Biggest wholesalers in 2020

The popularity of fast food is unquestionable. But which are the most profitable, widely deployed chains - and why?

Sat, 30 May 2020

The biggest fast food chains by market capitalisation

1. McDonald's
2. Starbucks
3. Yum! Brands
4. Chipotle Mexican Grill
5. Subway
6. Domino's Pizza
7. Restaurant's Brand International

The top food chains in the world keeps on changing day in and day out. And 2020 has brought in a new twist in the restaurant sector especially with the current turn of events. Off-premise food stores are now becoming a favorite for most consumers.

Now, we all agree that the food market is a booming sector that never runs out of style. Currently, there are over 1 million restaurants in the US and the numbers keep on rising.

According to a recent report, annual sales in the restaurant industry are projected to hit $863 billion in 2020.

But with over 100,000 food chains in the United States, it’s amazing how only a few players still maintain top position in the restaurant market space. Their stores are not only in America but have cut across almost all corners of the world.

In this resource, we’ll share with you a list of the 7 biggest food chains in 2020. Let’s dive straight in.

1. McDonald's

McDonald's Logo

Serving over 69 million customers every day, McDonald’s is the biggest food chain in the world. It has over 36,000 restaurant locations in more than 100 countries. In 2019, the company generated a revenue of close to $22 billion.

However, this restaurant chain didn’t gain its tremendous success overnight. The journey began more than 60 years ago. McDonald's was started as a barbeque restaurant in 1940 by, two brothers, Maurice and Richard McDonald.

Eight years later, the restaurant introduced burgers and a quick-service system for its customers. But it was until 1954 when Ray Kroc transformed the siblings’ business to the restaurant we know today. It has since expanded its menu to include milkshakes, french-fries, soft drinks, salads, chicken products, desserts, and more.

2. Starbucks

Starbucks Logo

Coffee is an extremely popular beverage. Thus, the blossoming of Starbucks comes as no surprise. The first Starbucks was opened in 1976, but it has now grown to be the world’s biggest coffeehouse. Its lead markets are in China and the United States.

Starbucks Cover

Starbucks has a total of more than 30,000 locations spread across the world. And that’s not the limit. Approximately 2 or 3 new Starbucks stores are opened every day. You’ll be surprised to learn that Starbucks offers more than 87,000 drink combinations. Its menu also includes other items such as pastries, confections, ice creams, etc.

Starbucks has over 10 million followers on Facebook and more than 16 million active members in the My Starbucks Rewards loyalty program.

3. Yum! Brands

Yum! Brands Logo

YUM! Brands operates and franchises all Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC), and Taco Bell chain restaurants all over the world, in 140 countries (except in China). Yum China, which now operates Pizza Hut, KFC, and Taco Bell quick-service restaurants in China, was also a part of YUM! Brand until 2016.

And although KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bells are all great performers, KFC is still the biggest and most popular of the three. It is recognized globally with over 22,000 units. Pizza Hut follows closely with more than 18,000 locations. And Taco Bell, a famous Mexican-inspired restaurant, is as well gaining tremendous popularity with slightly over 7,000 units. In 2019, YUM! Brands reported more than $ 5.6 billion in total global revenues.  

4. Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill Logo

There has been skyrocketing need for Mexican-style food in the US for the past few recent years. This is due to the increased Hispanic immigration that has seen robust growth in the demand of Mexican cuisines.

As a result, Chipotle Mexican Grill, a fast-casual food chain restaurant has recorded impressive growth. The company was founded in 1993 and has its headquarters in Newport Beach. Its menu comprises mainly of tacos, burritos, salads, and more.

Unlike other fast food joints, Chipotle offers better quality meals (similar to those in top-class hotels) but at an affordable price. The ingredients used are always fresh, sustainable, and organically grown.

By providing healthier meal options, Chipotle is now top on the list of the upcoming new age chain food restaurants that are bringing chills to veterans such as McDonald's. It has an average revenue of over $5.5 billion in more than 2000 locations.

5. Subway

Subway Logo

Famous for its six-inch and foot-long submarine sandwiches, Subway is one of the largest private fast service restaurant franchise chains in the world.

Subway’s history is quite interesting. It was started in 1965 on a $1,000 loan by a 17-year-old teenager, Fred DeLuca. From one small sandwich store, Subway has now expanded to over 40,000 locations in more than 100 countries. It has more locations than the biggest food chain in the world, McDonald’s.

Did you know that Subway serves approximately 5,300 sandwiches each minute? That’s about 7.6 million sandwiches every day. Plus, you’ll have close to 38 million combinations on what you can add to your sub.

With an estimated brand value of roughly $17,124 billion in 2019, Subway is among the topmost valued fast-food brands in the world.

6. Domino's Pizza

Domino's Pizza Logo

Domino’s boasts as one of the top 3 consumer’s favorite pizza chains in the world. With total revenue of over 3.62 billion US dollars, Domino’s pizza sells more than 3 million pizzas every day and has over 17,000 pizza locations in the world.

This famous food chain was launched in 1960 by Tom Monaghan, James Monaghan, and Dominick DiVarti. Its headquarters are in Ann Arbor, MI.

A top reason why Domino’s stands out among other pizza outlets is due to the convenience it offers its customers. There are more than 15 ways you can order digitally. Domino’s pizza in the united states makes over 65% of its total sales through digital channels. Plus, close to all its international stores also have an online ordering feature.

In 2019, Domino’s pizza ranked fourth in the global top fast-food restaurants with a brand value of close to $8.3. However, its Customer Satisfaction Score was below the standard American Customer Satisfaction Score (ACSI).

7. Restaurant Brand International

Restaurant Brands International

Established in 2014 (after the merging of Burger King and Canadian Coffee chains) Restaurant Brands International is now a leader in providing competitively priced burgers loved by many.

This is a multinational quick-serve company that is mainly owned by 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment company with a 51% shareholding. Its current net market value is roughly $12 billion with total revenue of over 5.6 US dollars.

Before the merge, Burger King had been a top fast-food chain famous for its Whopper Sandwich. It was performing well as McDonald’s top rival until the 21st century when this glory began to dwindle. Companies such as Subway and Starbucks quickly took over this position.

But after the merge, Burger King has slowly gained its lost glory. The company is now in the top 50 growth champions. Its products are more affordable and healthier than other options offered by its competitors.

Number of company deployments world wide

Revenue in billions & physical stores holdings for Q4 2019

Biggest food chains ranking by generated revenue in billions.

4Taco BellGlobal10.3B

In Conclusion

The global restaurant industry is a highly competitive sector. And while McDonald’s has remained unshaken for several decades in terms of sales, it ranks third place in terms of the number of stores.

Other fast foods and fast-casual food chains are as well as putting their best foot forward to catch up with this giant. They aim to provide healthier food options, quicker services, and top-notch customer service.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Score (ACSI), McDonald’s scored quite low with a rating of 69 while food chains such as Starbucks, Subway, and Dominos scored 79. And Yum! Brands followed closely with 78.