Technically these are defined as QSR (Quick Service Restaurants).  The QSR 50, an annual ranking of the top QSR chains just came out this week. The rankings are compiled based on raw sales by dollar amount.  Three changes in the top ten this year, as Subway moved ahead of Burger King to become #2, Starbucks moved ahead of Wendy’s to become #4 and Dunkin Donuts edged out KFC for the #9 spot.  Everyone’s favorite ultra-elusive chain, Sonic Drive-In holds down the #10 spot.

  • 1. McDonald’s
  • 2. Subway Breakfast Menu
  • 3. Burger King
  • 4. Starbucks
  • 5. Wendy’s
  • 6. Taco Bell
  • 7. Pizza Hut
  • 8. Dunkin’ Donuts
  • 9. KFC
  • 10. Sonic Drive-In

Wow, I had no idea that Sonic was a Top Ten chain. Also, McDonald’s just absolutely dominates: $30 billion in sales versus only $9.6 billion for the second place Subway.

What do you think readers? Are there any chains you would have expected to see on this list that didn’t make the cut? Any chains that are higher than you expected?

Update: Here is a top 10 list in order of total number of stores:

  • Subway 21,881
  • McDonald’s 13,958
  • Starbucks Coffee 11,567
  • Pizza Hut 7,564
  • Burger King 7,512
  • Wendy’s 6,630
  • Dunkin’ Donuts 6,395
  • Taco Bell 5,588
  • KFC 5,253
  • Domino’s 5,047

All info for this Top Ten list as well as other posts about the rest of the top 50 fast food chains by $$ sales comes from the QSR 50, published by QSR magazine.

23 Responses

  1. Bear Silber

    I guess that just all depends…what are they basing this one? Sales? Quality? Value? Customer Service? Customer Satisfaction? How are these rankings determined?

  2. Brian


    I was wondering the same thing. What criteria do they use. But after clicking the link, the original article explains that the criteria used is total sales dollars. For instance McDonalds had $30 billion in sales, Subway $9.6 billion, etc..

    I never would have guessed Sonic had enough locations to generate that much money in sales.

  3. WIBIA

    Sonic was pretty popular when I lived in TN. I am not all that shocked. Where is:
    Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr
    Probably has something to do with the naming.

    Dunkin’ Doughnuts at 8 is higher than expected. You have to sell a ton of doughnuts to made that much…. dough.

  4. Antonio

    So I looked at the actual sales volume. Damn MCD’s over 30,025 mil while the # 2 QSR subway only has 9,600 mil ridiculous

  5. joel david

    Can’t believe Sonic is actually up there, considering their food is filth. However you can get some sweeeet drink combos and tater tots. Your move, McDonalds.

  6. tim

    Well, it wasn’t really that fucking hard, was it? The original post already said that the rankings were based on raw sales and number of outlets.

    Bear, I kinda like your pizza, but you and the other guy are dumb as dirt. 🙂

    What does this tell me?

    Two things:

    Subway’s rev-per-store is WAY low. Look for a mass deletion of some of their stores (if they are smart). They are way over-built.

    QSR Editor Blair Chancey and his publication offered up that quote in exchange for lots of Subway ads in that publicaton.

    Can you people please stop being so naive?

    Sheesh, Bear. I thought you were a marketing pro.

  7. Eick

    Tim, I was wondering that myself. Why did people have to check the link to know the criteria? I said right in the post it was based on total $$$ sales.

  8. cress

    No surprse that MickeyDs is on top. Their value menu is the first thing people think of when they only have change in their pocket. And their breakfast deals and new coffee options appeal to a broad base. Every month brings a new $1 brkfst. sandwich, or cheap meal deal.
    As for Dunkin Donuts, they are doing something right..but I think thats their coffee, NOT DONUTS. Their donuts are on par with eating sweet sand(IMO).
    @halfdeserted: “Chick-fil-A, which sells chicken sandwiches and salads, saw U.S. sales jump 12.2 percent in 2008, to $2.96 billion, and a 4.6 percent increase in same-store sales, the company said. That’s one of the biggest sales gains in the restaurant industry. ” They are there, but maybe they do not have as many locations as other chains.

  9. Michael

    Carl’s Jr is West Coast, Hardees, east coast. Rally’s/Checkers is predominantly in the South(great seasoned fries) I miss sonic foe breakfast with their breakfast burrito and Mocha Java Chiller

  10. junker

    i have eaten at mcdonalds wendys in n out jack in box bruger king taco bell and sonics .ifound in n out to be the best .we need them out here in Nebraska ,Holdrege


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.