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CHD Expert Releases New Data Around The Sandwiches Menu Type, Indicating That This Popular American Menu Type Is Dominated By Chains

As of July 2014 “Sandwiches” is the fifth most popular menu type in the United States. Chains represent the majority of sandwich restaurants, making up approximately 90% of the market.

(Chicago, IL – August 19, 2014) – CHD Expert, the Chicago-based foodservice database and analytics firm, has released the latest reports on sandwiches, one of America’s most iconic foods. CHD Expert finds that the “Sandwich” is the 5th most popular menu type in the United States, representing 6.7 percent of the restaurant market. Sandwiches fall behind Varied Menu, Pizzeria, Mexican, and Hamburgers, respectively. All data in this release is per CHD Expert’s database as of July 2014.

Restaurants with the menu type categorized as “Sandwiches” produce an average unit volume of over $549,000. This illustrates this segment’s high-level market potential. Across the USA, Sandwich menu type restaurants have approximately 14 establishments for every 100,000 citizens.

Within the Limited Service Restaurant segments approximately 82% of sandwich restaurants are classified as Quick Service, and approximately 16% are considered Fast Casual. Quick Service is defined as no wait staff with an average check of less than $8.00, where Fast Casual has no wait staff, but has a higher average check of $8.00 to $12.00 and usually has a more trendy/upscale atmosphere and perceived healthier menu options.

There is a dramatic divide between the numbers of Independent Restaurants compared to Chain Restaurants within the sandwich menu type landscape. Independent Sandwich restaurants account for just 9.6% of the market landscape whereas Chains represent the majority at 90.4%.

Subway is the largest chain restaurant in the United States in terms of number of locations with over 26,000 units. Other notable sandwich chains in the United States include Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, Quiznos, Firehouse Subs, and Jersey Mike’s Subs.

Sandwich restaurants are demonstrably popular in the Midwest. Out of the 50 states, Nebraska has the largest percentage of restaurants with a Menu Type categorized as Sandwiches with 11.32 percent in this category, where as the state only represents 0.64% of the nations total restaurants. California for comparison represents the largest total number of restaurants by state, at 12.3 percent, but only 5.17 percent of its restaurants are categorized within Sandwiches Menu Type.

The top four states with the largest percentage of Sandwich restaurants out of total restaurants are Nebraska, Michigan, Kentucky, and Iowa. See Figure 1.

Figure 1. % of Sandwich Restaurants and % of US Restaurant Market

The below map illustrates the expansion of three of the nations emerging sandwich chain restaurants who have expanded nationally in recent years: Jersey Mike’s Subs, Firehouse Subs, and Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches.


Based on CHD Expert’s data, owning a sandwich restaurant could be a strong investment for long-term revenue potential. A majority of Sandwiches restaurants have been in business for five years or more, representing over 76% of all Sandwich restaurants. However getting over that five Year hump could prove challenging, particularly as new competitors enter the landscape. Figure 2 breaks down the sandwich menu type by years in business.


Figure 2. Years in business.

With so many of today’s consumers short on time, speed of service is paramount. As such, convenience stores have risen as competitors to more traditional Sandwich establishments. Unlike Sandwich restaurants, the majority of convenience stores are Independent, with 61% of C-stores having fewer than 10 units. Texas is the state with the most C-stores, with over 11,000 units.

Despite this emerging competition, as the data demonstrates sandwich restaurants enjoy a stable position in the restaurant landscape of the United States. The success of this menu type also presents new opportunities for foodservice operators and professionals, particularly within the franchise and chain segments.

CHD Expert’s data can provide chain headquarters looking to expand their footprint in this growing segment with a targeted analytical tool for market strategy.

In addition to giving users the ability to view competitor locations, CHD Expert’s chain data tools allow operators to target competitors by chain name, segment, or menu type to view the density of restaurants in any geographic market and perform market analytics on target geographies or restaurant type.

Clients can also use Easy2FIND to visualize density of independents and chain locations within a given market as well as view their store penetration in target locations by State, City, County, MSA, Zip Code, or Radius level.

To see a visual representation of Chain Data for sandwiches in Orlando, FL download CHD Expert’s Targeted Area Map for Orlando. (link)

In a heavily chain-dominated menu type like Sandwiches, it is crucial for foodservice professionals to have access to targeted analytical tools that help to simplify the process of foot printing and calculating market expansion,” said Brad Bloom, Director of Sales at CHD Expert North America. “At CHD Expert we are proud to support foodservice operators as well as real estate specialists, business analysts, and strategists as they consider expanding into new regions. Our database can help them both visualize the current landscape and assess future growth opportunities.”

For more information about the restaurant industry, please contact Brad Bloom: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


About CHD North America
CHD Expert is the worldwide leader in collecting, managing, and analyzing data for the Away-from-Home Global Foodservice Market. For almost 20 years, CHD Expert has been dedicated to support Foodservice channel members in providing a global vision and an in-depth understanding of the industry (in Europe, The America’s, and Asia Pacific).

Our objective is to support foodservice suppliers with market solutions for their insights, category management, with sales and marketing initiatives. CHD Expert provides the most comprehensive and accurate foodservice data globally for more than 5 million operators in 50 countries. For additional information, please visit https://www.chd-expert.com or call 1-888-243-0154.