While 2020 was a year of unprecedented difficulties for the restaurant industry, many chains — 202 out of the Top 500, to be exact — managed systemwide sales growth.
While many of the fastest-growing chains were small — Pulp Juice & Smoothie Bar ranks at No. 484 by domestic systemwide sales, and saw 27% growth in 2020 — some larger chains accomplished the feat as well. Among the 100 largest chains, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, Wingstop, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Papa John’s and Raising Cane’s all saw sales growth of at least 17% year-over-year.
In this gallery, see the 25 restaurant chains that saw the biggest year-over-year domestic systemwide sales growth in 2020. Each of these chains saw growth of at least 15.6% during a year ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. See which big chains got bigger, which small chains powered through, which singular full-service chain — a family-dining brand — made the list, and which company saw the most growth at 93%.
- 34 big restaurant chains that got even bigger in 2020, against all odds
- See the largest restaurant chains in America ranked by sales, units and more
- Raising Cane’s finds focus leads to sales, unit growth in 2020
The Top 500 report is presented by Nation’s Restaurant News and Datassential, using insights from Datassential’s proprietary Firefly platform. Datassential’s Firefly is the ultimate strategic tool — No. 1 operator database, lead generator, customer marketing and intelligence platform, all-in-one. Learn more about getting complete access at datassential.com/firefly