BurgerFi Ranks First in USA Fast-Casual Restaurants ‘Top 10’

The fast-casual segment continues to lead growth within the restaurant industry in the United States. With an 11 percent increase in sales during 2013 and a nearly 8 percent increase in units, fast-casual concepts among the 2014 Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurants report comprise many of the fastest-growing operations. At the same time, leaders Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panda Express posted healthy sales gains (of 12, 17 and 11 percent, respectively).

technomictaglinecFast-casual restaurants, with their “better-than-quick-service food,” ambiance and "made for you" appeal, continue to align with the needs of today's consumers, according to Chicago-based Technomic, Inc., a market research and consultancy specializing in the North American foodservice sector.

The “Top 10” Fast-Casual Growth Chains are ranked as follows by Technomic:

  1. BurgerFi
    Headquartered in North Palm Beach, Florida, the gourmet burger specialist generated sales of US $44.5 million 178%) at 33 units in 2013.

  2. Hot Head Burritos
    The Mexican chain rang up sales of $50.4 million (+48%) at 53 restaurants.

  3. Lime Fresh Mexican Grill
    The Ruby Tuesday offspring took in $42.5 million (+47%) at 27 outlets during 2013.

  4. Mooyah
    The burger, fries and shakes eatery rang up $53.5 million (+43% in sales) at 56 units last year.

  5. Shake Shack
    Described as a “modern-day roadside burger stand,” the chain’s 21 outlets generated $62.3 million in sales during 2013.

  6. Zoës Kitchen
    Specializing in sandwiches, its 105 units took in receipts of $88.7 million last year.

  7. Kneaders Bakery & Café
    Modeled after European bakeries, the chain’s 27 shops saw turnover of $50.4 million (+36%) in 2013.

  8. The Habit Burger Grill
    Described as a high-quality burger joint that also features salads and sundaes, its 85 restaurants (some equipped with drive-through windows) grossed $113.2 million (+35%) last year.

  9. Chop’t Creative Salad Company
    Specializing in made-to-order salads, it rang up $44 million in sales (+33%) at 24 stores during 2013.

  10. Smashburger
    The biggest among the “Top 10” fastest-growing fast-casual restaurant operations with 240 units, the company’s sales were just under $215 million (+32%) last year

While bakery cafés are still doing well overall, unit expansion is now more likely to happen in burger, Mexican, and other sandwich and specialty concepts, diversifying the fast-casual landscape.

"Watch for even more menu and concept diversity in this sector," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "Also look for more quick-service restaurants and full-service restaurants to realign their formats and develop new fast casual concepts to compete more aggressively."

The 2014 Technomic Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report provides Technomic's exclusive sales forecast by menu category, update on franchise and international activity, outlook for the future, market share by menu category, and much more.

For those wishing to dive deeper into the Top 500 USA restaurant chains and thousands of other foodservice organizations, Technomic's provides online access to comprehensive operator intelligence. Subscribers can search and download over 3,500 detailed and continuously updated profiles on US and international chains. For more information, visit the technomic.com website.