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  • The 23 Biggest Fast-Food Chains in America

    Fast Food August 16, 2018 By QSR Staff
    S Choice mark at Subway.
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    Subway

    Sometimes it can be easy to forget just how big Subway is. For instance, the sandwich chain, in 2017, had nearly 12,000 more domestic units than McDonald’s. That’s just one of the eye-opening reminders found on this year’s QSR 50, which annually breaks down the quick-service landscape according to its most-telling metrics: Unit count, sales, average-unit volume, and more.

    Here’s a look at where the biggest brands in America stack up, how they’re growing, which are retracting, and which icons are outperforming everybody else. The unit counts are by U.S. restaurants in 2017.

    The outside of a Subway restaurant.
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    Subway

    1. Subway

    Unit count: 25,908

    Franchised stores: 25,908

    Company stores: 0

    Total change in units from 2016: –866

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,800.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $416.86

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    McDonald's in Cary, North Carolina.
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    McDonald's

    2. McDonald’s

    Unit count: 14,036

    Franchised stores: 13,194

    Company stores: 842

    Total change in units from 2016: –119

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $37,480.67

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,670.32

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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    Starbucks

    3. Starbucks

    Unit count: 13,930

    Franchised stores: 5,708

    Company stores: 8,222

    Total change in units from 2016: 758

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $13,167.61

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $945.27

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Specially Crafted Coffee and Espresso Lineup at Dunkin' Donuts.
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    Dunkin' Donuts

    4. Dunkin' Donuts

    Unit count: 12,538

    Franchised stores: 12,538

    Company stores: 0

    Total change in units from 2016: 280

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,192.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $733.13

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Pizza Hut pizza and wings.
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    Pizza Hut

    5. Pizza Hut

    Unit count: 7,522

    Franchised stores: 7,426

    Company stores: 96

    Total change in units from 2016: –167

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,510.84

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $900.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    The Burger King sign hangs outside a restaurant.
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    flickr: Mike Mozart

    6. Burger King

    Unit count: 7,226

    Franchised stores: 7,176

    Company stores: 50

    Total change in units from 2016: 70

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $10,028.32

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,387.81

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Taco Bell is launching Nacho Fries.
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    Taco Bell

    7. Taco Bell

    Unit count: 6,446

    Franchised stores: 5,799

    Company stores: 647

    Total change in units from 2016: 168

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,790.15

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,500.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Wendy’s new Southwest Avocado Chicken Salad & Sandwich.
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    Wendy's

    8. Wendy’s

    Unit count: 5,769

    Franchised stores: 5,432

    Company stores: 337

    Total change in units from 2016: 30

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,288.09

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,610.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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    Domino’s

    9. Domino’s

    Unit count: 5,587

    Franchised stores: 5,195

    Company stores: 392

    Total change in units from 2016: 216

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,900.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,000.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

     Dairy Queen's Reese’s Outrageous Blizzard Treat is a decadent combination of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, crunchy Reese’s Pieces, creamy peanut butter topping, and a layer of warm and sweet caramel topping hand-blended with signature DQ vanilla soft serve
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    Dairy Queen

    10. Dairy Queen

    Unit count: 4,455

    Franchised stores: 4,453

    Company stores: 2

    Total change in units from 2016: –62

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,640.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,269.75

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    12 of 24
    flickr: Mike Mozart

    11. Little Caesars

    Unit count: 4,332

    Franchised stores: 3,797

    Company stores: 535

    Total change in units from 2016: 8

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,530.58

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $815.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    KFC restaurant from the front.
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    KFC

    12. KFC

    Unit count: 4,109

    Franchised stores: 4,055

    Company stores: 54

    Total change in units from 2016: –58

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,417.05

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,200.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Sonic Drive-In with car parked out front.
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    flickr: Mike Mozart

    13. Sonic Drive-In

    Unit count: 3,593

    Franchised stores: 3,365

    Company stores: 228

    Total change in units from 2016: 66

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,408.16

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,250.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Arby's Beef N Cheddars sandwiches.
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    Arby's

    14. Arby’s

    Unit count: 3,415

    Franchised stores: 2,340

    Company stores: 1,075

    Total change in units from 2016: 57

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,634.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,130.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Papa John's.
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    Ildar Sagdejev

    15. Papa John's

    Unit count: 3,314

    Franchised stores: 2,606

    Company stores: 708

    Total change in units from 2016: –127

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,209.30

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $968.45

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Jimmy John's 16-inch sandwich.
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    Jimmy John's

    16. Jimmy John's

    Unit count: 2,755

    Franchised stores: 2,700

    Company stores: 55

    Total change in units from 2016: 108

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $2,139.62

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $796.97

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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    Baskin-Robbins

    17. Baskin-Robbins

    Unit count: 2,560

    Franchised stores: 2,560

    Company stores: 0

    Total change in units from 2016: 22

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $606.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $360.72

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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    John Johnston/Chipotle

    18. Chipotle

    Unit count: 2,371

    Franchised stores: 0

    Company stores: 2,371

    Total change in units from 2016: 173

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $4,476.41

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,940.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Jack in the Box restaurant storefront.
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    flickr: Thomas Hawk

    19. Jack in the Box

    Unit count: 2,251

    Franchised stores: 1,975

    Company stores: 276

    Total change in units from 2016: –4

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,469.17

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,543.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

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    Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

    20. Popeyes

    Unit count: 2,231

    Franchised stores: 2,178

    Company stores: 53

    Total change in units from 2016: 147

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,213.06

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,440.19

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Workers taking orders at the Chick-fil-A drive thru.
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    Chick-fil-A

    21. Chick-fil-A

    Unit count: 2,225

    Franchised stores: 1,882

    Company stores: 343

    Total change in units from 2016: 140

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $9,000.00

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $4,090.90

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Panera Bread.
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    flickr: Mike Mozart

    22. Panera

    Unit count: 2,043

    Franchised stores: 1,112

    Company stores: 931

    Total change in units from 2016: 43

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $5,503.64

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $2,693.90

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.

    Panda Express has a new chicken dish for the Chinese New Year.
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    Panda Express

    23. Panda Express

    Unit count: 2,011

    Franchised stores: 113

    Company stores: 1,898

    Total change in units from 2016: 118

    U.S. systemwide sales (millions): $3,114.80

    Average sales per unit (thousands): $1,641.00

    Read more in the QSR 50 here.