THIS 35TH EDITION OF NATION’S RESTAURANT NEWS’ ANNUAL Top 100 report is the first installment of a comprehensive two-part study, generated through exclusive research by the editors of the publication.
The Top 100 report and the forthcoming Second 100 report provide a detailed, brand-by-brand assessment and three-year performance comparison of individual organizations whose aggregate sales account for more than 41 percent of the entire $550 billion U.S. consumer foodservice market.
An analysis of the Top 100 report’s general trends and overall findings, by project leader and senior data analyst Alan J. Liddle, starts on page 3 of this issue.
The two-part “Top 200” study is NRN’s annual endeavor to compile and rank results of the industry’s cash cow brands and corporations. This year’s reports afford readers a panoramic look at results of the market battles being waged for the hearts, minds and dining budgets of America’s consumers.
The Second 100 report, with its rankings and data for chains and companies Nos. 101-200, will be released in the July 28 issue of Nation’s Restaurant News.
Framed within a more focused context than other rankings of the industry’s largest organizations, Top 200 seeks to present relevant comparisons of the largest foodservice competitors by tracking only consumer foodservice sales and revenues generated in the United States. Parallels therefore exist between the federal government’s shift in emphasis from gross national product, which included overseas results of U.S.-based multinationals, to the gross domestic product standard for assessing the national economy.
In addition to excluding foreign results, the Top 100 and Second 100 reports factor out business activities not directly related to consumer foodservice—for example, McDonald’s  Corp.’s estimated $1 billion-plus in annual revenue derived from franchisees’ rent payments, contract foodservice companies’ revenues from facilities maintenance, or franchisors’ sales of equipment or food items to their own franchisees. By virtue of an apples-to-apples focus on food-and-beverage-generated domestic cash flows, the overall study by the editors of Nation’s Restaurant News yields what we believe is a more relevant appraisal of U.S.-market warfare among the industry’s leading combatants and fast-advancing second-tier forces.
Top 100 and Second 100 provide data on publicly owned and private concerns in all commercial and contract sectors. To augment company sources, NRN’s editors tapped corporate documents and research studies as well as information from government agencies, chain officials, franchisees and industry analysts.
The resulting data were collated and organized into the study’s rankings by various criteria, including segment-by-segment comparisons that portray the fluctuating annual market share results of direct competitors within specific business categories.
Representing hundreds of hours of research, Top 100 and Second 100 are analytical tools that can help define which chain concepts and market segments are prospering or struggling and where consumers are electing to spend their dining dollars.
As the basic criterion for inclusion in Top 200’s statistical universe, the study first ranks individually branded chains on the basis of domestically generated systemwide sales for their most recent fiscal years ending closest to Dec. 31, 2007. Separately, companies are ranked on the basis of their domestically generated foodservice revenues. Qualifying organizations then also are assessed over a three-year span on the basis of their sales and revenue growth rates, estimated annual sales per average location, growth in sales per average location and rates of expansion in total outlets and franchise systems.
For additional information on Top 100 criteria, definitions and methodology, please refer to the explanation of column headings and data footnotes on pages 70 through 73 and read “FAQs: Frequently asked Top 100 questions” on page 90.
FAQs: Frequently asked Top 100 questions
Sandwich leaders face off with affordable luxuries
Beverage/snack players turn to value promotions
Contract feeders take hit on B&I traffic, food costs
Pizza competition turns to technology, menu items
Chicken chains change execs, branding to compete
Family-dining chains face off with nonsegment rivals
Hotels upgrade offerings to boost foodservice sales
Grill-buffets confront a smorgasbord of challenges
Casual players look to steer past traffic slowdown