How Fast Casual Tops Franchise Growth with Better Bottom Lines

Nobody should be surprised that fast casual leads all other industry segments in overall sales growth and unit growth. Observers could plainly see that in Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, or with their own eyes, as the newest restaurants in town are probably fast-casual concepts and are probably packed with a line to the […]

Rethinking Refranchising in the Restaurant Industry

Over the past few years, refranchising has been a big theme in the restaurant industry. Chain executives reason that they can generate cash from sales, spread risk and reduce capital expenditures while retaining most of the potential future profits. And without day-to-day operational responsibilities, they can focus on marketing the brand. So they have gone […]

Top 500 Brands Keep Franchisees Close — and Sales Growth Closer

If I had a dollar for every time over the past five years that I’ve heard, “Franchisees are just better at running stores than giant corporate brands,” I would probably have enough money to pay any chain’s franchisee fee and build a new restaurant. Such conventional wisdom seemed airtight recently, as franchise-unit openings have far […]

Fast-Casual Pizza: A Familiar Growth Story, with a Twist

The rise of build-your-own pizza is reminiscent of the explosive growth over the past five years of the better-burger segment. But there is an important difference. Unlike traditional quick-service burger chains, which have struggled to defend their traffic and market share from this new fast-casual competition, most of the giant pizza chains are growing sales […]

Why Fast Casual Powers the Sandwich Segment’s Growth

When the initial results of Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report were released last month, the biggest news story to emerge was Subway’s fall from its perch as the second-largest restaurant chain in the United States in terms of annual sales. Implied in that story was a trend many years in the making: Fast-casual sandwich […]

Bigger Isn’t Always Better as ‘Better’ Grows Bigger in 2014

Goliaths are getting a little unsteady on their feet, and Davids are flexing their muscles. Technomic’s upcoming 2015 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report shows that Subway has been dethroned as the No. 2 chain in America, falling to Starbucks—which grew U.S. sales 8.2% in 2014. Starbucks and other beverage chains capitalized on today’s 24-7 snacking […]

A Closer Look at Fast Casual’s Fastest Growers

In a press release today, Technomic reports that the fast-casual segment continues to be a growth leader within the restaurant industry. Fast-casual restaurants that made Technomic’s 2014 list of the Top 500 Chain Restaurants, based on 2013 U.S. systemwide sales, saw sales growth of 11% last year. That growth reflects strong performances both from rising […]

Following the Cash in Fast Casual

Fast casual has drawn significant interest from big-name investors in the past year, with players ranging from Sentinel Capital Partners to Buffalo Wild Wings pouring money into the still-hot segment. And these investors are taking a stake in concepts across menu categories, with premium-pizza places and salad chains alike benefiting. Just so far in 2014, […]

How Restaurant Chains Stay on the Fast Track

Our about-to-be-released Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report shows that the largest chains increased domestic sales 4.9 percent to an estimated $254 billion in 2012; limited-service restaurants were up 5.6 percent, full-service restaurants up 2.9 percent. The Top 500 collectively tallied the biggest growth rate since 2007—before the Great Recession. Two-thirds of the chains grew at […]

Technomic Top 500 Annual Report Finds Signs of Recovery in U.S. Restaurant Industry

Note: This post was originally published as a company press release. The 500 largest U.S. restaurant chains registered a 4.9 percent annual sales increase in 2012, a marked improvement over 3.5 percent the prior year. According to data released today by Technomic Inc. in its annual reporting on the top U.S. restaurant organizations, the foodservice consultancy […]