The Industry’s Leading Movers, Shakers, and Money-Makers
After years of lopsided sales and diners reluctant to spend their diminished discretionary incomes eating out, in 2013 full-service brands climbed confidently out of the hole left by the economic recession. What they found when they emerged, however, is that diners’ tastes have changed, leaving once-dominant chains in the dust.
Casual-dining sales are in decline across the board, with only a handful of brands in that segment posting sales gains in the last year. As younger diners opt for trendy fast-casual eateries, casual chains are scrambling to reinvent their brands, updating menus, store designs, and even tableware to stay relevant. Many are installing tabletop tablets, pushing online ordering, and placing a greater emphasis on takeout. Some are even venturing into the fast-casual world themselves.
Gaining volumes of visitors are beer-centric brands and sports bars, such as Yard House and Buffalo Wild Wings, as well as upscale-casual chains like The Capital Grille and Fleming’s. Family dining is also experiencing a resurgence, led by IHOP and Waffle House, as breakfast surfaces as a desirable meal to eat out.
Last year, FSR debuted its first FSR 50 with a list of the top 10 restaurants in five different segments. This year, we took a different direction by providing a run-down of the top 50 brands in the full-service industry by 2013 sales revenue. For every publicly traded company, we pulled numbers from SEC filings and made estimates, where necessary. For restaurants that don’t make their sales public, we relied on data partner Technomic. The list strives to reflect 2013 calendar revenues, but not every public restaurant company closes its fiscal year at the end of December; in those cases, as indicated on the chart, we reported sales for the fiscal year that included the most months in 2013.