The nation’s largest restaurant chains grew their sales last year despite modest unit expansion.

The nation’s largest food and beverage chains grew sales by 7.5% in 2023 to $417.13 billion, which was aided by price increases, according to a preview of Datassential’s annual top 500 chains report. The nation’s largest chains only increased locations by 2.1% last year to 238,152.

By total units, Subway (20,133), Starbucks (16,346) and McDonald’s (13,449) led the way as the restaurants with the largest footprints in 2023. McDonald’s also topped the list in terms of systemwide sales in 2023 at $52.9 billion, followed by Starbucks ($29.9 billion) and Chick-fil-A ($21.5 billion).

There was only one change in ranking among the top 10 chains by units compared to last year, with Domino’s Pizza overtaking Burger King with 6,854 locations nationwide. In terms of sales, Chipotle moved ahead of Subway, with sales of $9.87 billion in 2023.


Arkansas-based 7 Brew, a drive-thru coffee chain, was noted by Datassential as the fastest-growing chain in the U.S., with annual unit growth of 373.7% in 2023 compared with 2022. Other smaller restaurant chains such as The Peach Cobbler Factory (+358.3%), Hangry Joe’s Hot Chicken (+281.8%) and more led the list of fastest growers.

By segment, salad/healthy chains saw increased unit growth of 17% compared to 2022. Chicken restaurants followed at 12%, while dessert/snack chains (10.1%) and coffee chains (9.8%) were not far behind.

Datassential’s report also included consumer surveys to rank food chains’ service, quality and experience. Texas Roadhouse, Chick-fil-A, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheesecake Factory and Ruth’s Chris Steak House ranked as the top-five in terms of food quality.

 Chick-fil-A, perhaps unsurprisingly, was the highest-rated chain for customer service, followed by Texas Roadhouse, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheesecake Factory and In-N-Out Burger.

Chick-fil-A, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Texas Roadhouse, Maggiano’s Little Italy and In-N-Out Burger ranked as the best in terms of experience.