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What Are The Most Popular Chain Restaurants in the World?

From fast food to casual dining, restaurant chains serve billions of people all over the world, and generate billions of dollars each year for their efforts. The restaurant industry is highly competitive, and measuring the top performers can be difficult. You can look at sales, brand strength, locations, and growth to uncover the major players.

We’ll take a closer look at ten of the top revenue-generating chain restaurants around the world, exploring what makes them successful and how they’ve managed to stay ahead of the curve in an ever-changing industry. Beginning with number ten, here are the most popular chain restaurants in the world.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Founded by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts in 1950, this multinational coffee and donuts company operates over 12,900 locations in 42 countries. Coffee and donuts are big business apparently, because Dunkin’ Donuts generated an estimated $1.25 billion in revenue in 2020, earning it the 10th spot on our list.

With its focus on coffee, doughnuts, and other baked goods, Dunkin’ Donuts has become a popular choice for breakfast and snacks. Its simple menu and quick service make it a convenient option for busy customers on the go. Dunkin’ Donuts continues to expand its reach, build its brand, and introduce new menu items, which should mean more sales long into the future.


Wendy’s paved its path to the ninth place with square hamburgers, sea salt fries, and Frostys. What Dave Thomas started in Columbus, Ohio in 1969 has grown into a massive fast-food enterprise that generated $2.09 billion in revenue in 2022 alone.

With its focus on quality ingredients and fresh, made-to-order meals, Wendy’s has built a loyal customer base around the world. Its innovative menu items and commitment to sustainability and responsible sourcing have also helped it to set itself apart from many other fast food chains.

Domino’s Pizza

Domino’s Pizza generated an impressive $4.48 billion in revenue in 2022. The American pizza chain is a household name, and a delicious source of pizza, pasta, wings, oven-baked sandwiches, and sides for families all over the planet.

The company’s dedication to online ordering, fast delivery times, and delicious pizza has earned them 30% stake of the pizza delivery market, and the eight best revenue numbers in the industry. They continue to innovate too, with investments in drone, robot, and self-driving delivery systems.

Restaurant Brands International

Restaurant Brands International is a Canadian-US multinational fast food holding company that was formed in 2014 when Canadian coffee giant Tim Hortons merged with American fast food chain Burger King. In 2017, the company expanded and acquired Popeyes as well. With a revenue of 6.36 billion in 2022, Restaurant Brands International ranks as the 7th largest fast food chain in the world.

The company’s focus on acquisition and expansion has helped it to establish a strong presence in the fast food industry. Its popular brands, including Burger King, Tim Hortons, and Popeyes are projected to continue to dominate their respective segments as RBI’s profit and stock price continue their climb.

Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill generated $8.6 billion in revenue in 2022, with locations in the United States, UK, Canada, Germany, and France. Chipotle specializes in tacos, burritos, and bowls, with a focus on customization and high-quality ingredients. It’s become a popular choice for those seeking healthy alternatives to the standard fast food options.

They’re one of the first brands to commit to local and organic produce. They commit to using only responsibly raised meat too. Which is a testament to the company’s commitment to quality ingredients. One look at their financials and it’s clear that their dedication to sustainability and nutrition is working wonders.

YUM! Brands

Yum! Brands secured the fifth position on the list of the top 10 largest fast food chains in the world, with a revenue of $6.8 billion in 2022. This American fast food corporation is listed on the Fortune 1000 and operates a variety of brands, including KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, The Habit Burger Grill, and WingStreet, across the world, except for in China where the divisions are operated by Yum China.

With continued expansion into new markets, a focus on innovation, and a portfolio of some of the most recognized fast-food restaurants in the world, Yum! Brands has solidified its position as one of the most successful fast food corporations in the industry.

YUM China

Yum China owns the exclusive rights to operate a variety of fast food chains in China, including KFC, Pizza Hut, East Dawning, Little Sheep, Taco Bell, COFFii & JOY, and Huang Ji Huang, catering to a diverse range of customers. It’s the largest restaurant company in China, generating an estimated $9.56 billion in revenue in 2022.

The company was spun off of Yum Brands in 2016, and quickly eclipsed its compatriot. Today, YUM China operates over 11,000 restaurants spread across 1,600 cities, and employs over 450,000 people in mainland China. It’s an industry powerhouse that’s poised to grow even bigger in the coming years.


Subway is a privately held American restaurant franchise that specializes in selling submarine sandwiches and salads. Interestingly, the company does not own any of its locations. Instead, Subway collects 8% of revenue from each franchise. With 43,600 stores worldwide, Subway has the highest number of locations of any restaurant in the world in 2020, and generated 16.1 Billion in revenue in 2021.

Subway’s international headquarters are located in Milford, Connecticut, with five regional centers supporting the company’s international operations. Subway’s impressive global presence and unique franchising model have earned it a prominent spot in the fast food industry, and impressive sales numbers.


With a revenue of $23.18 billion in 2022, McDonald’s has over 37,855 outlets in more than 100 countries, serving a staggering 70-million customers a day. The American fast-food company is known for its signature items, including the Big Mac, Chicken McNuggets, and the McChicken, along with a variety of other products such as breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, wraps, and desserts.

McDonald’s revenue is primarily derived from rent, royalties, and fees paid by its franchisees, in addition to sales from company-operated restaurants. It is also the world’s second-largest private employer, with roughly 200,000 office employees and 2 million restaurant workers spread out across over 100 countries.


In 2022, the title for the largest fast food chain in the world belongs to Starbucks, which generated an impressive $32.9 billion in revenue. The iconic chain of coffeehouses and roastery reserves is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and caters to quality-minded coffee drinkers.

Starbucks offers a wide range of hand-made coffee based on lighter roasts, as well as hot and cold drinks, whole-bean coffee, and a variety of other products including teas, juices, pastries, and snacks. Unlike many other fast food chains, Starbucks does not follow a franchise model, with all locations being company-owned. From its ever-popular pumpkin spice latte to its seasonal and location-specific offerings, Starbucks has become a household name and continues to expand its reach across the globe.

Order Up!

It’s no coincidence that the restaurant chains that generate the most revenue are the ones that are the most recognizable. Their global presence and ability to consistently provide convenient and affordable meals has made them a staple in the lives of many people. While many of these chains have faced their fair share of controversies and criticisms, they continue to adapt and evolve, introducing new menu items and expanding into new markets.

As the fast food industry continues to grow and change, it will be interesting to see which brands will emerge as the leaders of the future. For now, the likes of McDonald’s, Subway, and Starbucks remain the largest fast food chains in the world, and it seems likely that they will continue to dominate the industry for many years to come.