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Publication ranks top U.S. restaurant chains

Publication ranks top U.S. restaurant chains

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McDonald's: 13,673

As of 2020, there were 13,673 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States. West Virginia carries the distinction of having the highest density per population of the fast-food chain, with 5.8 stores per 100,000 residents. After that, the next most McDonald’s-populated states include Arkansas, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio. On the opposite end, Rhode Island, New Jersey, New York, and California have the fewest McDonald’s per capita.

The Nation’s Restaurant News, a trade publication, has released its annual listing of the top restaurant chains in the United States, ranked by domestic sales — compiled in collaboration with Dataessential.

The full list covers the top 500 chains. For all of them together, systemwide domestic sales dropped 4.3% in 2020, to $305.1 billion from $319 billion in 2019.

McDonald’s once again led the pack, with systemwide sales of $39.53 billion, just a 0.4% increase over 2019. Starbucks was again in distant second place at $18.71 billion, despite a 5.0% year-over-year decrease. And the Top 10 mostly held steady, except that Wendy’s rose from No. 7 to No. 5, leaping over Subway and Burger King.

Here are the Top 10:

1. McDonald’s

2. Starbucks

3. Taco Bell

4. Chick-fil-A

5. Wendy’s

6. Burger King

7. Subway

8. Dunkin’

9. Domino’s

10. Sonic Drive-In.

Other restaurants in the Top 20, in order, were Panera Bread, Chipotle, Pizza Hut, KFC, Popeyes, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, Little Caesars, Jack in the Box and Panda Express.

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