Second 100 chains as a group added 184 units in the Latest Year, bringing their total domestic count to 19,266. That represented 1.0-percent growth in total stores compared with the Preceding-Year’s increase of 1.5 percent. The aggregate number of company-operated units decreased by 0.3 percent to 9,182 in the Latest Year, versus growth of 0.9 percent a year earlier, while the number of franchised locations rose by 2.1 percent to 10,084 compared with similar Preceding-Year growth of 2.1 percent. Average growth in domestic units slowed to 2.7 percent in the Latest Year from 3.9 percent in the Preceding Year. Fourty-four chains increased their U.S. store base in the Latest Year, versus 48 chains that did so in the Preceding Year.

Below are five more facts of note about the latest results for the Second 100 U.S. Unit Growth Rates.

Dickey's1.  Dickey’s Barbecue Pit took the No. 2 spot in Latest-Year unit growth rate — bested only by Second 100 newcomer Twin Peaks — but the barbecue chain had the distinction of adding the most net new locations, with 113, all through franchising. Another growing chain, Marco’s Pizza, which had the next highest number of net new sites at 103, also grew exclusively through franchising.  

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2.  Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, No. 9, was one of three Second 100 newcomer chains ranked in the top 10 for Latest-Year growth in U.S. locations, joining No. 1 Twin Peaks and No. 5 Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers. Those newcomers had average Latest-Year growth of 36.1 percent. Menchie’s 18.6-percent Latest-Year unit growth was bettered by eight chains, but no Second 100 rival came close to its Preceding-Year growth of 71 percent.

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3. The addition of 2 units normally might not count as a major development, but it was notable for Maggiano’s Little Italy, which ended its Latest Year in June with 46 units after holding steady at 44 through three previous fiscal years. With estimated sales per unit, or ESPU, of $8.5 million, those two restaurants have the potential to make a big impact. It would take nearly seven restaurants generating the Second 100 average ESPU to match the volume of Maggiano’s new additions.

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Ninety Nine Restaurants4. Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, with 105 units, was one of three Second 100 chains — all in the Casual-Dining segment — that had flat U.S. restaurant counts for two consecutive years. The others were Hard Rock Cafe, with 43 units, and Legal Sea Foods, with 31 locations. Because fewer Second 100 chains expanded their store counts in the Latest Year, Ninety Nine, Hard Rock and Legal nevertheless each moved up four places in the rankings.

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Caribou Coffee5. Caribou Coffee fell from the No. 21 ranking with 8.4-percent growth in U.S. units in the Preceding Year to No. 100 in the Latest Year after losing an estimated 31.5 percent of its net domestic stores. The decrease resulted primarily from a plan under new owner Joh. A. Benckiser GmbH to close 80 underperforming company units and reflag 88 as sister brand Peet’s Coffee & Tea sites.

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