Fastest-growing chains: 10 case studies to inspire you

Some things grow against our wishes. Weeds. Unread emails. Worries.

But restaurants aren’t so lucky; growth must be carefully fostered.

In the fast-growing chains segment of the Nation’s Restaurant News Top 200 report, we look at 10 strategies for expanding your business.

Representing $291.6 billion in total sales, there is a lot of variation in the Top 200 restaurants. Chains that made the Top 200 list have annual U.S. systemwide sales ranging from $37.6 billion to $170.9 million.

So in identifying top restaurant growers, we wanted to take a measured approach. The same growth numbers can reflect very different business scenarios. After all, 3.4 percent growth is one thing for an emerging brand, but it’s an entirely different thing for McDonald’s, the largest chain in the United States.

Here we identify the top 10 growers in systemwide sales, segments, units, estimated sales per unit and franchised locations (and a tip of the hat to Alan J. Liddle, NRN’s senior editor, data and event content, for his data oversight.)

Also here, and new to this year, is NRN analysis on a select group of restaurants that made significant strides in growth.

Domino’s, for instance, officially became the largest pizza chain in the U.S., growing 11.1 percent in the Latest Year by using technology to make its pizza attractively easy to order and receive — a simple, decidedly difficult idea to execute with rapidly changing consumer demands.

There is much to learn from less familiar brands as well. Take Black Bear Diner, based in Redding, Calif. This family-dining concept has succeeded in its versatility. This black bear will make a home in any metaphoric tree, converting spaces into its mountain-lodge aesthetic.

The result: 22.3 percent growth in sales. Not too shabby.

Overall, these 10 case studies reflect restaurants growing on their own terms in varied circumstances.

Let these ideas inspire how to build your restaurants in your own individual circumstances.

Contact Jenna Telesca at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @JennaTelesca 

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