Top 500 chain Restaurant Sales Fell by Over 8% in 2020, Says Technomic

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Chicago, Illinois-based Technomic has released its 2021 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which includes findings and insights into the 2020 sales performance of chain restaurants in the United States. The report is built using decades of historical data with detailed analysis into the foodservice industry and overarching trends, including the impact of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) health crisis and performance rankings, as well as annual sales and unit counts by chain and segment.

“Disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Top 500 chain restaurants saw sales fall by $27 billion last year, decreasing by more than 8% compared to 2019,” said Kevin Schimpf, senior research manager at market research and management consulting company. “As many small chains and independent restaurants struggled to simply stay in business over the last year, market share for the industry’s largest chains expanded significantly.”

Key findings include:

•Drive-thru and delivery-centric chains dominated 2020, as industry giants like McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and Domino’s all achieved positive sales results.

•Restaurant closures stayed relatively minimal as the Top 500’s overall location footprint shrank by just 2%.

•Sales growth for chicken chains hit double digits, driven by the strong momentum of players like Wingstop, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and Raising Cane’s Chicken Tenders.

•Wendy’s rode the success of its breakfast launch to become the USA’s fifth-largest chain overall.

•No full-service concepts made it into this year’s top 20 group, as rankings slid for most full-service chains.

Technomic, a Winsight company has been producing USA chain restaurant rankings since 1978. More information is available at: