Technomic released the Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which ranks each top chain by sales performance for the previous year. This year's report includes insight into what to expect for 2020. Although uncertainty remains about the toll that COVID-19 will have on performance, the initial forecast predicts overall sales to decrease by 12% to 17% this year.
"While the Top 500 chains saw a relatively solid overall sales increase in 2019, the growth gap between the largest players and midsize chains continues to widen," explains Kevin Schimpf, senior research manager at Technomic. "The 5.7% sales boost achieved by the top 20 chains significantly outpaced the 2.4% growth observed by chains ranked 21 through 500."
Findings include:
• Thanks to Chick-fil-A and Popeyes' new chicken sandwich, the chicken menu category saw sales growth of nearly 10% in 2019
• Full-service saw significant challenges, growing just 1.6%. Over the past five years, growth has averaged under 2%, while total restaurant count has decreased
• Limited-service chains propelled 2019 sales growth for the Top 500, with fast casual sales up over 7% and quick service increasing by more than 4%
Rank changes included:

• Chick-fil-A moving up to No. 3
• Olive Garden becoming the largest US full-service chain
• Popeyes jumping up five spots and entering the top 20
The Top 500 Report is the industry's leading chain performance tracker, providing annual sales and unit performance by chain, segment and menu category. 

Learn more about the report.