Sales at Sandwich and Chicken Chains Outpace Other Foods

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Sales at quick-service sandwich and chicken restaurants outpaced burgers and other menu segments in the U.S. fast-food category in 2001, according to restaurant consultant Technomic.

Strong growth
Sales within the sandwich chains, including Subway Restaurants and Quizno's Corp., grew 12% to $14.6 billion, while total sales among quick-service chicken restaurants, led by Tricon Global Restaurants' KFC and privately held Chick-fil-A, grew 7% to $12.1 billion.

Doughnut chains saw sales grow by 7%, nearly triple the growth of fast-food burger restaurants, which grew 2.8%. Ice cream chains were up 2%.

Technomic plans to release additional details next week.

While sales at KFC, the segment's leader, grew 6% in 2001, its share of the market remained flat at 38.8%. Chick-fil-A took the No. 2 spot from AFC Enterprises' Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits. The chain, which uses cows to advertise its chicken sandwiches and wraps, saw sales top $1.24 billion, up 14.4%, and its segment share lifted to 10.2%. Popeyes' share fell slightly to 9.6% on $1.17 billion in estimated U.S. sales.

The chicken restaurant showing the fast growth in its segment was El Pollo Loco, which boosted sales 11.1% to $339 million.

Burgers still top sales
Burgers, though, still dominate the fast-food category, with overall sales of $47.6 billion.

Wendy's International took a bite out of the market share held by the two leading burger chains, according to Technomic data. Wendy's, the No. 3 chain, increased its market share to 13.2% from 12.7%, while No. 1 McDonald's Corp.'s share fell to 43% from 43.1% and No. 2 Burger King, a unit of Diageo, saw its share drop to 18.4% from 18.8%.

In addition, CKE Restaurants' Hardee's Food Systems dropped out of top five after its share fell to 4% from 5.3%. Regional players Jack-in-the Box and Sonic Corp. each moved up a place in the top five.

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