McDonald’s was named the leader of the top 100 restaurant chains in Europe in terms of sales in the latest Europe and Middle East FoodService ranking. The burger chain saw a 9% increase in sales in 2007 topping the annual ranking, which was revealed at the 9th European FoodService Summit currently being held in Zurich, Switzerland. Contract caterers dominated the top places in the list after the fast food chain, with Compass Group in second place, followed by Sodexho and Elior. Mitchells & Butler came fifth in the ranking, with a 10.1% rise in sales last year, the only group to show sales growth above McDonald’s. Gretel Weiss, editor-in-chief of FoodService Europe and Middle East, told delegates at the three-day conference that there had been no change in the top 10 growth chains since last year. Weiss said: “In terms of sales by sector, quick service restaurants (QSR) and contract caterers account for 60% of all turnover. “QSR was the most powerful sector, with or without McDonald’s, because of the focus on expansion and the ability to grow outside of city centres.” QSR brands made up 26 of the 111 top chains, with turnover of Eu28bn (£22.3bn), showing a 9% growth in sales. The top 111 chains in Europe, with total sales of Eu82bn, made up 20% of the industry’s market value. Just under a third of the companies were found to have made money in just one country, with 14 out of these 39 groups shown to be British players, mostly made up of pubcos. The UK was shown to have more companies in the stock market than any other European country, as well as having the most venture capitalists in the industry. Weiss concluded: “2007 was a year with great energy for the restaurant industry. This year is different, it has become a bit more difficult, with higher costs and the trading environment has got tougher.”