Last month, market and consumer data firm Statista revealed the top 15 leading fast-food restaurant chains in the U.S. in 2020 by systemwide sales. And while 2020 was a difficult year for the whole fast-food industry, the newly published data show that Burger King has become significantly less popular among consumers.
Burger King, which held the second spot in last year’s ranking, is now down to sixth. Though the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic largely affected the national sales of the hamburger chain last year, Lyssie Lakatos ― a dietitian and medical expert at Eat This, Not That! ― believes that Burger King’s failure to offer a wide variety of healthier menu items has contributed to the chain’s declining sales.
“Burger King used to be the second-largest fast-food chain in the US for sales, and now, Wendy’s has pulled ahead of BK,” Lakatos said. “According to Statista, 39% of Americans look for healthy options at fast-food restaurants, and Burger King doesn’t appear to know how to cater to this population at all.”
“They don’t have more plant-based or healthy options,” Lakatos added. “And with many of their burgers containing a day’s worth of fat and sodium in one burger, as well as more than half a days’ calories (and that’s before you add a soda!), it’s a turn-off for the people who would like healthier options.”
Though Burger King launched Impossible Whopper last 2019, the limited-time nationwide rollout of the plant-based burger wasn’t that successful partly because of the chain’s poor marketing.
While Burger King’s sales are dropping, Chick-fil-A’s net worth continues to rise. Compared to Burger King, Chick-fil-A focuses on “client demands for health improvements” and was “one of the first fast-food restaurants to offer a gluten-free bun, grilled chicken nuggets, and only use chicken without antibiotics.”
Lakatos noted that “more than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and people want this to change, so they’re actually looking for healthier options and avoiding places that are known for high fat, high sodium, and high-fat options.”
So if Burger King wants to win back old patrons and attract new customers who prefer healthier food, the chain should consider adding more plant-based or vegan items to its menu.
Below are the top 15 leading fast-food restaurant chains in the U.S. in 2020 by systemwide sales, according to Statista:
- McDonald’s ($40.53 billion)
- Starbucks ($18.5 billion)
- Chick-fil-A ($13.76 billion)
- Taco Bell ($11.3 billion)
- Wendy’s ($10.24 billion)
- Burger King ($9.67 billion)
- Dunkin’ ($8.76 billion)
- Subway ($8.32 billion)
- Domino’s ($8.29 billion)
- Chipotle Mexican Grill ($5.92 billion)
- Sonic Drive-In ($5.68 billion)
- Pizza Hut ($5.44 billion)
- Panera Bread ($5.35 billion)
- KFC ($4.74 billion)
- Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen ($4.59 billion)