Nation’s Restaurant News | Top 100: Top 5 fastest-growing chains

This story is part of NRN’s Top 100 special report, a proprietary census ranking the foodservice industry’s largest restaurant chains and companies by sales and unit data, among other metrics. The full report is available only to Nation’s Restaurant News magazine subscribers, and is part of the June 25 issue. Subscribe here.

Growth chains: Who’s on top?

That is the question industry professionals and interested observers in the financial, supplier, consulting and educational sectors want answered as they scope out competitors, prospective acquisitions, clients or case studies.

Here, we present the top five fastest-growing chains, based on the change in U.S. systemwide sales in fiscal 2011, or the year ended closest to December 2011, versus fiscal 2010. These chains are the current stars of the restaurant industry, with their expansion based not only on available runway for national growth, but also a clear consumer proposition.

While these top five growth chains favor sandwich and fast-casual players, two entries from the casual-dining segment, which was particularly battered by the recession, also made the cut.

Get to know these five chains’ sales growth, market share, U.S. unit growth and more.

1. Five Guys Burgers and Fries, Lorton, Va. (Sandwich)
2. Jimmy John’s
, Champaign, Ill. (Sandwich)
3. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Denver (Sandwich)
4. BJ’s Restaurants,
Huntington Beach, Calif. (Casual Dining)
5. Cheddar’s Casual Café,
Irving, Texas (Casual Dining)

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