Single brands among top gainers
Among the Top 5 companies ranked by Latest-Year net dollar change in revenue, two companies that field a single brand and made no large domestic acquisitions in their recently completed fiscal years claimed spots.
While that suggests that, for that metric at least, organic growth of a lone brand can compete with multi-concept incremental growth and growth through buying strategies, two of the other three companies combined operate about two dozen U.S. concepts, while the third mostly generates revenue under its flag, but domestically also claims some dollars from its discernably upscale variation, as well as its bakery collaboration.
Revenue top and bottom
Compass USA, the U.S. arm of London-based Compass Group PLC, maintained the No. 1 ranking for domestic foodservice revenue with an estimated $16.1 billion take in Latest-Year, marking an increase of 7.5% from the Preceding Year’s $15 billion. Unlike some large on-site specialists, who often carry their corporate name across their operations, Compass rose to the highest point within the pantheon of NRN Top 100 and Top 200 Companies many years ago by being an aggregator and maintainer of distinct brands, such as Restaurant Associates, Morrison Management, Levy Restaurants and Bon Appetit Management.
Capping the bottom of the list, at No. 100, was Freeman Spogli & Co., with a Latest-Year-revenue bump of 11.1%, to $385.6 million, on the growth of its Cafe Rio Mexican Grill chain acquired from KarpReilly in 2017 and City Barbecue brand picked up in 2016. A private equity firm, Freeman Spogli has qualified as an NRN Top 200 Company in the past, partially as a result of the revenue contributions from the First Watch breakfast-brunch-and-lunch chain it sold to Advent International in August 2017, but broke into the Top 100 for the first time this round.
Newbies and returnees
Also Top 100 first timers in this edition are Zaxby’s Operating Co. L.P., with estimated Latest-Year U.S. revenue of $409.5 million, up 9% from the Preceding Year, as its namesake limited-service chicken specialty chain had estimated 2019 sales of more than $1.9 billion; Red Rock Resorts Inc., $481.6 million; and TriArtisan Capital Advisors LLC. TriArtisan’s Top 100 entrance was fueled by its Latest-Year move from minority owner to majority owner of TGI Fridays in advance of a later cancelled merger with a publicly traded shell company, and its co-purchase with Paulson & Co. of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro.
Making a return to the Top 100 this year after a four-year absence was Dine Brands Global Inc., parent of the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar and IHOP chains, with $432.7 million in Latest-Year estimated U.S. revenue. Dine Brands Top 100 revenue tally benefitted in the Latest Year from the sales at 69 Applebee’s units it acquired from franchisees in December 2018. The company exited the Top 100 roster after the 2015 edition as a result of a pivot to a so-called asset-lite strategy that ultimately saw it refranchise all of its Applebee’s and IHOP company stores by 2017.
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