Dunkin’ Donuts and Pieminister are among the top brands named in foodservice consultancy Horizons’ latest list of food companies on the ascendant.

Artisan bakeries, coffee shops and sandwich bars placed fourth in the list of top performers by sector in Horizons’ Ones To Watch survey, with a total of 74 new outlets counted in each case. The sector was beaten by healthy quick-service outlets (107 new outlets), Italian casual dining (91) and Mexican burrito outlets (78).

By brand, the survey placed Fuel Juice Bars top, which has grown from eight units in 2011 to 24 this year.

Dunkin’ Donuts nabbed second place, having expanded from one outlet in 2013 to 14 this year. The US group, led by CEO Nigel Travis, is attempting success in the UK for the second time having previously withdrawn in the 1990s under then owner Allied Domecq. The brand’s aim will be helped by inroads made by Krispy Kreme in the UK, although Dunkin’ Donuts has bigger ambitions than its 50-site rival, with plans for 144 UK sites.

Pie-maker Pieminister placed joint third, having grown from seven to 20 outlets in four years. It plans to double its estate over the next four years, as well as concentrating on its pub franchise arm, which involves a bespoke Pieminister offer.

Nicola Knight, Horizons’ director of services, said: “We are seeing particular qualities in all these fledgling Ones To Watch brands, which are helping them become scaleable concepts.

“They are often simple ideas, sometimes based around a single product, which can be easily replicated to the same quality and which lend themselves to being prepared in a small space. Operators are also taking a novel approach to location – whether it be in small shopping mall kiosks or transport hubs – rather than in traditional high street sites.

“We are also seeing a lot of expansion through franchising rather than company-owned outlets, which means that the management has a vested interest in success.”

The Ones to Watch survey includes only restaurants or quick service restaurants with between five and 25 outlets and a sites growth of at least 20% over the last three years combined.