Sluggish Economy no Match for Top Sandwich Chain Growth

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Sluggish Economy no Match for Top Sandwich Chain Growth

NEW YORK -- Though the economy has moved from bad to worse, the limited-service sandwich segment is holding its own, according to Technonmic's "2008 Top 100 Limited-Service Sandwich Chains Restaurant Report," CSNews Online's sister publication Progressive Grocer reported.

In 2007, the study found Subway added nearly a half-billion dollars in revenue and 440 new units over the prior year, while Quiznos registered the second-highest sales growth, with $261 million and 178 units.

"The top 100 sandwich chains have displayed an array of tactics for weathering the economic storm -- from revising their pricing strategies, to making menu offerings more memorable and substantial, to renovating their stores," said Darren Tristano, executive vice president for the Chicago-based foodservice consultancy.

"The 2008 Technomic Top 100 Limited-Service Sandwich Chains Restaurant Report" identified the leading limited-service sandwich chains, analyzed top performers by sales and units, looked at important trends in the segment, and provided insight into where limited-service sandwich opportunities exist.

Among the study's highlights:

The limited-service sandwich industry totaled $21.2 billion in sales in 2007, of which the top 100 accounted for $18.8 billion, or 89 percent of the total. Sales for the top 100 grew 6.4 percent, outperforming the overall sandwich industry's growth of 5.7 percent. Unit growth of the top 100 was up by 1.8 percent for a total of 38,790 units, compared with growth of 1.6 percent for the limited-service sandwich industry, with a total of 55,610 units. The top 100 makes up nearly 70 percent of the industry's units.

Subway led the category with sales of over $8 billion, which accounted for 43.5 percent of total top 100 sales. Arby's followed, with an estimated $3.3 billion in sales, comprising 17.6 percent of top 100 sales. Rounding out the top three was Quiznos Subs, with an estimated $1.9 billion in sales, or 10 percent of the top 100's total. Remaining chains in the top 100 are much smaller in size. The median-size chain saw sales of $23.1 million.

Within the limited-service sandwich segment, the sub, deli, and sandwich subcategories represented the greatest number of concepts. Subcategories with the highest 2007 sales were sub, at $12.2 billion, and roast beef at $3.4 billion. The sandwich and deli subcategories showed the greatest percentage sales growth, with 19 percent and 11.1 percent, respectively.

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