankings
Implications and Outlook
Comprehensive Appendices
Key Benefits and Takeaways
Companies Mentioned

Buffalo Wild Wings
Cheddar's Casual Café
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Dickey's Barbecue Pit
Firehouse Subs
Jersey Mike's Subs
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shop
Panda Express
Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers
Yard House
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