Top 10 Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains in the US in 2016

January 05, 2017

Top 10 Fastest Growing Restaurant Chains in the US in 2016

Americans love their food fast. Perhaps that's why our fair country has so many options when it comes to fast food and casual dining. Despite a stunted growth in the economy, plenty of people are still heading out in droves to eat outside the home for lunch and dinner. Certain establishments have seen record growth over 2016, opening more new locations to keep up with the demand for their delicious offerings. As we welcome 2017, here are the 10 fastest growing restaurant chains in the US for 2016.

1. Jersey Mike's

Jersey Mike's

Here's a sub shop that knows what it's doing. With big, bountiful offerings on fresh-baked bread, Jersey Mike's is quickly cornering the sub market. In fact, the Original Italian, known as #13 on the menu, was featured as one of the best sandwiches on the Travel Channel. In addition, they offer cheesesteaks and a variety of other tasty subs. With 147 new locations opened in 2016, the popularity of Jersey Mike's subs has truly taken off.

2. Marco's Pizza

Marco's Pizza

With a new store opening up just about every other day, Marco's Pizza is enjoying a huge growth boom in 2016. In 2016, they opened their 700th store and with each passing day, as they open more and more locations, they project to have opened 1,000 stores by the end of 2017. In fact in 2016, Marco's was ranked No. 81 on Entrepreneur magazine's Franchise 500 list. Their popularity can be attributed to their devotion of creating quality pizza out of quality ingredients. The competition uses mass produced methods while Marco's sticks to authentic quality, which is why Marco's keeps coming out ahead.

3. Wingstop


This fast-casual wing place really hits the spot for wing lovers. It's like the wing version of Chipotle, offering quality food that you order at the counter and sit down with instead of waiting for service. Over 100 new Wingstop locations have opened up in 2016, and the company looks forward to even more growth in 2017. We could chalk it up to being popular due to Rapper Rick Ross' name-dropping and franchise ownership, or we could call it for what it is...really delicious wings in a variety of flavor options. Whatever you want to call it though, it seems that there's no stopping Wingstop.

4. Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers

This fast food joint only offers chicken fingers alongside crinkle cut fries and Cane's own special sauce. Despite the lack of variety on the menu, Raising Cane's has stuck to what it is insanely good at doing: making chicken fingers. And that devotion to their limited menu is what has helped put this fast food chain on the map. In 2016, Raising Cane's opened 50 new locations, proving that keeping it simple can be the perfect path to success.

5. Chick-fil-A


People everywhere just love Chick-Fil-A for their famous chicken sandwiches and waffle fries. It's said that Chick-Fil-A invented the boneless chicken sandwich, and while many people debate this, you can fairly say that Chick-Fil-A does the chicken sandwich better than anyone else. It's also notorious for being closed on Sundays. Despite having some controversy in the news over the years regarding religious beliefs and an anti-gay stance, Chick-Fil-A has warmed the hearts of many and even opened one of its Orlando locations on a Sunday to give out free food and drinks to a local blood bank. According to data for 2016, Chick-Fil-A currently has 1,950 locations with no slowdown in sight.

6. Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs

It started by brothers and firemen, Robin and Chris Sorensen. The idea was to give people a better sandwich than what they were used to having. And thus, it caught on like wildfire. Data for December 2016 shows that there are now over 1,030 Firehouse Subs locations in 44 states, plus Puerto Rico and Canada. The fire burns bright for these cleverly-named subs. The Engineer features smoked turkey breast with sauteed mushrooms and melted Swiss while the Hook and Ladder features smoked turkey breast and Virginia honey ham smothered with Monterey Jack. Get them "fully involved" for the best Firehouse Subs experience.

7. Domino's


The rise of Domino's to the top of the pizza chain ladder is no surprise. After 31 years, it has grown to host 13,000 locations worldwide. There's nothing wildly spectacular about the way Domino's pizza tastes. It's decent and enjoyable but what has catapulted it to the top of the pizza chain business is its accessibility and ease of ordering. Additionally, Domino's has tapped into the millennial market with clever branding and by enabling customers to buy a pizza by simply sending a pizza emoji. Talk about giving this generation what it really in an instant!

8. Dave & Buster's

Dave & Buster's

Dave & Buster's pioneered the "eatertainment" movement in America by creating a place that was much more than a restaurant. All in one entertainment and eating, it capitalized on bringing people in to stay and play in one great location. Serving casual American fare alongside a bonanza of games and sports entertainment, it found the recipe for success. According to recent data, as of July 2016, there are 83 locations in America and one in Canada.

9. Wawa


This convenience store/gas station chain has set out to show America that gas station food can be delicious. Spacious and clean locations offer some of the best hoagies around in Junior, Shorti, and Classic sizes. The coffee bar has shattered the previous image of gas station coffee by actually serving gourmet varieties. Wawa has an almost cultish following and it's easy to see why. Clean stores, tasty food, and incredible variety are the reason why Wawa continues to blossom with over 700 stores throughout the Mid-Atlantic. Most recently, Wawa has been working its way through Florida, much to the delight of the Sunshine State.

10. Zaxby's


It's another chain devoted to chicken but Zaxby's sets itself apart by keeping to its tried and true menu offerings that all ring of a southern twist. You'll find wings, fresh-made Texas toast, and even a banana pudding milkshake here. The Zax sauce is revered in this casual eatery that has grown with such popularity that it now hosts over 660 locations in 16 different states.

Did your favorite restaurant make the cut? If not, stop by one of these eateries today. There's a location near you!