First Tennessee releases 2017 Restaurant Review

Click to access report in .pdf format.
Click to access report in .pdf format.

MEMPHIS — Chicken and snack chains outperformed all other segments in year-over-year comparisons, and the “fast casual” concept has changed the restaurant industry landscape since 2007, according to First Tennessee’s Franchise Finance 2017 Restaurant Review. The annual review of the restaurant industry is published by First Tennessee Bank, the regional bank of First Horizon National Corp.

The nation’s Top 100 restaurant chains accounted for nearly half of total restaurant sales last year, and quick-service restaurants continued to steal market share from full-service restaurants. Consumer spending increased for the seventh consecutive year.

“Since 2007 fast casual restaurants have led market share growth, fueled by consumers’ lifestyles, dining preferences and spending habits,” said Todd Jones, managing director and group head of franchise finance at First Tennessee Bank. “Leading the way in system-wide sales and average unit volume were chicken and snack chains, which have exploded in popularity and in 2016 outpaced all other segments.”

Of the Top 100 chains, nearly 80 percent were franchised, and seven chains were completely franchised systems. Within the top 10 chains, 88 percent of units were franchised. And while chicken and snack segments posted top gains, pizza remains a steady favorite led by No. 10 Domino’s. Sandwich is the largest segment, with 30 chains representing more than $110 billion.

When evaluating segments, even those that have had slower gains since 2007 have remarkable brand success stories that continue to resonate with consumers. While some competitors retreated, they have increased sales and units, proving response to customer preferences can separate a brand from the pack.

See for a copy of the 2017 Restaurant Review, which includes extensive data, industry trend information and more details.