This is part of Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Second 100 report, a proprietary census ranking restaurant brands Nos. 101-200 by U.S. systemwide sales and other data. This special report focuses on a smaller, more growth-oriented universe than the Top 100 report.
The fastest-growing brands in the Second 100 paint a picture of what’s next for the restaurant industry by showcasing which up-and-coming brands are resonating with consumers and catching the attention of competitors. Seven of the 10 fastest-growing chains in the 2015 Second 100 have a limited-service model, but their offerings vary widely. Three offer American classics like burgers or pizza, while the others target specialized niches like Mediterranean fare, barbecue, coffee and tea, and smoothies. Likewise, the three full-service chains on the list each aim to stand out from more traditional casual concepts with distinctive dining experiences, whether it’s 29-degree craft beers served in frosted mugs, all-you-can-eat grilled meat served by Brazilian gauchos or seasonal fare with a healthful bent.
While these chains are still relatively small — the largest of the group, Marco’s Pizza, had Latest Year U.S. systemwide sales of $337.7 million — they all show strong upward momentum and hold the potential to crack the Top 100 ranks in the coming years. Five of the 10 chains — Twin Peaks, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Seasons 52 and Marco’s Pizza — were among the top 10 fastest-growing chains in the 2014 Second 100 report as well. Of the others, two chains, The Habit Burger Grill and Zoës Kitchen, are new to the Second 100 this year, catapulting into the rankings for the first time with year-over-year sales growth topping 40 percent. Another newcomer, Fogo de Chão, also made the top 10. The chains are ranked by year-over-year percent growth in U.S. systemwide foodservice sales.