13 Fastest Growing Chain Restaurants in 2024

These fan favorite chain restaurants are set for massive growth this year.

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Updated June 6, 2024
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A number of restaurants couldn’t withstand the economic headwinds of COVID and ended up shutting their doors. However, some companies have iterated and adapted, emerging even stronger than before.

With the days of social distancing behind us, many chains are expanding again, opening new locations around the globe. While dining out might not help you save money on groceries, it’s certainly handy for a quick bite on an errands day. 

Here are a few of the fastest-growing restaurants out there.

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McDonald’s

Colin Temple/Adobe mcdonalds restaurant

Hardly new to the restaurant game, McDonald’s remains a perennial customer favorite, with $25.5 billion in revenue in 2023. In a press announcement, the burger chain stated that it plans to have over 50,000 restaurants by 2027 as part of its “Accelerating the Arches” strategy.

Starbucks

Castleski/Adobe starbucks coffee shop

With over 17,000 locations in the U.S., this beloved coffee chain still believes it has room to grow. They have plans to expand to 55,000 stores by 2030. In 2023, the company earned $35.97 billion in revenue — up 11.55% from the year before.

Chick-Fil-A

Tada Images/Adobe chick-fil-a restaurant

This restaurant chain has been steadily gaining market share in the fast-food chicken space. Their growth has been steady, with new locations opening up each month in 2024. Chick-fil-A currently operates over 3,000 restaurants in 48 states, and that number is growing. The company made over $21.5 billion in 2023.

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Taco Bell

Refrina/Adobe exterior of taco bell

This Mexican-inspired chain had 8,564 stores in 32 countries as of 2023 — up from 8,218 the year before. However, the company has big plans for future growth as they aim to have over 10,000 stores in the U.S. alone in the coming years. Taco Bell had revenue of $2.0 billion in 2023.

Wendy’s

Paul Cartwright/Adobe wendys logo exterior

Another veteran on the fast food scene, Wendy’s currently operates over 7,000 stores worldwide. The company has set its sights higher, to between 7,600 and 7,800 new stores globally by 2025. 

Despite the market demand and the company’s ambitions, problems with local permits have stymied growth. However, Wendy’s is pressing forward, believing the challenges are only temporary.

Dunkin’

Aaron/Adobe dunkin donuts brand sign

While a far cry from its main competitor Starbucks, Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts) still has over 13,000 stores worldwide. In recent years, it has focused growth on nontraditional locations, such as in hospitals, travel stops, universities, and hotels rather than freestanding store growth. 

As of November 2023, over 2.7 million square feet of Dunkin’ stores were under construction with more in the planning phases. With $1.4 billion in 2023 revenue, this coffee chain has room to grow.

Slim Chickens

JHVEPhoto/Adobe slim chickens restaurant

This restaurant is known for all-natural chicken and Southern comfort food. It has opened 70 stores per year and will increase that rate by 50% by 2025. There are currently over 235 Slim Chickens stores in operation, with a whopping 1,150 units in development. The company’s 2023 revenue was $15 million.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Kristina Blokhin/Adobe tropical smoothie cafe

This chain opened 176 units in 2023, which represents a 14% growth over the year prior. An additional 39 new Tropical Smoothie Cafes opened in Q1 of 2024, and with 64 new franchise agreements, there are sure to be more to come. The company made $1.25 billion in sales in 2023.

Teriyaki Madness

JHVEPhoto/Adobe teriyaki madness restaurant sign

Sales are up for this Asian-inspired restaurant. The last published annual sales number was $111.6 million. While they were at nearly 150 stores at the end of 2023, the company has signed franchise agreements for 78 new units. The growth of this small company has been staggering.

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The Habit Burger Grill

sheilaf2002/Adobe the habit burger grill

The Habit is a smaller player in the crowded burger-and-fries restaurant space, with only 370 units currently. Since the company joined Yum Brands, many existing franchisees are looking to add The Habit stores to their profiles. 

With 2022 revenue of $661 million, The Habit is sure to get some fuel from its massive corporate parent’s momentum and expand past the California-centric footprint it currently occupies.

Papa John’s

Philip J Openshaw/Adobe papa johns pizza

This popular pizza chain operates over 5,900 stores worldwide, but they are planning to add between 1,150 and 1,400 stores by 2025. 

While one franchisee is set to add 50 stores in the Midwest, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida, much of the company’s growth is set to be international. Papa John’s earned $2.14 billion in revenue for 2023.

Jersey Mike's

Tada Images/Adobe jersey mikes subs sign

This popular sub sandwich joint added 250 stores annually for the past three years, culminating in 2,675 stores at the end of 2023. The company’s revenue is $3.2 billion, but its sights are aimed higher — $6.5 billion in sales and 4,000 stores by 2027.

Crumbl

Tada Images/Adobe beaverton crumbl cookies

Serving only fresh-baked cookies, this chain doubled its store count from 326 in 2021 to 689 in 2022. The company is less than 10 years old, but it just opened its 1,000th store in February 2024. While this cookie vendor has had some recent growing pains from quick expansion, their revenue is still over $1 billion.

Bottom line

Heorshe/Adobe mcdonalds at changi airport

While margins might be tight with inflationary food prices and rising wages, that hasn’t deterred corporations and franchisees from seeking greater expansion of their restaurants. 

The above chains are some of the fastest-growing companies in the sector, earning extra income and adding new restaurants each month.

Their continued growth showcases resilience and an optimistic outlook for the future of the industry, which is expected to grow to $1.1 trillion in 2024.

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Author Details

Jenni Sisson

Jenni Sisson is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on personal finance, real estate, and entrepreneurship. She has been published in Business Insider and The Ways to Wealth. In addition to writing, Jenni hosts the Mama's Money Map podcast to help fellow stay-at-home moms on their journey to financial freedom.