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Fast-Food Chains Grow Sales Despite Modest Expansion

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




Photo: McDonald’s, left, had the most sales last year, while Subway (right) had the most units, Dataessential found. Photo: -art-siberia-/

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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