When the Restaurant Finance Monitor first calculated the list of the top restaurant operators back in 1989, there were just 13 companies that topped $100 million in revenue. And 10 years later the Wall Street Journal referred to the list in an article about “mega-franchisees.” Back then, that meant an operator with 50 locations picking up a second brand.
Compared to the average today of $187.5 million in annual sales and 135 restaurants, it’s plain to see the term “mega” was a little premature—and at the rate the strongest operators keep growing, it may be still. This year eight companies added $100 million or more to their revenue. Altogether, the top 200 operators by revenue added $2.9 billion in top line revenue with the addition of 1,817 restaurants.
The Restaurant 200 is roughly 5 percent of the overall restaurant industry revenue. While that seems a small sliver, the group is beating the industry in growth. Revenue among the 200 operators has grown at a compound annual rate of 8 percent since 2009, compared to 4 percent for the overall industry.