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The top 10 family dining brands

The category produces some surprises with acquisitions, growth and bankruptcy

This is part of Nation’s Restaurant News’ annual Top 200 ranking where the highest grossing chains are ranked. The following list is ranked by systemwide sales from the fiscal year ending closest to December 31st, 2018.

From a brand rising quickly to a big brand falling, there’s been a lot to talk about in the family-dining segment.

A perpetual top family-dining brand, Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, filed for bankruptcy protection this year, ultimately closing 29 locations of both Perkins and Marie Callender’s. Perkins Restaurant & Bakery sales decreased by 5.5% in the latest year.

One success story to keep an eye on is First Watch, this year’s second fastest growing chain, growing units by 23% in the latest year. First Watch’s growth comes on top of the previous year where they were up 30% in systemwide sales year-over-year.

Taking the family-dining category by storm, Cracker Barrel Old Country Store has also worked to diversify, investing in Dallas-based “eatertainment” concept Punch Bowl Social and purchasing fast-casual brand Maple Street Biscuit Company. Cracker Barrel will convert its own biscuit brand Holler & Dash into Maple Street units.

Ultimately, the most successful family-dining restaurant in the latest year made a big marketing move that held consumers in a debate over whether or not the stunt paid off. This restaurant continued its marketing campaigns with a mashup this year.

Does viral marketing help brands raise their profiles and go up in the ranks or is it up to a small brand to work hard to earn its way into the top list?

Click through and see who made the cut this year.

Contact Holly at [email protected]

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