Related Videos

Top 10 American Fast Food Chains

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Ian Astraquillo They’re the places to go to when we’re on a budget and too tired to cook. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 American fast food chains. For this list, we’re focusing on chains of fast food establishments that were founded in the United States and that focus on selling food, not some other product like coffee or juice. We’re ranking our choices based on their popularity, trend-setting achievements, and customer satisfaction. Yeah, we know that some of these places may not be the most reputable for their effects on the health of their customers, but we’re not saying you should be eating here every day! Special thanks to our users Ruben Mago Almanza, Cameronshank, Sizzle_frizzle, Nicole Calleja, Aricha Mahil, mudflapmannacho, Reece Baker, Camden Coblentz, chattiermike140, pacman1865, mical jamil and Rob Welch for submitting this idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
Share
WatchMojo

You must register to a corporate account to download this video. Please login

Transcript
Written by Ian Astraquillo

Top 10 American Fast Food Chains


They’re the places to go to when we’re on a budget and too tired to cook. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 American fast food chains.

For this list, we’re focusing on chains of fast food establishments that were founded in the United States and that focus on selling food, not some other product like coffee or juice. We’re ranking our choices based on their popularity, trend-setting achievements, and customer satisfaction. Yeah, we know that some of these places may not be the most reputable for their effects on the health of their customers, but we’re not saying you should be eating here every day!

#10: Taco Bell

Apart from tacos, this fast-food chain has earned its place as a market giant with its quesadillas, nachos, and other Tex-Mex favorites. Founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, this chain took less than a decade to expand to over 300 locations in the U.S. and go public. Putting out innovative items such as their Doritos Locos Tacos and XXL-sized products, Taco Bell continues to keep up revenue-wise with the competition. With a recent and ambitious move towards the battle for breakfast, there’s little doubt the company will continue to grow and “Live Más”!

#9: Carl’s Jr.

What started as a hot-dog cart in 1941 by Carl and Margaret Karcher quickly spawned a full-fledged drive-in restaurant, as well as smaller versions of the establishment – hence how the chain got its name. In its lifespan, the company has risen to prominence for pioneering the use of non-traditional condiments on its burgers, including bacon, onion rings, and even Philly cheese-steak. With hot-selling menu items such as their western burgers and the gourmet restaurant-styled Six Dollar burgers, the Karchers’ fast-food dream has come a long way from hot-dogs. No, literally: hot-dogs are no longer on the menu.

#8: Chipotle Mexican Grill

With “food with integrity” as their mission, this is one of the earliest examples of a chain spreading the fast-casual dining style. Founded in 1993, the company became a presence in the dining industry with its rapid expansion from the initial 16 to its current 1,600 locations within the window of two decades. While rival fast-casual competitors like Panera Bread have likewise grown significantly, none rivals the quality of the naturally-raised meats and sustainable agriculture practices found at Chipotle.

#7: Domino’s

As the world’s largest pizza chain, Domino’s and its red, white and blue logo are recognized across 70 countries thanks to over 10,000 locations; that’s a lot of dough. With innovations that included the 30-minutes-or-it’s-free delivery guarantee and real-time order tracking apps, Domino’s has proven its desire to fully satisfy the eagerly awaiting hungry customer. When the company was ranked last in a national consumer taste test, they took matters into their own hands, entirely changed their recipe and produced a self-aware ad campaign on the subject. The result was a huge quarterly gain that reminded everyone that nothing keeps a good pizza chain down.

#6: Wendy’s

Founded in Columbus, Ohio by Dave Thomas in 1969, Wendy’s is known for their unique take on the burger. Can you say: square patties? While the company doesn’t sell its own signature sandwich like McDonald’s Big Mac or Burger King’s Whopper, it does serve a number of well-received items, like the Baconator, the pretzel bun burger, and its own line of frozen desserts appropriately named Frosty. Other notable distinctions in terms of business practices include franchise owners’ leeway with store hours, interior design, product sales, and staff uniforms. But don’t worry, you’ll never be asking

#5: Pizza Hut

Started in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, Pizza Hut is famous for its many innovative products, including many different varieties of crust – like stuffed crust, for example. Though today many of the chain’s franchises are packaged with another of “Yum! Brands”’ subsidiaries, the earliest Pizza Huts became popularity thanks to their fitting Red-roof architecture, cozy interior atmospheres, and upscale menus. Today, the company continues building on its Italian-American based cuisine, expanding to sandwiches, chicken, and pasta. While the company is known today for quick service and delivery options, it’s one of the few fast-food chains whose full-service restaurants contain bars and other non-traditional amenities like jukeboxes and arcades.

#4: KFC

While some of us may prefer our traditional fire-grilled chicken, it doesn’t compare to the Colonel’s recipe of 11 herbs and spices. Founded in the wake of the Depression in 1930, Kentucky Fried Chicken – as it was originally known – was the brainchild of Colonel Harland Sanders. And, his venture was a bold move, not only in the timing of its birth, but also because of its presence in an industry that was and continues to be dominated by burger joints. Today, KFC stands as the most successful restaurant specializing in fried chicken, as well as the second largest fast-food chain in terms of revenue in the world.

#3: Burger King

While it may not be the king of our list, it has certainly taken the top spot in the hearts of many a fast-food frequenter. Founded in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, this chain continues to flourish with over 13,000 locations in 79 different countries, 99% of which are owned and operated as franchises. Though the chain’s signature line of Whopper burgers has kept the company afloat, in recent years BK has started to move away from their more male-centric product line and towards healthier options with fewer trans fats – keeping them on par with similar rivals.

#2: Subway

As a privately held brand owned by a company called Doctor’s Associates, Subway has become famous for its emphasis on excellent tasting, healthy menu items since its inception in 1965. With sandwiches, soups, and salads being the mainstays of this chain’s menu, it’s the perfect quick-service establishment for health buffs, vegetarians, people looking to drop weight and anyone who’s sick of traditional fast-food choices. Yes, Quizno’s is toasty and tasty, but Subway remains the world’s largest restaurant chain, commanding over 42,000 locations and remaining the preferred sandwich shop by franchisees and the health conscious.

Before we unveil our top Fast-Food giant, here are a few honorable mentions:
- A&W Restaurants
- Dairy Queen
- Jack in the Box
- Papa John’s Pizza
- Sonic Drive-In
- Arby’s

#1: McDonald’s

With signature products like the Big Mac, Quarter Pounder, Happy Meals, McNuggets, McMuffins and more, McDonald’s menus cater not only to burger lovers, but also to kids, early-birds, coffeehouse enthusiasts, and even health nuts. That diversity is what has helped the Golden Arches survive and thrive since 1955, when Ray Kroc opened his first franchise of the McDonald brothers’ endeavor. Though McDonald’s has faced competitors from both non-burger restaurants like Subway, and premium burger alternatives like Five Guys and In-N-Out, it still stands as the quintessential example and king of fast-food, an empire that boasts over 35,000 locations and posts net-profits as high as $US5.5 billion.

Do you agree with our list? Which fast food can’t you live without? For more burger-licious top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
Comments

Sign in to access this feature

Related Blogs