10 Largest Burger Chains in the World

In this article, we will be taking a look at the 10 largest burger chains in the world. To skip our detailed analysis, you can go directly to see the 5 largest burger chains in the world.

Who doesn't love a good burger? A perfectly grilled patty, a slice of melting cheese, some relish and toasted buns along with crinkle cut fries, even the thought will make most people's mouth water. It is also one of the most convenient meals you could have; it doesn't take long at all to prepare, is easy to eat, and of course, is much cheaper than most other meals. Add to this the fact that most people love the taste of burgers, especially among the myriad options that we have right now, and you have the perfect selling meal.

While fast food is primarily considered to be American, the industry has a massive global presence. Fast food is available in more or less every country in the world, and in most cities, barring remote towns. While food purists may turn up their nose at fast food, its popularity cannot be understated, which is why it is on its way to become a trillion-dollar industry. Currently, according to Food Business Insights, the fast-food industry is currently worth $972 billion and is expected to grow by a CAGR of 6.05% to jump to $1.4 trillion in 2028. The demand for fast food, and burgers in particular, is also growing consistently because of the hectic lives that most people lead, leaving little time to cook, or even spend time in restaurants to enjoy a relaxing meal. Instead, fast food allows them to have an efficient meal with little fuss. According to the USDA, in just the last 10 years, quick-service restaurants have grown by more than 20%, to 340,000 restaurants in 2015, with some states actually seeing growth greater than 30% as the demand keeps on increasing especially for the younger generations.

Largest Burger Chains in the World 2022
Largest Burger Chains in the World 2022

Image by LordLucas from Pixabay


One of the threats faced by the fast-food industry is the growing focus on rising obesity, especially in developed countries, with calls for a healthier lifestyle increasing over the past couple of decades in particular. Many people are avoiding fast food completely, apart from maybe cheat meals, and increasing consumptions of healthier alternatives such as fruits and vegetables. While exercise is essential to health, the overwhelming science says controlling your diet is much more important than even exercise.

The other issue faced by the fast-food industry is people avoiding the consumption of meat for multiple reasons. While some are avoiding meat because they're against the killing and consumption of animals, with some avoiding anything related to animals such as milk and cheese. On the other hand, some people are avoiding the consumption of meat because its carbon footprint is quite large, especially compared to vegetable based alternatives. Some companies have seen this is an opportunity, including Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat, Inc. (NASDAQ:BYND), who have pioneered plant based patties which taste exactly like beef with only a fraction of beef's carbon footprint. Restaurants are now partnering up with these companies to deliver vegan alternatives so as to increase their customer base (see 11 best fast food stocks to buy).

It is important and pertinent to remember that the fast-food industry was also greatly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. As lockdowns were enforced across the globe, resulting in billions trapped in their own homes, sales by most fast food restaurants decreased significantly, resulting in closure of many businesses and mass lay-offs. Depending on the strictness of lockdowns, some cities and countries completely closed down restaurants, while others allowed them to operate for food delivery only. One thing common in most lockdowns was that dine-in was completely closed and was resumed in phases once the situation improved with seating capacity limited. While operations are more or less business as usual now, many businesses are still feeling the impact that the previous 2.5 years have resulted in. On the other hand, many people have now developed a taste for online delivery, and the growth of this sector will be a boost to the fast-food industry, as this is allowing the industry to grow its customer base.

Another issue facing not just the fast food industry but the global economy is record-breaking inflation. Inflation has reached double-digits in many countries, with some countries facing inflation of over 40%. Even the United States nearly reached double-digit figures in June, while rising interest rates have led to fears of an imminent recession. This has led to the US dollar strengthening to historical highs, which has also affected many countries, especially developing economies, where a lot of goods are imported and loans are taken out in dollars, which means the countries now have to pay back a higher amount due to their currencies depreciating. This mixture of circumstances has resulted in lower disposable income for most people across the globe, which is why many are now cutting down on unnecessary or frivolous expenses, chief among them eating out. Restaurants have also increased their prices, and especially in developing countries, many potential customers are being priced out of being able to purchase fast food items.

There is a difference between fast food restaurants and burger chains; all burger chains are fast food restaurants, but not all fast-food restaurants are burger chains. Fast food includes food other than burgers such as pizza, sandwiches, tacos, burritos and milkshakes among numerous others. We initially considered all fast food chains with the most locations and then filtered out fast food restaurants whose claim to fame was pizza, sandwiches, donuts or other fast-food items. While we tried to rank the biggest burger chains in the world based on both number of locations and revenue, some of these brands are owned by private companies and hence, don't disclose brand-wise revenues. Therefore, ranking the biggest burger chains in the world was based on the number of locations that each burger chain has globally, based either on their website or annual report. So, without further ado, let's take a look at the burger chains you're most likely to stop by for a quick bite of a delicious burger, starting with number 10:

10. Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK)

Number of locations worldwide: 2,218

We kick off our list with Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK), which is the only burger chain in our list with less than 3,000 locations. To be among the biggest burger chains in the world, simply maintaining a heavy presence in the United States can be sufficient, as evidenced by Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK), which only operates in the United States and Guam. Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) recorded revenues of over $1 billion in 2020, while it employs more than 5,000 people across all locations. While Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK) primarily serves the West Coast, it does maintain a strong presence in large metropolitan areas outside the West Coast as well.

Jonathan Weiss/

9. Arby's

Number of locations worldwide: 3,405

While primarily known for its sandwiches, Arby's also has some really popular burgers in its menu, including the introduction of premium burgers made of Wagyu beef. Arby's is owned by Inspire Brands, which also owns some of the other burger chains in our list, in addition to other popular fast food chains such as Dunkin' Donuts, Baskin-Robbins, Rusty Taco and Mister Donut among others. In addition to the United States, Arby's has a presence in six countries: Mexico, Canada, Egypt, South Korea, Turkey and Yemen.

8. Popeyes

Number of locations worldwide: 3,451

Popeyes is one of the biggest brands owned by Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE:QSR), with more than 3,400 locations across the world. Unlike Jack in the Box Inc. (NASDAQ:JACK), Popeyes has locations across the world in addition to 46 states in the United States, with a presence in more than 30 countries. The vast majority of Popeye's locations are franchised, with only 50 restaurants being company-owned. Popeyes was bought for $1.8 billion by Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE:QSR) in 2017, with Restaurant Brands International Inc. (NYSE:QSR) purchasing the company at $79 per share.

PLKI, Fast Food, Exterior of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Restaurant location. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is a chain restaurant that serves fast-food chicken at over 2500 locations
PLKI, Fast Food, Exterior of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Restaurant location. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is a chain restaurant that serves fast-food chicken at over 2500 locations

George Sheldon/

7. Sonic Drive-In

Number of locations worldwide: 3,551

Sonic Drive-In is another brand owned by Inspire Brands, and is considered to be one of the biggest burger chains in the world. Sonic Drive-In is only present in the United States, and is famous for using carhops on roller skates. Sonic Drive-In has more than 5,000 employees.

Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ:SONC)
Sonic Corporation (NASDAQ:SONC)

6. Hardee's

Number of locations worldwide: 3,900

Ultimately owned by Roark Capital Group, Hardee's was purchased by CKE Restaurants Holding, Inc. for $327 million back in 1997.  Established in the 1960s, the first Hardee's restaurant was opened in North Carolina, before opening its 2,000th location in the 1980s.

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Disclosure: None. 10 largest burger chains in the world is originally published at Insider Monkey.