Chicago, April 24, 2023 — Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group, has ranked the top 50 U.S. restaurant chains based on sales estimates representing each chain’s total U.S. system for 2022. In the 12 months ending December 2022, aggregate sales for the top 50 chains grew 5% in the 12 months ending December 2022, from $269 billion in 2021 to $283 billion.
The composition of Circana’s top 50 restaurant chains remained relatively stable compared to the 2021 list, with only one chain, Del Taco, breaking into the list to displace TGI Fridays. The top eleven chains retained their rank in terms of dollar sales: McDonald’s, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Subway, Burger King, Dunkin’, Domino’s, Chipotle, and Panera. Six of the top 25 moved up in rank: Pizza Hut, Panda Express, Olive Garden, Texas Roadhouse, Applebee’s, and Little Caesars.
“The U.S. restaurant industry is recovering from the pandemic, and the performance of leading chains are among the reasons it is,” says David Portalatin, Circana food Industry Advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Faced with higher costs, when consumers dine out, they tend to spend their money on restaurants they know will meet their expectations. Restaurant chains are those familiar brands that deliver the certainty consumers want today.”
Circana’s 2023 Definitive U.S. Restaurant Ranking Report can be found here.
How the top 50 restaurant chains were selected:
The Definitive Restaurant Ranking leverages multiple data products and services from Circana’s unmatched research product portfolio, combined with experienced analyst estimates. Sales estimates represent each chain’s total U.S. system for the year ending December 2022. They are anchored on CREST®, Circana’s flagship syndicated study of consumer purchases of restaurant-prepared meals, snacks, and beverages. Location counts sourced to the September 2022 release of Circana’s ReCount® service, a census of chains and independent restaurant locations regularly updated since 1988. ReCount provides location counts and trends for over 1.2 million foodservice operators today. These primary sources, combined with other proprietary Circana data, public reporting, and analysis, generate this new, industry-standard restaurant ranking. AUV (average unit volume) = total sales divided by total units. AUV helps restaurants monitor and benchmark how stores perform.