The Top 11 Fast-Food Chains in America—Ranked by Popularity

The Top 11 Fast-Food Chains in America—Ranked by Popularity

America loves fast food. And while the proliferation of chains like Chipotle and Shake Shack has made it more difficult to distinguish your favorite place from the next in terms of quality and price, there’s still no shortage of options for those who want something quick and convenient on their lunch breaks or after work. In fact, according to data from market research company Euromonitor International that was released last year (and updated in 2018), fast-food restaurants generate about $200 billion in revenue worldwide each year—that’s nearly as much as Starbucks does!


McDonald’s is the largest fast-food restaurant chain in the world and is also one of the most recognizable brands. The company has more than 36,000 restaurants worldwide, which serve approximately 69 million customers daily.

McDonald’s was founded in 1940 by Ray Kroc with his wife Alice Drayton as “McDonald Brothers” (later changed to “McDonald’s”). The original restaurant was located at 1398 North Miami Avenue in Phoenix, Arizona. The first Golden Arches logo was created by a franchisee who wanted something that would be easy to remember; he chose a yellow arched sign with black lettering because it was already on billboards at highway exits across southern California.[1]


Wendy’s was founded in 1969 and has since grown to become the third-largest hamburger fast-food chain in the world. The company operates 6,500 restaurants across North America with an additional 1,000 international locations.

Wendy’s serves up more than 1 billion chicken sandwiches per year—that’s about 10 million per day! That makes it a top choice for those who love their fried chicken or tend to eat at least one entree from this category every day of their lives (and don’t forget those onion rings).

Burger King

Burger King is a chain of fast food restaurants that originated in the United States. The first Burger King restaurant was opened by two brothers, James McLamore and David Edgerton, in Miami, Florida on February 28th, 1954. They named their new hamburger stand “Burger King” after their favorite book from high school—The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.

Today, there are over 13000 restaurants across 70 countries worldwide with over 32 million people visiting them every day!


Subway is the largest fast-food chain in the world and has more than 44,000 locations in 110 countries. Founded by Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck in 1965, it’s grown to become one of the most popular restaurant chains in America.

Subway has a long history of innovation and great customer service—much like many other successful companies. The chain was started as a simple sandwich shop with only four locations around New York City, but it has since expanded into many different types of sandwiches including vegetarian options (like veggie subs) and breakfast bowls made with eggs or meatless meat substitutes such as tofu chunks inside them!

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons is a Canadian-based chain that’s been around since 1964. The company has more than 4,000 locations worldwide and serves over 2 million customers each day. Its most popular breakfast items are donuts and coffee, but it also offers sandwiches (including the famous “Tim Bit”), soups, and salads.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is the largest coffee and baked goods chain in the world. It was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg, who named it after his son Donny. Since then, it has become a household name across America and around the globe for its delicious foods.

Dunkin’ Donuts is owned by Dunkin’ Brands Inc., which also owns Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream & Frozen Custard (the nation’s largest ice cream chain) and Togo’s Tacos & Wraps (the largest Mexican food chain). Together they have over 12,500 restaurants worldwide!

Sonic Drive-In

Sonic Drive-In is a fast-food restaurant chain based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It has over 3,500 locations across the country and is the largest drive-in restaurant chain by the number of units to date. The menu features burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and chicken tenders as well as chili cheese tots (which are basically French fries smothered in cheese sauce). Sonic also sells frozen custard flavors like chocolate or strawberry with some locations also offering milkshakes or sundaes on their menu as well.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell is a Mexican-inspired fast-food restaurant that was founded in 1962 by Glen Bell, an ex-Budweiser salesman. The chain has 6,500 restaurants in the United States and 3,000 outside of the US.

The company’s slogan is “Move it or lose it.” This phrase has been used since at least 1964 and refers to employees who have been promoted but cannot move off their former positions because they are still on salary until they are relieved of duty (or “lose” from their old position). For example, if you’re working at Taco Bell and your manager gives you more responsibility but doesn’t give any raise for doing so—you’ve actually lost money!

Dominos Pizza

  • Dominos Pizza is the second-largest pizza chain in the world, with over 15,000 locations worldwide. The company was founded in 1960 by brothers Chris and Tom Monaghan.
  • It’s headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and has over 200 international franchises outside of the United States as well.

Papa John’s Pizza

Papa John’s Pizza is a popular pizza chain that has a large number of locations across the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska. It’s also known for its strong social media presence and quality product offerings.

Papa John’s Pizza was founded in 1984 by Papa John Schnatter, who opened his first restaurant in Jeffersonville, Indiana (just outside Louisville). Today there are more than 4,000 stores across America—including locations at airports such as JFK Airport in New York City and LAX International Airport near Los Angeles—and sales have grown steadily over the years despite recent challenges related to slowing growth at some of their competitors like McDonald’s or Wendy’s.


The Chick-fil-A brand is the third largest quick-service restaurant chain in the United States. It was founded by Truett Cathy in 1946 and has since grown to more than 1,700 locations worldwide. The first location opened in Hapeville, Georgia; today there are over 2,900 restaurants across 48 states.

Chick-fil-A serves chicken sandwiches made with boneless chicken breast meat that’s breaded with a sweet barbecue sauce before being grilled and served on a bun (or other bread). Chick-fil-A also offers salads made with fresh greens like iceberg lettuce or spinach along with various dressings such as vinaigrette dressing or Caesar salad dressing if you want something different from your usual fast food order!


These are the 50 best fast-food chains in America, according to our data. They range from iconic brands like McDonald’s and Taco Bell to newer players like Chipotle, which has earned a loyal following for its healthy menu options.

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