This story is part of NRN’s Top 100 special report, a proprietary census ranking the foodservice industry’s largest restaurant chains and companies by sales and unit data, among other metrics.
The restaurant business always has been about growth. Beginning in the latter half of the 20th century, however, expansion really fired up. Paststudies reveal a period of explosive growth in systemwide sales and unit counts beginning in the early 1970s and running through the millennium. More recently, though, that growth has slowed, reflecting a more mature period.