KFC tops store growth in expanding QSR market: 2023 report

report reveals expanding QSR
The report shows the eight fastest growing brands accounted for 184 net new locations. (Source: Supplied)

KFC has added 35 net new stores to its portfolio, raising its footprint to 785 stores across Australia. The chicken chain tops the rankings for store growth, according to the latest independent fast food report.

GapMaps, a cloud-based data intelligence platform used by brands to pinpoint optimal locations for its physical stores, revealed the growth in its just-released 2023 Annual Fast Food & Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) Retail Network Report.

The report shows the eight fastest growing brands accounted for 184 net new locations.

Report reveals expanding QSR market

Sushi Hub, Guzman Y Gomez, Zambrero, and Grill’d all reported strong net new store growth, adding 34, 26, 25, and 16 stores, respectively.

Pizza Hut with 270 outlets, added 19 new stores, closely followed by Hungry Jack’s with 17 new stores.

Both Noodle Box and Fishbowl saw double digit net new store growth, adding 12 and 10 stores each.

Subway, with the largest network of 1,227 stores, and McDonald’s (1,031 stores), recorded a net change of five stores. Gourmet pizza chain Crust (132 stores) also boosted its footprint with five new stores.

The report tracks store openings and closures in Australia for the 12 months to 31 December 2023.

It recorded 398 store openings across 31 brands in 7,038 locations, with 23 showing positive net store growth last year.

Scott Johnson, senior analyst, GapMaps, said sales are rising, despite the economic challenges.

“Record population growth, cost of living pressures and declining retail sales defined 2023 in what has been an uncertain year. But despite uncertainties, Australians continued to dine out and takeaway, with total food and beverage sales increasing by more than 10 per cent[1], or 4.2 per cent, after removing inflation,” he said.

Shopping centres boosting growth

Sydney recorded 45 net new store openings, with Melbourne just behind with 44. Perth added 36, Brisbane 12 and Adelaide nine new stores.

Johnson said “While over 75 per cent of all Australians have lived within 3km of a Subway and McDonald’s for a number of years, now close to 52 per cent of all Australians can access 10 or more QSR brands within 3km of home.”

The access to these brands varies across capital cities as brands in suburban settings typically cluster in or around major shopping centres. The continued development of entertainment and leisure precincts within major shopping centres is boosting growth and providing fresh opportunities for emerging brands.

GapMaps mapped this variation in brand access across major capital cities as part of the report.

“In addition, GapMaps partnered with CommBank IQ to provide insight on the real spending habits of consumers at a local level, including food delivery spending. This detailed analysis of supply and demand within the sector is enabling clients to better understand, optimise and grow their store networks,” said Johnson.

[1] As measured by the ABS retail sales series on Cafes’, restaurants, and takeaway food services for the 12 months to December 2023.