releases Top 100 Movers & Shakers

March 16, 2011 | by Valerie Killifer has released its sixth annual Top 100 Movers & Shakers, a ranking of the best fast casual concepts of 2010.

This year’s winner was Firehouse Subs, which was on target to post $233 million in revenue in FY 2010.The company also had its largest increase in average unit volumes in any year other than 1998, when it had only about 30 restaurant locations.

The company also posted a 4.34 percent same-store sales increase for the year and year-end AUV’s of $604,240, handily beating the company’s goal of $590,000 in AUVs by year-end.

Firehouse CEO Don Fox credits the company’s 2010 success to “positive leadership, a strong operational culture, and a new advertising campaign that was successfully executed at the start of last year.”

“Most companies, as I look back, bunker down, take less risk and conserve, while we continued on the road we embarked on at the start of the recession in 2008. We were going to stay the course,” Fox said.

This year’s Top 100 was determined by a panel that ranked each brand according to a scale of one to 100. The rankings were averaged based on total overall scores. Firehouse Subs was the only concept on the list that received a top recommendation from each panel member.

Panelists included Darren Tristano, EVP, Technomic; Kathleen Wood, founder, Kathleen Wood Partners LLC; Linda Duke, founder, Duke Marketing; and Valerie Killifer, senior editor of

The brands selected in this year’s top 100 are the ones the panel thought used the recession as an opportunity rather than an obstacle, and used creativity and innovation to move their concepts and the fast casual segment forward.

Past winners include:

  • 2009: MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes
  • 2008: Au Bon Pain
  • 2007: Chipotle
  • 2006: Panera Bread
  • 2005: Raving Brands

The top 100 also takes a look at the marketing, food and technology trends that shaped 2010, in addition to the beverage and dessert/frozen yogurt concepts leading the industry.

This year's Top 100 is sponsored by Eaton, Ohio-based Henny Penny. Each brand reflected in the top 10 represent the segment's best and brightest. Keep an eye on each of these concepts as the industry looks to rebound 2011.

Top 10

  1. Firehouse Subs
  2. Wildflower Bread Company
  3. Genghis Grill
  4. MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes
  5. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
  6. Go Roma
  7. Chipotle Mexican Grill
  8. Tom & Eddie’s
  9. Wow Bao
  10. Au Bon Pain

Click here to download the full top 100.

Topics: Business Strategy and Profitability, Food & Beverage, Top 100

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