Restaurants and Institutions Names Top 400 Restaurant Chains of 2009

According to rimag.com, “The restaurants in R&I’s 45th annual ranking of the Top 400 chain brands had combined systemwide sales of roughly $312.2 billion, up 7% from the previous year’s aggregate. That’s pretty impressive, particularly in a year marked by declining consumer traffic and soaring food costs.”

“Several of the largest chains, in a range of segments—including Miami-based Burger King; Atlanta’s Chick-fil-A; Lebanon, Tenn.-based Cracker Barrel Old Country Store; and Minnetonka, Minn.-based Famous Dave’s Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que—saw double-digit worldwide sales increases in 2008, while restraining unit-count growth to less than 5%.”

“Still quite a few others experienced sales declines in ’08, and a significant number shuttered units, too. Of course, there were also the high-profile restaurant chains forced to turn to buyouts or bankruptcy in the face of trying times. Dallas-based Bennigan’s Grill & Tavern slipped to No. 87 (from No. 60 the previous year) after its parent company, S&A Restaurant Corp., filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy last summer. Even with its unit count cut in half, however, Bennigan’s 2008 sales are estimated at more than $430 million. Once again, McDonald’s is top-grossing chain brand, with an awe-inspiring $70.7 billion in sales worldwide, accounting for nearly one-quarter of the total sales among the Top 400 chains,” the story said.