Technomic finds solid growth for largest Canadian restaurant chains, driven by emerging fast-casual segment


Press release
June 26, 2014

The Top 200 Canadian restaurant chains achieved $29.2 billion in sales last year, accounting for roughly 60 per cent of Canada’s total restaurant sales, according to Technomic’s Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report. Keeping on par with the overall foodservice industry, the largest 200 chains saw sales grow more than four per cent in 2013. Additionally, unit growth jumped nearly three per cent to total 25,710 stores.

Twenty-two fast-casual restaurant chains cracked the Top 200 list representing nearly three per cent ($795 million) of total Top 200 sales, an increase of 14 per cent in 2013. The fastest growing fast-casual chains in 2013 were:

ChainSales ($MM)Sales Growth (per cent)Unit Growth (per cent)Concept Positioning
Fastest growing Canadian fast-casual chains (ranked by percent sales growth in 2013)
Panera Bread Co.$178533Upscale fast-casual bakery cafe
Five Guys634932No-frills menu of signature hamburgers
Thai Zone304050Quick and convenient Thai concept
Hero Certified Burgers393746Preservative-free 100% angus beef burgers
Thai Express803220Thai dishes served in a speedy format
Technomic’s Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report found that limited-service chains accounted for nearly 74 per cent ($21.5 billion) of total Top 200 sales and 86 per cent of units (22,073). Sales increased almost five per cent from the prior year, and units increased three per cent. The fastest-growing limited-service menu segments were “all other” (doughnut, healthy, other beverage, other ethnic, poutine and snack), Asian and burger – up 10 per cent, seven per cent and six per cent, respectively.

Full-service chains saw sales grow three per cent to $7.7 billion in 2013. Overall, full-service chains netted an increase of almost two per cent in unit count to a total of 3,637. The full-service segment accounted for 26 per cent of sales and 14 per cent of Top 200 units.

“Growth in the fast-casual subsegment is intensifying,” said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. “Burger, Mexican and Asian fast-casual concepts are poised for greater expansion. With a focus on freshness, quality, customizable menu offerings and an appealing ambiance, they are in a sweet spot between fast food and full service. In a highly competitive climate, differentiation is key, and fast-casual restaurants are hitting the mark.”

Technomic’s updated Top 200 report is the only publication that provides a comprehensive executive report (featuring key themes, forecasted outlook and opportunities) and rankings of the Top 200 Canadian chain restaurant brands by 2013 sales, units, and alphabetically. Findings include :

  • Tim Hortons firmly maintained its top spot with Canadian sales of over $6 billion in 2013, up four per cent from 2012. McDonald’s ($4 billion) and Subway ($1.6 billion) were again positioned at numbers two and three.
  • The 22 fast-casual chains within the Top 200 are comprised of Asian (6), burger (5), bakery cafe (4), Mexican (2), other sandwich (2), chicken (1), Greek (1) and healthy (1) concepts.
  • The full-service steak menu category enjoyed the biggest increase in sales (seven per cent) and over a six per cent increase in units. The varied menu category saw an increase of nearly four per cent in sales and three per cent growth in units.
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