Wendy’s New Number 2 in Burger Sales (WEN, MCD, MCG, SBUX, PNRA)

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There’s a new number two among hamburger restaurant chains. The Wendy’s Co. (NASDAQ: WEN) has surpassed privately held Burger King in total sales, with $8.5 billion in 2011 sales compared with $8.4 billion for Burger King. McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) remains number one with $34.2 billion in sales.

The numbers come from the latest research by food industry consulting firm Technomic. Other figures from Technomic show that Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (NYSE: CMG) was the fastest growing among publicly traded companies, with growth of 23.4% in sales. The fastest growing limited-service chain was Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which posted a year-over-year sales gain of 32.8%.

Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) and privately held Subway each grew sales by 7.5% in 2011. Panera Bread Co. (NASDAQ: PNRA) posted sales growth of 10.1%.

As a whole, the top 500 restaurant chains in the US posted revenues of $242 billion in 2011, up 3.4% from 2010. The growth rate was nearly double the 1.8% growth in 2010.

The Technomic press release is available here.