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Top Restaurant Franchises by Subcategory A-L

 

Sales Growth - Bakery/Cafe/Deli Franchises

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
468 Cafe Yumm! 30 10.8%
142 Einstein Bros. Bagels 533* 4.9%
25 Panera Bread 5,670* 3.9%
126 McAlister's Deli 678 3.2%
128 Jason's Deli 654 2.6%
261 La Madeleine 170 0.6%
475 Nature's Table 29 0.0%
326 Great Harvest Bread Co. 103 -0.5%
196 Schlotzsky's Bakery Cafe 337 -1.5%
186 Corner Bakery Cafe 365* -2.6%
240 Newk's Eatery 221 -3.4%

Just over half of the bakery, cafe and deli concepts saw positive sales growth in 2018. Café Yumm led the way with the largest sales gain, but still fell four spots in the Top 200+ rankings. Corner Bakery Café and Newk’s Eatery both posted negative sales growth.

 

Sales Growth - BBQ Franchises

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
302 L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Pit 128 6.7%
187 Famous Dave's 363* -4.2%
164 Dickey's Barbecue Pit 460* -6.1%

Brands in the BBQ category struggled in sales this year. Honolulu-based L&L Hawaiian Barbecue was the only franchise to report positive sales growth for 2018.

 

Sales Growth - Better Burgers Franchises

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
66 Five Guys 1,964 13.4%
293 BURGERFI 136 13.3%
306 Fatburger 122 9.5%
395 Wayback Burgers 57 4.7%
366 Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries 71 -1.7%
201 Smashburger 318* -7.8%
235 Fuddruckers 230* -8.0%

Three brands in the better burgers category saw sales decline. Those that didn’t, however, had strong years, with Five Guys, BurgerFi and Fatburger all posting double-digit gains or close to it. Fuddruckers and Smashburger brought up the tail end of the list as each saw sales decline more than 7.5 percent.

 

Sales Growth - Casual - Breakfast Franchises

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
412 Broken Yolk Cafe 51 24.4%
451 Famous Toastery 34 19.4%
489 Eggs Up Grill 23 16.0%
210 Black Bear Diner 292 15.8%
485 The Flying Biscuit Cafe 24 8.3%
339 Another Broken Egg Cafe 90* 5.4%
44 IHOP 3,389 3.9%
483 Perko's Cafe Grill 24 -0.4%
229 Huddle House 244 -0.8%
194 Village Inn 342* -2.3%
50 Denny's 2,800 -3.4%

 *Franchise Times Estimate

One of the East Coast’s favorite places for carb intake is Famous Toastery, which is once again grew sales in 2018. It reported sales gains of 19.4 percent, just under Broken Yolk Café, which posted 24.4 percent sales growth. IHOP maintained its ranking of No. 44 this year as it increased sales by 3.9 percent. Sales at Denny’s declined 3.4 percent.

 

Sales Growth - Casual - Traditional Franchises

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
459 Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse 33 7.0%
28 Applebee's 4,510* 2.3%
338 Roy Rogers 91 1.9%
35 Chili's 3,938 -1.2%
217 Sizzler 269 -1.4%
190 Johnny Rockets 355* -2.0%
249 The Melting Pot 186 -3.0%
78 Red Robin 1,595* -3.1%
97 Steak 'n Shake 1,000* -5.7%
60 T.G.I. Friday's 2,375* -7.8%

*Franchise Times Estimate

The brands in the causal-traditional category struggled this year as sit-down restaurants continue to fade. Wingers Restaurant & Alehouse was one of the few franchises to report considerable sales growth. TGI Fridays slipped eight spots in the rankings with negative sales growth.

 

Sales Growth - Chicken Franchises

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
321 Chicken Salad Chick 110 43.8%
12 Chick-fil-A 10,400* 16.2%
442 Gus's World Famous Fried Chicken 39 14.8%
257 Golden Chick 172 11.0%
3 KFC 26,239 7.0%
39 Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen 3,732 6.3%
71 Zaxby's 1,780* 6.3%
86 Bojangles' Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits 1,298 1.6%
209 Chester's 297 1.0%
89 Church's Chicken 1,200 0.6%

*Franchise Times Estimate 

In the vast world of poultry, KFC and Chick-fil-A reign supreme. The juggernaut KFC reported 7 percent sales growth while Chick-fil-A came in with 16.2 percent sales growth. Despite being the little guy, Chicken Salad Chick posted the highest sales growth in this category at 43.8 percent.

 

Sales Growth - Coffee Franchises 

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
354 Scooter's Coffee 79 18.2%
463 PJ's Coffee of New Orleans 31 13.2%

Most of the population runs on coffee. The two brands in the coffee category reported tremendous sales growth of more than 10 percent.

 

Sales Growth - Healthy/Acai Bowls 

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
259 Freshii 172 24.9%
487 Vitality-Bowls 23 9.5%

Freshii had a monstrous year as it reported an increase in sales of 24.9 percent and moved up in our rankings 25 spots.

 

Sales Growth - Hot Dog Franchises 

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
450 Dog Haus 35 23.2%
219 Wienerschnitzel 268 5.2%
479 Hot Dog on a Stick 28 -15.7%

Dog Haus continues its upward trend as it takes the top growth slot in the hot dog category. Hot Dog on a Stick had a rough year as it reported sales down 15.7 percent. The California-based hot dog franchise fell 41 spots in our rankings this year.

 

Sales Growth - Japanese BBQ Franchises 

Rank Company $ Millions Sales Growth %
289 Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ 141 14.8%
325 HuHot Mongolian Grill 103 1.7%

Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ moved up eight spots in our rankings this year as it increased sales by 14.8 percent.

 

Our list of the Top Restaurant Franchises continues on the next page.  Click Here to view subcategories M-R.

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