Based on year-over-year growth in sales, these are the brands that ended 2014 at the head of the class.
Variety may be the spice of life, but it also appears to be the stimulator of growth. FSR’s list of Top 10 Fast-Growing, High-Performing Full-Service Chains includes a wide array of concepts that dramatically increased sales from 2013 to 2014. From a Japanese barbecue concept to a tapas chain to trendy burger concepts, the brands on this list grew sales between 25 and 58 percent in 2014—remarkable achievements particularly considering that the National Restaurant Association reports the average year-over-year sales growth at 3.8 percent.
Here’s a look at the Top 10 over-achievers:
Del Frisco’s Grille
Sales growth: 58.2 percent
The upscale-casual Del Frisco’s Grille leads the pack on sales growth among full-service chains. From 2013 to 2014, revenues increased from $44.1 million to $69.8 million, to some extent due to five restaurant openings during the year.
The brand comes from prime stock—with sister concept Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House one of the most successful high-end brands—and the dining experience at the Grille concept is equally polished in a relaxed and comfortable way. The Del Frisco’s Grille menu includes regional favorites made from locally sourced ingredients, along with regional wines and local brews, all of which company executives say positions the brand well to compete for Generation X customers. And the 17-unit chain isn’t slowing down; plans call for six new locations in 2015.
Sales growth: 39.2 percent
You might call Bareburger’s growth as healthy as its menu. The organic, all-natural burger chain boosted its sales by more than $13 million in 2014, topping the $46 million mark, and growing from 17 units to 21 locations. A completely new menu brought on unexpected ingredients like wild boar, duck bacon, and Amish Blue Cheese, giving customers an accessible avenue to try finer foods. In opening its Columbus, Ohio, unit, Bareburger picked an unlikely spot for its first foray outside the core New York Metropolitan area. However, in the current year Bareburger has expanded even more adventurously, opening its first international store in Toronto followed by its first location in Tokyo, which is on track to open this summer. New stores are also in the works for Chicago and Santa Monica, California, as well as Long Island, where the restaurant will be erected using 11 recycled shipping containers. Never one to shy from the untried, the brand has also experimented with a limited-service concept in Manhattan’s financial district, hoping to appeal to lunchtime and take-out crowds.
Sales growth: 38.9 percent
Twin Peaks is banking on the basics that appeal to a predominantly male demographic: big games, happy hours, and, of course, the allure of its attractive servers. In 2014, the brand opened 18 locations, and sales crested above $239 million. The company has also been pushing up its AUV, especially at newly opened stores, in part because of better site selection—since 2010, the chain’s AUV has increased from $3 million to $4.3 million. In addition to opening its first brewery in Texas last year, Twin Peaks also began bottling its brews for retail sales. This year, the 68-unit company plans to add 15 new stores.