10 Popular Restaurant Chains That Are Rapidly Expanding
After a year in which countless restaurants were forced to permanently close their doors, it's encouraging to know that other popular chains managed to grow. In fact, one-third of the top 500 chains in 2020 actually added locations, according to Restaurant Business.
The most recent Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, which has been published annually since 1974 by Technomic, revealed the 10 chains that grew the most last year. The pandemic wasn't enough to slow down Teriyaki Madness—or any of the nine other restaurants that made this exclusive list. (Related: 100 Unhealthiest Foods on the Planet)
Fans of Teriyaki Madness love its protein-packed bowls, rice and noodle sides, and classic Asian apps. The chain grew a massive 52% in 2020, and its portfolio bolstered 96 locations. (For reference, the top 10 restaurant chains posted "the strongest unit growth" year over year in the U.S.)
Related: Are you a fan of Asian food? If so, you don't want to miss this major menu announcement from Panda Express.
Clean Juice grew a whopping 51% last year, and its total footprint expanded to 125 locations. The list appears to suggest that when it comes to chain restaurants, Americans crave more healthy eating choices.
The only thing more timeless than our love for the Wahlberg brothers is our love for a good burger. Wahlburger's grew by 45% in 2020, and its total number of locations increased to 45.
Walk-On's Bistreaux & Bar
This Louisiana-inspired sports bar chain is co-owned by NFL star Drew Brees. It grew by 36% last year, upping its total number of locations to 45.
Kung Fu Tea
Kung Fu Tea, a burgeoning boba and beverage chain, grew by 34% in 2020. It had 292 locations in the U.S. alone.
California Fish Grill
Another healthy pick! California Fish Grill features a menu with nutritional data that we can get behind. Plus, it offers sustainably sourced seafood at affordable prices. The chain grew by 31% last year, increasing its footprint to 38 locations. A restaurant in Las Vegas is also coming soon.
Chicken Salad Chick
Chicken Salad Chick speaks to Technomic's observation that "anything that served chicken . . . did well." The chain grew 22% in 2020, expanding its reach to 176 locations.
A review of Chicken Salad Chick's menu suggests that not a single one of its dishes is fried (big ups, Chicken Salad Chick!), while a four-ounce scoop of chicken salad clocks in at 340 calories and clocks out before reaching 500.
The LA Crawfish
Cajun's always a classic! The LA Crawfish grew by 20% in 2020, upping its total number of locations to 30.
Founded in 1998, this Nebraska coffee chain grew by 18% last year to number 315 locations. Why exactly is it called "Scooter's?" The brand says it wanted to "make customers happy by helping them 'scoot in' and 'scoot out' quickly."
Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants
Cooper's Hawk, which opened its first location in a Chicago suburb in 2005, grew its portfolio by 17% in 2020 to number 48 locations. Inspired by Napa Valley, the chain offers a wine-driven dining experience.
Before you order a glass of wine, don't forget to check out One Major Side Effect of Drinking Alcohol on an Empty Stomach, Dietitian Says. Also, don't forget to sign up for the Eat This, Not That! newsletter to get the top food news delivered to your inbox every day!