Chick-fil-A leads restaurants in market share gain

A look at the top restaurant retailers from NRF’s 2020 Hot Retailers list

The National Retail Federation’s annual report on the Hot 100 Retailers is based on increases in domestic sales for the most recently completed fiscal year. The breakout charts look at sector leaders.

Chick-fil-A sports a market share gain of more than twice as much as runner-up Chipotle Mexican Grill. The chain, which doesn’t open on Sundays, leapt over such stalwarts as Taco Bell and Subway to become the third highest-grossing chain in the country, behind McDonald’s and Starbucks, according to Restaurant Business Magazine.

NRF 2020 Hot 100 Retailers

Check out the full list of Hot 100 Retailers here.

All restaurants are facing challenges with new operating rules in light of COVID-19. The fast-food segment is already geared to packaging food for takeout and deliveries. For sit-down restaurants, it’s a different story, as social distancing has to be maintained in the dining room, which means operating at 50 percent capacity or less. The same distancing rules apply to restaurant bars (if patrons are allowed in there at all), so there’s no lifeline there.

Restaurants — both sit-down and fast-food — are offering limited menus to make reopening much easier. Outback Steakhouse took the wedge salad and French onion soup off the menu during the pandemic to facilitate pickup and deliveries and kept them off when restaurants reopened. McDonald’s is keeping salads and bagels off the menu for the time being and is still on the fence about whether or not to revive the all-day breakfast menu offerings.

One thing the pandemic did was hasten Americans’ desire for food deliveries from restaurants. Delivery orders will represent 13 percent of all restaurant orders by the end of the year, according to analysts at Morgan Stanley. If the pandemic had never happened, the analysts said, the 13 percent figure would not have been reached until 2023.

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