Technomic Reports Top 500 Chain Restaurant Sales Up 18% Last Year

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Technomic, the Chicago, Illinois-headquartered management consulting and market research company specializing in the foodservice sector, has released its 2022 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which includes findings and insights into the sales performance of restaurants in the United States during 2021. The report is built on a foundation of decades of historical data, providing a detailed analysis of the foodservice industry and overarching trends; annual sales and unit counts by chain and segment; and pandemic-related recovery metrics.

“Last year was a year like none other for the Top 500 chain restaurants,” said Kevin Schimpf, Technomic’s director of industry research and insights. “Drastic shifts in market conditions led to unprecedented volatility in results for the largest chains. While overall Top 500 sales surpassed pre-pandemic benchmarks, more than half of all ranked chains fell short of returning to 2019 performance levels.”

Key findings include:

•Top 500 chain sales hit a total of $361 billion in 2021, increasing by 18% on an annual basis

•Widespread rollback of dining restrictions and historically high levels of inflation were key factors driving the expansion of Top 500 sales

•After declining the prior year, Top 500 location footprint expanded slightly in 2021 to a total of more than 226,000 restaurants

•The chicken menu category posted double-digit sales growth for the third consecutive year, paced by strong results from chains like Raising Cane’s, Slim Chickens and Jollibee

Technomic, a unit of Winsight LLC, has been producing a ranking of top U.S. chain restaurants since 1978. For additional information regarding the latest report visit: