The annual Technomic Top 500 report found that 2009 was a brutal year for the industry’s largest concepts, with aggregate systemwide sales for the largest chains falling 0.8 percent. Upstarts, however, including Five Guys, Noodles & Company and Potbelly Sandwich Works, were able to post double-digit increases in sales. Data compiled by the Chicago-based consulting firm revealed that the 500 largest restaurant chains posted aggregate annual sales of $230 billion, down almost $2 ...

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