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Why wasn’t my chain or company included?

If a chain did not generate at least $380 million in domestic systemwide sales in its Latest Year — the result attributed to the No. 100 chain in this year’s Top 100 study — it will not appear in any of the Top 100 chains listings. Similarly, a company had to generate at least $338.4 million in U.S. foodservice revenue to appear in this year’s Top 100 companies rankings. To qualify for the Second 100 report, a chain had to have generated $134.4 million in domestic systemwide sales in its Latest Year, and a company needed to book at least $96 million in U.S. foodservice revenue.

How do systemwide sales differ from revenue?

U.S. systemwide sales are a total for every domestic company-owned, franchised and licensed outlet within a chain or multiunit operation. Revenue is a company’s top-line income from food and beverage sales, generally from company-owned and -managed units and from foodservice-related fees and percentage-of-sales royalties collected from franchisees.

How is Nation’s Restaurant News’ estimated sales per unit metric calculated?

Top 100 and Second 100 sales-per-unit figures result from mathematical equations of systemwide sales growth and year-end change in number of units, and are done according to NRN’s proprietary formula. For consistency and comparability, NRN estimates partial-year sales contributions from units opened and closed during the respective years. Units with atypical sizes or sales capacities may be excluded.

What is meant by Top 200’s market-share figures?

Within the context of Top 100 and Second 100, the “market” is the aggregate sales of only those chains ranked in the study within a specified segment or category. Market share is an individual chain’s proportional share of that total only during each of the three years compared.

Why do some Preceding-Year and Prior-Year rankings and data differ from presumably corresponding data and rankings in last year’s study?

The Top 200 statistical universe is unique each year, largely because growing entities qualify for first-time inclusion and supplant other entities. Moreover, each year’s research may yield new, more precise information, particularly with respect to privately held entities, necessitating revisions of previously reported data for comparable years. Additionally, previously reported data may be restated from year to year to reflect continuing operations following newly completed mergers, acquisitions or divestitures.

With respect to the separate rankings of the Top 100 and Second 100 entities, respectively, it should be noted that consecutive ranks of No. 1 through No. 200 are assigned only in the primary rankings of systemwide sales and corporate revenue. After the Top 100 and Second 100 groups are divided, subsequent rankings on the basis of growth, number of units, sales per unit and market share are assigned in two exclusive 1-through-100 ranges within the respective Top 100 and Second 100 statistical sets.

My chain appears on other industry sales rankings, yet it’s not included in yours. Why?

Varying studies employ different criteria. We believe Top 100 and Second 100 are the industry’s most meaningful surveys of domestic volume, growth and market trends because they compare leading organizations only on the basis of their consumer foodservice results in the United States, excluding nonfoodservice sales and revenue streams.

But my chain has more units or higher sales per unit than do some of the chains included in those rankings. Why wasn’t it included?

Only the Top 100 and Second 100 chains, as determined by systemwide sales, are ranked by such other criteria as number of units, sales per unit and rates of growth. In other words, the universe for those rankings is limited to chains that appear in the table titled “Top 100 (or Second 100) U.S. chain systemwide foodservice sales.”

My company’s revenue far exceeds the figure shown for many of the corporations ranked in the Top 200, and yet you omitted my company. Why?

Companies were included in the Top 100 or Second 100 because of their foodservice revenue, not their total revenue. The Top 100 study attempts to exclude proceeds from all other business activities, such as manufacturing, distribution, general retail, nonfood contract services, property rental and amusements.

Some tables’ ranking numbers are duplicated and some numbers are not assigned. Why?

Ties. Alphabetical order is not used to assign a lower ranking to chains or companies whose results exactly match those of other entities.

Why did you stop including hotel brands and theme parks in the chain study?

Much like our decision to eliminate contract chains in the 2012 Top 200 report, we found that these categories represented a less valuable part of the study, and their removal would enable us to focus better on emerging restaurant chains as opposed to businesses that claim foodservice as a supplemental part of their income.

Moreover, in the case of hotels, none of the large chains report publicly nor offer guidance on their food and beverage sales. In the end we were spending too much time on a relatively small number of hotel chains using models that relied on once-solid insights that are now too far removed from the times in which they were acquired.

With regard to theme parks, we found that there simply was too great a difference among concepts in the theme-park groups. At the same time, there also was too great a disparity between theme parks and the other chains in the study, which typically comprise hundreds to thousands of small- to medium-size boxes offering only one style of food, not a handful to dozens of multiuse sites offering everything from cotton-candy carts to room service.