Someone's been sleeping on the job.
Recently, Nation's Restaurant News ranked the top five fastest-growing chains in the United States, and one of them does not have a presence in the Valley. Whaaat? As the state which refuses to allow itself an official food and the birthplace of the first McDonald's drive-thru, you'd think someone would be making sure we kept our ch-ch-ch-chain-y reputation intact.
Based on system-wide sales in fiscal 2011, the list shows three of the top five growth chains as being sandwich and fast-casual eateries, with two entries from the casual-dining segment making the cut as well.
Oh, and for those who want to hit a couple of them up in one visit, not surprisingly, two of the five can be found at the
fast food dump intersection of Seventh Avenue and McDowell Road in Central Phoenix.
Here's the list:
5.) Cheddar's Casual Cafe Based in Irving, Texas, with sales growth of 20.45 percent and 106 stores nationwide, there are no locations in Arizona -- yet.
4.) BJ's Restaurant and Brewery Based in Huntington Beach, California, with sales growth of 20.82 percent and 118 stores nationwide, there are four locations in the Valley.
3.) Chipotle Mexican Grill Based in Denver, with sales growth of 23.56 percent and 1,225 stores nationwide, there are 50 locations in the Valley.
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2.) Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches Based in Champaign, Illinois, with sales growth of 30 percent and 1,329 stores nationwide, there are 21 locations in the Valley.
1.) Five Guys Burgers and Fries Based in Lorton, Virginia, with sales growth of 31.84 percent and 918 stores nationwide, there are 13 locations in the Valley.