A chicken chain that breaks the fried-chicken mold is taking over the US.
In June, Nation’s Restaurant News released its annual Top 100 list, which included a breakdown of the 10 fastest-growing US chains as measured by American sales growth in 2016.
While these chains aren’t necessarily the biggest in the US, they’re well on their way.
Opening dozens of locations in 2016 and increasing sales by millions of dollars, these brands are the ones to watch out for. If there isn’t one in your town yet, there probably will be soon.
Americans seem to be craving chicken more than ever. In 2016, three of five fastest-growing restaurant brands were chains selling chicken fingers, wings, or sandwiches.
Here are the five fastest-growing restaurant chains in America
Chick-fil-A had a standout year, increasing sales by 16.9% and opening its 2,000th location. One major indicator of Chick-fil-A’s success is its incredibly high estimated sales per unit, which reached $3.9 million this year. That is more than any other limited-service or chicken concept on the market, and it is roughly three times as much as what a KFC location brings in on average. Analysts say exceptional customer service sets the chain apart from its competition.
Wingstop increased sales by 16.9% in 2016, reaching $943.3 million. Last year marked the company’s 13th consecutive year of same-store sales growth. CEO Charlie Morrison told Business Insider that the chain’s success was rooted in just a few straightforward ideas.
“Our brand is founded on simplicity,” Morrison said. “Wings, fries, and sides make up about 95% of what we sell.”
3. Marco’s Pizza
This 770-location chain has made NRN’s list of the top-five fastest growing brands two years in a row. The fastest-growing pizza chain in the US increased sales by 17.1% in 2016, reaching $488.9 million.
The pizza industry is hot right now as new tech makes ordering and delivery easier than ever before. This chain, based in Toledo, Ohio, is ready to cash in on the trend.
2. Jersey Mike’s Subs
As the fastest-growing sandwich chain in the country, Jersey Mike’s increased sales by 22.2%.
For the past three years, the 1,187-location chain has earned the top spot as the fastest-growing chain in the US. However, getting the silver medal with total sales of $825 million is nothing to sneeze at.
1. Raising Cane’s
Raising Cane’s, a chicken-finger chain known for its Texas toast and simple menu, increased sales by a whopping 25.9% in 2016.
The chain is still small compared with the competition, with only 310 locations. However, it is growing rapidly, opening 59 new restaurants in the past year. With Raising Cane’s $640.5 million in sales in 2016, Chick-fil-A will need to watch its back.