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U.S. quick service restaurant brands

The quick service restaurant (QSR), industry in the United States was said to be worth a sum of approximately 256 billion U.S. dollars in 2018. QSRs, otherwise known as limited service restaurants (LSRs), are establishments that typically serve food quickly and do not provide table service. Variations on the quick service concept mainly consist of fast causal restaurants, food trucks, kiosks and smaller hole-in-the-wall establishments. The U.S. is undeniably the founder of modern-day quick service restaurants. In the U.S., all states are home to QSRs’ – in 2018, California accounted for the highest number, while the least populous state, Wyoming, accounted for the least.

While the U.S. fast food landscape has been inundated by new concepts over the past decade, well-established U.S.-based QSR brands are continuing to grow. Although the U.S. market may be becoming saturated, household brands such as McDonalds show no signs of slowing their growth - expanding their reach to international locations. With a brand value of over 126 billion U.S. dollars, McDonald’s was by far the most valuable fast food brand in the world in 2018, surpassing its closest competitor Starbucks by almost triple. In 2018, McDonald’s was also the largest fast food company in terms of systemwide sales, followed by brands such as Starbucks, Subway and Yum! Brands - parent company of Taco Bell, KFC & Pizza Hut.

Although burger restaurants, like McDonald’s, are the most typically associated with the U.S. quick service restaurant market, the most common type of QSRs that can be found in the United States are sandwich/deli restaurants, which make up 17.6 percent of the market’s total units. Therefore, it may come as no surprise that Subway led the U.S. market in terms of total units with over 24 and a half thousand establishments in the U.S. alone. Chasing Subway’s heels was Starbucks with almost half the number of units than that of the sandwich chain. Additionally, McDonald’s may have the top spot when it comes to sales, but it came in third place in terms of U.S. units, focusing less on its home nation and instead on expansion abroad.

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Quick service restaurant brands: Starbucks

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Key performance indicators: McDonald's

QSR advertising spending in the U.S.


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