Europe’s foodservice companies on the upswing again

The largest foodservice companies in Europe show a respectable increase in turnover. The exclusive ranking at the European Foodservice Summit in Zurich.

The results of the exclusive ranking of the 99 top-selling foodservice companies in Europe were presented for the first time by Katrin Wißmann, Managing Editor european foodservice media, at the 24th European Foodservice Summit (EFSS) in Zurich.

Her presentation followed an inspiring opening keynote by André Lacroix. The former president of Burger King International and now CEO of the Intertek Group gave the industry an outside perspective. Having not been directly involved in the restaurant industry for years, he put himself back into a foodservice leadership position for a moment and defined the most important course for modern hospitality leadership.

Katrin Wißmann had very concrete figures from the industry economy in her luggage: Europe’s top 99 foodservice companies generated an increase of almost 28 percent in 2022. In total, Europe’s leading foodservice companies achieved a joint net turnover (system sales incl. franchise) of 136.5 billion euros.

This year, McDonald’s is again at the top by a wide margin with an estimated net turnover of 31.5 billion euros. This means that the company alone accounts for 23 percent of the total turnover of the top 99. Contract caterer Sodexo follows in second place with 7.77 billion euros, closely followed by Yum! Brands (including KFC and Pizza Hut) with around 7.65 billion euros. In fourth and fifth place are Burger King (estimated at 7.11 billion euros) and Compass Group (6.96 billion euros). In general, quick service companies and contract caterers dominate the top 10.

Follow this link to a detailled list of the Top 10.

Wißmann underlined that the signs for the industry in Europe are pointing to recovery, especially the growth value of 9.8 per cent of the top 99 compared to the pre-pandemic year 2019: “Last year, there was also double-digit growth, but sales were still more than 15 per cent below 2019.”

Ranking 2022: External influencing factors

However, he said, the results in the period under consideration were far less meaningful than in previous years. Numerous factors (e.g. different inflation rates, varying national coronary restrictions, currency fluctuations) influenced both individual turnover and growth values, which made a direct comparison and assessment of the profitability of individual operations difficult. The comparison with the lockdown-dominated previous year 2021 also leads to extremely high values for relative growth in some cases.

In fact, 85 of the top 99 players recorded double- or even triple-digit growth compared to the previous year. Compared to 2019, 39 companies achieved correspondingly strong growth, 18 remained in the single-digit plus range, and 40 companies have yet to reach the pre-pandemic level.

QSR: The strongest market segment

The clear pre-Corona growth winner is the quick service segment, to which 39 of the top 99 players belong. It grew by 20 per cent compared to 2019 and accounts for 56.2 per cent of the top 99 revenues. The trend is upwards – even if the share was even higher in the pandemic year 2021: the QSR share of 61.6 percent reflected how difficult other foodservice segments had it in 2021 compared to quickservice players with their established take-away and delivery structures as well as car counters.

The growth in 2022 was correspondingly large for pubs (93.5 percent), travel (66.9 percent) and in-store (47.4 percent). The growth of contract caterers (28.9 per cent), whose business model is permanently affected by the changing world of work, was relatively small.

Top 10 – with and without Russian units

Wißmann took an analytical look at the extremely different growth values within the top 10 ranking, which is dominated by the two large segments quick service (5x) and contract catering (4x) and, at just under 77.8 billion euros, represents about 57 percent of the top 99 sales: Among Europe’s leading QSR players – all large US chains – growth ranged from 0 per cent (Domino’s) to 21.1 per cent (Starbucks), with Burger King growing 18 per cent, outpacing market leader McDonald’s (15.4%).

“It is related to the developments in Russia,” explained Wißmann. While McDonald’s, for example, was no longer active on the Russian market as of March 2022, and the 850 sales of the units there – gradually reopened under the name Vkusno I Tochka as of summer – were no longer included in the overall result for 2022 as of Q2, the majority of the Burger King operations continued to run. The reason is ownership: RBI holds only 15 per cent of Burger King Russi and the Russian franchisees insisted on their right to continue running their Burger King restaurants under their licences. Consequently, these sales are part of the ranking, even though RBI passes on all profits from Russia to the UNHCR refugee agency.


“The Corona pandemic has consolidated the Quickservice players’ leadership position in the market,” Wissmann concluded her speech. Pizza and burgers continue to be the food categories with great growth potential, she said. In addition, more and more bakers are gaining a foothold in the foodservice segment. The managing editor named digitalisation and sustainability as central topics for the future of the industry, which is taking on the task of providing frequency and life, especially in the changing city centres.



For the 24th time, the European Foodservice Summit will take place in Zurich from 19-21 September 2023. On stage at the top congress of the hospitality industry, top executives of leading European foodservice companies will share exclusive insights into their strategies and entrepreneurial learnings. Experts from neighbouring industries will provide facts and figures and groundbreaking know-how to take foodservice businesses to the next level. This year’s European Foodservice Summit programme brings together speakers from nine countries around the world, including renowned international restaurant companies such as itsu, Marugame Udon, Coffee Fellows, Big Chefs, Tortilla Mexican Grill, Udon and many more industry experts.