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FSR 50: Five Segments, Fifty Leaders

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The industry’s highest-performing full-service restaurants are recognized for 2012 sales.
By Daniel P. Smith July 2013 Bar Management

The FSR 50 salutes top performers whose 2012 revenues led the industry across five segments of the full-service restaurant industry: Casual Dining; Family Dining; Upscale Dining; Restaurant Groups; and Independent Operators.

For the first four segments, consisting primarily of the nation's largest full-service restaurant chains, 2012 was a year of success and struggles, momentum and misses—with an intriguing array of mixed results, including some recovering concepts and, sadly, some still-staggering brands. To identify the top 10 restaurant brands by sales volume, FSR looked to Technomic's 2013 Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report.

The final FSR group highlights 10 of the highest-performing independent restaurants that are stand-alone concepts, often landmarks in their respective markets, and most with 2012 revenues in excess of $20 million. Restaurants located inside hotels, casinos, and resorts were not considered. Exhaustive research that included data from published reports, analysis from Chicago-based CHD Experts, and interviews with restaurants that are included on this list as well as some that are not, led to the final determination of the 10 restaurants to include in this competitive category.

Top 10 Casual-Dining Chains

Led by Applebee's $4.5 billion in sales, casual-dining leaders collectively tallied more than $25 billion in 2012.

Top 10 Family-Dining Chains

Cracker Barrel is the standout success in a segment where six of the 10 leaders marked negative growth in sales.

Top 10 Upscale-Dining Chains

Impressive metrics, like Del Frisco's $13.8 million average unit volume, suggest upscale dining's rebound from the recession may be real.

Top 10 Restaurant Groups

Changes in executive leadership, new business models, and brand acquisitions characterize a dynamic year for the industry's largest owners of full-service restaurants.

10 High-Performing, Stand-Along Restaurants

Among the elite independent operators in this group, most have 2012 revenues in excess of $20 million.