The Top 200 Canadian restaurant chains achieved $29.2 billion in sales last year, accounting for roughly 60 per cent of Canada's total restaurant sales, according to Technomic's Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report developed in partnership with Kostuch Media. Keeping on par with the overall foodservice industry, the largest 200 chains saw sales grow more than 4 per cent in 2013. Additionally, unit growth jumped nearly 3 per cent to total 25,710 stores.

Twenty-two fast-casual restaurant chains cracked the Top 200 list representing nearly 3 per cent ($795 million) of total Top 200 sales, an increase of 14 per cent in 2013. The fastest growing fast-casual chains in 2013 were:

Fastest Growing Canadian Fast-Casual Chains

Ranked by percent sales growth in 2013


Sales ($MM)

Sales Growth

(per cent)

Unit Growth

(per cent)

Concept Positioning

Panera Bread Co.




Upscale fast-casual bakery cafe

Five Guys




No-frills menu of signature hamburgers

Thai Zone




Quick and convenient Thai concept

Hero Certified Burgers




Preservative-free 100% angus beef burgers

Thai Express




Thai dishes served in a speedy format

Source: Technomic Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report

Technomic's Top 200 Canadian Chain Restaurant Report found that limited-service chains accounted for nearly 74 per cent ($21.5 billion) of total Top 200 sales and 86 per cent of units (22,073). Sales increased almost 5 per cent from the prior year, and units increased 3 per cent. The fastest-growing limited-service menu segments were "all other" (donut, healthy, other beverage, other ethnic, poutine and snack), Asian and burger—up 10 per cent, 7 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively.

Full-service chains saw sales grow 3 per cent to $7.7 billion in 2013. Overall, full-service chains netted an increase of almost 2 per cent in unit count to a total of 3,637. The full-service segment accounted for 26 per cent of sales and 14 per cent of Top 200 units.

"Growth in the fast-casual subsegment is intensifying," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic. "Burger, Mexican and Asian fast-casual concepts are poised for greater expansion. With a focus on freshness, quality, customizable menu offerings and an appealing ambiance, they are in a sweet spot between fast food and full service. In a highly competitive climate, differentiation is key, and fast-casual restaurants are hitting the mark."

Technomic's updated Top 200 report is the only publication that provides a comprehensive executive report (featuring key themes, forecasted outlook and opportunities) and rankings of the Top 200 Canadian chain restaurant brands by 2013 sales, units, and alphabetically. Findings include:

  • Tim Hortons firmly maintained its top spot with Canadian sales of over $6 billion in 2013, up 4 per cent from 2012. McDonald's ($4 billion) and Subway ($1.6 billion) were again positioned at numbers two and three.
  • The 22 fast-casual chains within the Top 200 are comprised of Asian (6), burger (5), bakery cafe (4), Mexican (2), other sandwich (2), chicken (1), Greek (1) and healthy (1) concepts.