Employment in the quick service restaurant franchise industry in the U.S. 2007-2018

In 2018, an estimated 3.78 million employees worked in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) franchise industry in the United States. The number of employees in the sector has increased by around 30 percent since 2010.

Restaurant franchising in the United States

There are two types of QSR: company-owned stores and franchised. Company-owned stores are managed by a qualified and experienced employee of the company, whereas the franchise model sees an entrepreneur invest their own money into the project. The franchisee becomes the owner of the restaurant once they pay the initial start-up fees, and it is their responsibility to ensure the success of the store. In the United States, the number of franchised stores in the QSR industry was estimated to be around 195,000 in 2018, and the output of those franchise businesses was projected to generate approximately 255.5 billion U.S. dollars.

How do companies make money from franchised stores?

Burger chain McDonald’s has grown from humble beginnings to become the leading QSR worldwide. In 2018, restaurant sales from the company’s 35,085 franchised stores located around the world increased to more than 86 billion U.S. dollars. The company's franchised restaurants generated a worldwide revenue of around 11 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 – around 64 percent of which was made through rent payments. It is worth noting that franchised sales are not recorded as revenues of McDonald’s.

Employment in the quick service restaurant (QSR) franchise industry in the United States from 2007 to 2018

Estimated number of employees
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Release date

January 2018


United States

Survey time period

2007 to 2018

Supplementary notes

* Forecast
All figures are estimates.

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Statistics on "Restaurants in the U.S."

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