America’s 25 Biggest Restaurant Chains

Epics/iStock via Getty Images
Epics/iStock via Getty Images / Epics/iStock via Getty Images

Even as Americans' tastes and dining habits shift, chain restaurants remain part of the country's landscape. Many major chain restaurants thrived in 2020 when smaller companies and independent businesses were hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic. To see which names dominated the market, check out this list of the 25 biggest chain restaurants in the United States.

As part of its annual restaurant rankings, Nation's Restaurant News collaborated with Datassnetial to analyze the domestic system-wide sales of 500 businesses in 2020. McDonald's, the most successful fast food chain on Earth, also reigns supreme in the U.S., with $39.5 billion in overall sales last year. Behind it is the coffee giant Starbucks with $18.7 billion in sales.

Taco Bell lands at the No.3 spot, and Chick-fil-A makes it to No.4, beating out other chicken chains on the list like Popeyes and KFC. Wendy's rounds out the top five. You can view the full list of the 25 biggest chain restaurants of 2020 below.

Though they're ubiquitous today, many successful fast food companies come from humble beginnings. The first gadget used to fry Taco Bell's shells was made by a chicken coop manufacturer, and Chick-fil-A originally sold chicken breasts rejected by airlines. Here are more facts about your favorites chain restaurants.

  1. McDonald's
  2. Starbucks
  3. Taco Bell
  4. Chick-fil-A
  5. Wendy's
  6. Burger King
  7. Subway
  8. Dunkin'
  9. Domino's
  10. Panera Bread
  11. Chipotle
  12. Pizza Hut
  13. KFC
  14. Popeyes
  15. Sonic Drive-In
  16. Buffalo Wild Wings
  17. Arby's
  18. Little Caesars
  19. Dairy Queen
  20. Jack in the Box
  21. Panda Express
  22. Olive Garden
  23. Papa John's
  24. Chili's
  25. Applebee's