Skip navigation

100 Under 100: Emerging restaurant chains take the United States by storm

Meet the fastest-growing emerging restaurants in the U.S.

Emerging restaurant brands are no doubt fun to follow. They’re often bringing new menu and branding ideas to the table, tapping into consumer trends in creative ways that showcase a glimpse into the future. But emerging brands are also important to follow because they could someday be international juggernauts whose every move is emulated by the rest of the industry.

With this list of the top 100 emerging chains with fewer than 100 locations, Nation’s Restaurant News set out to quantify which emerging brands truly possessed the most momentum across the U.S. To create this list, NRN partnered with Datassential to review sales and unit-count information for the top 750 restaurant chains. The list was cut to only those with 100 locations or fewer at the end of 2022, then sorted by the rate of unit-count growth between 2021 and 2022.

Want to really know which are the most exciting emerging chains in the U.S.? Read on to find out.

Data in this gallery reflects restaurants’ unit counts at the end of 2022, and unit growth from year-end 2021 to year-end 2022.

Correction: July 18, 2023
This gallery has been updated to reflect more accurately Ocean Prime's dining segment.
Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.