- Each must have at least 40 locations nationwide
- Each must have at least 10 locations statewide
- Increase of at least five stores (except in cases of super-small states)
This methodology is meant to rule out super-low growth, but super-high percentage, and naturally favors smaller chains (especially in big states). But since the companies with the most overall nationwide growth by pure location count (Domino's, Starbucks, and Dunkin') won 11, eight, and six states respectively, and big chains like Taco Bell and Subway took smaller markets (New Hampshire and Vermont), it gave us confidence that our methods rewarded the little guy more than they punished Big Burger.
Speaking of Big Burger, the largest burger chains didn't fare well by these stats. Up-and-comers like Carl's Jr./Hardee's and Checkers did OK, but the biggest categories by far were pizza (Domino's, Marco's, and Little Caesars), subs (Jersey Mike's, Jimmy John's, and Subway), and coffee-centric businesses like Starbucks, Caribou, and Dunkin'.