Examining year-to-year growth in sales is one of the most effective ways of determining the overall health of a concept. This year’s field of top growth chains was dominated by Limited-Service brands, which took eight of the top 10 spots. LSR/Sandwich players Firehouse Subs and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches claimed the top two positions, while a mixture of large and smaller fast-casual and quick-service concepts rounded out the group. Just two Casual-Dining brands, Cheddar’s and Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar, represented the full-service sector. Chains are ranked by percent growth in U.S. systemwide sales.

10. Panda Express

Rounding out the top 10 is quick-service Asian concept Panda Express, which bested Preceding-Year sales growth of 11.8 percent for a Latest-Year finish just behind No. 9 growth chain Zaxby's.

U.S. systemwide sales growth: 16.2%
U.S. systemwide sales: $1.8 billion
Top 100 sales rank: 34
U.S. unit count: 1,514 (up 6.5%)
ESPU: $1.2 million (up 8.8%)