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Ranked: Fast Food Brands with the Most U.S. Locations

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A bar chart visualizing the top fast food brands with the most stores in the country.

Ranked: Fast Food Brands with the Most U.S. Locations

The fast food industry has become a behemoth in the U.S. from humble beginnings in Wichita a century ago, when the first White Castle store opened. Now, nearly 200,000 U.S. fast food brands make up an industry worth more than $300 billion.

We provide an overview of America’s fast food landscape, visualizing the top 15 companies with the most stores in the country. In this graphic, we use data from QSR Magazine, an industry magazine that focuses on the quick-service segment of the restaurant industry.

Which Fast Food Brands Have the Most Stores?

Ranked first, Subway is the only fast food brand with over 20,000 locations, even after a net reduction of 576 stores in 2022.

The previously family-run business is now owned by Roark Capital (which has substantial stake in other familiar names on this list including Arby’s and Sonic), and is mid-transformation, with 3,600 stores being remodeled in 2023.

Here’s the full breakdown of the top 50 fast food brands by number of U.S. locations in 2022.

RankCompanyLocationsChange in Locations (YoY)
1Subway*20,576-571
2Starbucks*15,873+429
3McDonald's13,444+6
4Dunkin'9,370+126
5Taco Bell7,198+196
6Burger King7,043-61
7Domino's6,686+126
8Pizza Hut6,561+13
9Wendy's5,994+56
10Dairy Queen4,307-32
11Little Caesars*4,173-14
12KFC3,918-35
13Sonic Drive-In3,546-6
14Arby's3,415+6
15Papa Johns3,376+37
16Chipotle3,129+211
17Popeyes
Louisiana Kitchen
2,946+169
18Chick-fil-A*2,837+153
19Jimmy John's2,637-26
20Jersey Mike's2,397+297
21Panda Express2,393+87
22Baskin-Robbins2,253-54
23Jack In The Box2,180-38
24Panera Bread*2,102-33
25Wingstop1,721+187
26Hardee's1,707+45
27Five Guys1,409+19
28Tropical
Smoothie Café
1,198+159
29Firehouse Subs1,187+23
30Papa Murphy's1,168-72
31Carl's Jr.1,068+1
32Marco's Pizza1,067+65
33Whataburger925+52
34Zaxby's922+11
35Culver's892+56
36Church's Chicken812-91
37Checkers/Rally's806+28
38Bojangles788+15
39Qdoba728-11
40Crumbl Cookies688+363
41Dutch Bros671+133
42Raising Cane's646+79
43Moe's637-21
44Del Taco591-9
45McAlister's Deli525+20
46El Pollo Loco490+10
47Freddy's Frozen
Custard &
Steakburgers
456+36
48In-N-Out Burger*379+12
49Krispy Kreme*352+44
50Shake Shack*287+44

*Figures estimated by QSR and Circana.

At second place, Starbucks has nearly 16,000 locations around the country, with California alone accounting for nearly 3,000 of them. The coffee chain is also going through a major shift as a result of post-pandemic trends. This includes a greater focus on drive-thru locations and overall speed and efficiency.

Ranked third, McDonald’s, grew its U.S. footprint for the first time in eight years, after adding six new locations. The brand has grown its global sales by nearly $20 billion since the beginning of the pandemic, even after exiting Russia in 2022.

Dunkin’ (dropped the “Donuts” in 2019) and Taco Bell round out the top-five with more than 9,000 and 7,000 locations respectively.

Notably there was only one ranking shift in the top 20 since last year, with Jersey Mike’s, a sandwich chain, moving past Panda Express to claim 20th place.

However the same list looks a little different when ordering by revenue earned in 2022.

Ranked: Fast Food Brands by 2022 Revenue

The Golden Arches take the golden crown for most revenue earned in 2022, easily beating out the competition. McDonald’s made nearly $48 billion in sales last year, 74% more than the next big brand.

Here’s the full ranking of most revenue earned by fast food brands in 2022.

Revenue RankCompanyRevenue (USD millions)Change from
Locations Rank
1McDonald's$48,734+2
2Starbucks*$28,1000
3Chick-fil-A*$18,814+15
4Taco Bell$13,850+1
5Wendy's$11,694+4
6Dunkin'$11,279-2
7Subway*$10,372-6
8Burger King$10,278-2
9Domino's$8,752-2
10Chipotle$8,600+6
11Panera Bread*$6,787+13
12Pizza Hut$5,500-4
13Sonic Drive-In$5,4990
14Panda Express$5,149+7
15KFC$5,100-3
16Popeyes
Louisiana Kitchen
$5,001+1
17Dairy Queen$4,5790
18Arby's$4,535-4
19Jack in the Box$4,111+4
20Papa John's$3,698-5
21Little Caesars*$3,520-10
22Whataburger$3,340+11
23Raising Cane's$3,118+19
24Culver's$2,830+11
25Jersey Mike's$2,680-5
26Wingstop$2,382-1
27Zaxby's$2,380+7
28Jimmy John's$2,364-9
29Five Guys$2,204-2
30Hardee's$2,020-4
31Bojangles$1,600+7
32Carl's Jr.$1,555-1
33Dutch Bros$1,163+8
34Firehouse Subs$1,154-5
35In-N-Out Burger*$1,125+13
36Tropical
Smoothie Café
$1,075-8
37El Pollo Loco$1,039+9
38Crumbl Cookies$1,004+2
39Qdoba$1,0020
40Shake Shack*$994+10
41Krispy Kreme*$991+8
42Marco's Pizza$968-10
43Del Taco$957+1
44McAlister's Deli$956+1
45Checkers/Rally's$858-8
46Freddy's Frozen
Custard &
Steakburgers
$808+1
47Church's Chicken$765-11
48Papa Murphy's$753-18
49Moe's$705-6
50Baskin-Robbins$685-28

*Figures estimated by QSR and Circana.

Starbucks holds on to the second spot, but Chick-fil-A shoots up 18 positions to third place by revenue, despite being closed on Sundays.

Raising Cane’s, which specializes in chicken fingers and Panera Bread, a bakery competitor to Starbucks, see similar upward trajectories, climbing 19 and 13 spots respectively on the revenue rankings.

On the other hand, Papa Murphy’s and Baskin Robbins have seen a steep drop, making between $600–700 million in 2022, putting them at the bottom of the sales rankings.

What’s Next for Fast Food?

QSR Magazine signals that automation is transforming the restaurant industry as businesses leverage robotics to ease staffing challenges that surged during the pandemic.

Some changes—increasing drive-thrus and apps for example—have already become commonplace but robot cooks and automated delivery vans may also soon proliferate.

With nearly eight out of 100 people in the American workforce involved in the food industry, these changes may cause significant shifts in employment patterns, potentially requiring upskilling for workers in this evolving landscape.

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Charted: U.S. Median House Prices vs. Income

We chart the ever-widening gap between median incomes and the median price of houses in America, using data from the Federal Reserve from 1984 to 2022.

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A cropped chart with the ever-widening gap between median house prices vs. income in America, using data from the Federal Reserve from 1984 to 2022.

Houses in America Now Cost Six Times the Median Income

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

As of 2023, an American household hoping to buy a median-priced home, needs to make at least $100,000 a year. In some cities, they need to make nearly 3–4x that amount.

The median household income in the country is currently well below that $100,000 threshold. To look at the trends between median incomes and median house prices through the years, we charted their movement using the following datasets data from the Federal Reserve:

Importantly this graphic does not make allowances for actual household disposable income, nor how monthly mortgage payments change depending on the interest rates at the time. Finally, both datasets are in current U.S. dollars, meaning they are not adjusted for inflation.

Timeline: Median House Prices vs. Income in America

In 1984, the median annual income for an American household stood at $22,420, and the median house sales price for the first quarter of the year came in at $78,200. The house sales price-to-income ratio stood at 3.49.

By pure arithmetic, this is the most affordable houses have been in the U.S. since the Federal Reserve began tracking this data, as seen in the table below.

A hidden caveat of course, was inflation: running rampant towards the end of the 70s and the start of the 80s. While it fell significantly in the next five years, in 1984 the 30-year fixed rate was close to 14%, meaning a significant chunk of household income went to interest payments.

DateMedian House
Sales Price
Median Household
Income
Price-to-Income Ratio
1984-01-01$78,200$22,4203.49
1985-01-01$82,800$23,6203.51
1986-01-01$88,000$24,9003.53
1987-01-01$97,900$26,0603.76
1988-01-01$110,000$27,2304.04
1989-01-01$118,000$28,9104.08
1990-01-01$123,900$29,9404.14
1991-01-01$120,000$30,1303.98
1992-01-01$119,500$30,6403.90
1993-01-01$125,000$31,2404.00
1994-01-01$130,000$32,2604.03
1995-01-01$130,000$34,0803.81
1996-01-01$137,000$35,4903.86
1997-01-01$145,000$37,0103.92
1998-01-01$152,200$38,8903.91
1999-01-01$157,400$40,7003.87
2000-01-01$165,300$41,9903.94
2001-01-01$169,800$42,2304.02
2002-01-01$188,700$42,4104.45
2003-01-01$186,000$43,3204.29
2004-01-01$212,700$44,3304.80
2005-01-01$232,500$46,3305.02
2006-01-01$247,700$48,2005.14
2007-01-01$257,400$50,2305.12
2008-01-01$233,900$50,3004.65
2009-01-01$208,400$49,7804.19
2010-01-01$222,900$49,2804.52
2011-01-01$226,900$50,0504.53
2012-01-01$238,400$51,0204.67
2013-01-01$258,400$53,5904.82
2014-01-01$275,200$53,6605.13
2015-01-01$289,200$56,5205.12
2016-01-01$299,800$59,0405.08
2017-01-01$313,100$61,1405.12
2018-01-01$331,800$63,1805.25
2019-01-01$313,000$68,7004.56
2020-01-01$329,000$68,0104.84
2021-01-01$369,800$70,7805.22
2022-01-01$433,100$74,5805.81

Note: The median house sale price listed in this table and in the chart is from the first quarter of each year. As a result the ratio can vary between quarters of each year.

The mid-2000s witnessed an explosive surge in home prices, eventually culminating in a housing bubble and subsequent crash—an influential factor in the 2008 recession. Subprime mortgages played a pivotal role in this scenario, as they were issued to buyers with poor credit and then bundled into seemingly more attractive securities for financial institutions. However, these loans eventually faltered as economic circumstances changed.

In response to the recession and to stimulate economic demand, the Federal Reserve reduced interest rates, consequently lowering mortgage rates.

While this measure aimed to make homeownership more accessible, it also contributed to a significant increase in housing prices in the following years. Additionally, a new generation entering the home-buying market heightened demand. Simultaneously, a scarcity of new construction and a surge in investors and corporations converting housing units into rental properties led to a shortage in supply, exerting upward pressure on prices.

As a result, median house prices are now nearly 6x the median household income in America.

How Does Unaffordable Housing Affect the U.S. Economy?

When housing costs exceed a significant portion of household income, families are forced to cut back on other essential expenditures, dampening consumer spending. Given how expanding housing supply helped drive U.S. economic growth in the 20th century, the current constraints in the country are especially ironic.

Unaffordable housing also stifles mobility, as individuals may be reluctant to relocate for better job opportunities due to housing constraints. On the flip side, many cities are seeing severe labor shortages as many lower-wage workers simply cannot afford to live in the city. Both phenomena affect market efficiency and productivity growth.

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