More than any other industry, the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the restaurant industry. The National Restaurant Association estimated that 110,000 restaurants closed temporarily or permanently closed in 2020, with consumers cooking at home and restaurateurs taking refuge in the face of the national shutdown.
It wasn’t the kind of economic environment that would spur a restaurant chain to open new locations. But all was not catastrophic either. Some friendly food entrepreneurs and franchise owners have nevertheless braved the headwinds and planted flags in new markets.
To make a list of America’s fastest growing restaurant chains in terms of new units added, 24/7 Wall St. took a look at the latest data recently released by the leading restaurant business publication. News from the nation’s restaurants, from NRN’s partnership with the food industry research and data company Essential data and their proprietary Firefly database.
The channels on this list have increased their footprint by at least 20% compared to 2019. Fortunately, none are among the American brands that went bankrupt during COVID.
Some chains already have a good number of units and are building on that. A mall staple Wetzel Pretzels and famous hamburger restaurant Shake Shack already operate over 200 locations and set for more growth. But the most dynamic growth is observed in the new chains which have not yet saturated the market and therefore have even more opportunities to develop.
No.1 on this list, Crumbl Cookies launched its first store in Utah in 2017. Cookie connoisseurs must be craving their treats because in just four years the brand has reached 255 locations across the country. The bakery offers a rotating weekly menu of different cookies as well as deliveries in its signature pink box. The success of Crumbl Cookies proves that in tough times people crave comfort food, and there is nothing more heartwarming than a chocolate chip cookie. For more delicious treats, see popular desserts in all states that you must try.