Every Fast-Food Chain in America—Ranked by Popularity
Fancy McDonald's for its world-famous fries and Wendy's for the never-frozen cheeseburgers? While many fast-food-frequenting folks swear by their favorite drive-thru joint, have you ever wondered which restaurant continues to steal the heart of the majority and bridges the gap between our polarized population?
YouGov, a firm that specializes in online research, has been keeping track of the most popular dining brands in America based on more than 7,000 interviews across multiple demographics taken between July 2020 and September 2020. According to YouGov, popularity is "calculated by taking the proportion of people who view something positively and showing it as a percentage of all of the people who have given any opinion about that thing, including 'have heard of.'"
To help make YouGov's data of dining brands more digestible, we combed through the list and isolated just the fast-food chains. We ranked these fast-food joints from least to most popular.
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Shake Shack has become an international megachain, so it's no surprise it made the list of the top 50 most popular fast-food spots.
Checkers & Rally's
Looking for a classic burger? Look no further—it's dare we say, a checkmate ordering from here.
There really is something for everyone at this smoothie shop—besides frozen drinks you can sip on, there are smoothie bowls and plenty of bites.
Sbarro is best known for its large pizza slices that happen to be in every mall court. Classic.
There's something about walking into this quick ice cream shop that brings on a wave of nostalgia, doesn't it?
From the beer-battered fish tacos to those delicious milkshakes, a meal at Del Taco is sure to leave you satisfied.
Fresh frozen custard, ButterBurgers, snack-worthy sides—it's no wonder loyal fans keep coming back to eat the food that is promised to be "well made" and "good quality."
Say a little prayer: This fried chicken fast-food chain made the cut.
What is Whataburger, you may ask? This regional joint is known for its menu's oversized meaty masterpieces and waiters' Southern hospitality.
Subway may have many more locations than Jersey Mike's, but this sandwich shop still made its way into the top 50.
Yes, Firehouse Subs was actually started by two brothers who happened to be firefighters before getting into the sandwich business.
Jack in the Box
Jimmy John's slogan is "Freaky Fast, Freaky Fresh," and it looks like customers find this to be true!
Long John Silver's
Ahoy, matey! This seafood-based fast-food chain comes in around the middle of the pack when it comes to the best fast-food spots in the U.S.
You can never go wrong with a hot dog and French fries combo, and what better place to order that than at Nathan's?
Are a charbroiled burger and decadent milkshake in your future? A visit to Carl's Jr. might be where you end up!
Quizno's offers up classic sandwiches, and who can resist the fresh pepper bar?
Whether you visit this smoothie chain on a trip to the mall or after a workout, nothing hits the spot like a drink from Orange Julius.
The sister brand to Carl's Jr. is cherished a bit more by their customers!
It's a California classic, but perhaps its exclusivity is what prevented In-N-Out from ranking higher in the minds of all Americans. For those who happen to live by one, customers have plenty of options to dig into, from the outrageous animal-style fries to the celeb-favorite protein-style burgers.
Starbucks has gathered a reputation for being the go-to place when you're in the mood for a pumpkin coffee drink once fall rolls around. And with their decadent Frappuccinos, there are plenty of sweet treats for non-coffee drinkers, too.
Another mall court and airport staple, Auntie Anne's pretzels are unmatched.
While Five Guys has some top-notch burgers and fries, this is a spot for peanut lovers, too. You can munch on peanuts that are available all over the restaurants while you order your meal.
True fans know that guacamole is extra—and they'll happily fork over the extra cash. Here's What to Order at Chipotle.
With thousands of locations across America, Panda Express is the top-ranking Asian dining brand in the country, according to the 2018 QSR 50 Ethnic Segment Report, which gathers the best restaurant brands in the country and segments them into categories.
Papa John's is always boasting about its better ingredients, and it seems like there are plenty of customers who continue to order these pizzas.
From the rotisserie chickens to the delectable mac and cheese, Boston Market is always a great stop for a hearty meal. Here are The Best & Worst Menu Items at Boston Market.
"Pizza, pizza" has plenty of loyal fans, thanks to the "cheap and fast" vibe of the food. Speaking of pizza, do you know what the most popular pizza topping is in your state?
Cold Stone Creamery
This ice cream shop serves up cold customized treats for whatever your heart desires, so it's basically a dream come true, right?
Those giant chocolate chip cookies that just call your name as you're walking by? They are a staple of all Mrs. Fields locations, so we don't blame you for having one now and then.
Plenty of loyal Popeyes fans eat there on the reg, and we know the chicken sandwich was truly worth all the hype.
Yes, the root beer chain sells food! Here are The Best & Worst Menu Items at A&W.
Sometimes, you just want one of Sonic's frozen drinks and a burger to go along with it. Yum!
Want to chow down on more juicy hamburgers? Here's where you can get The Absolute Best Burger in Every State.
Although loyal customers might not be able to satisfy their fried chicken cravings on Sunday, Chick-fil-A still is a top spot to go when you're in the mood for a chicken sandwich and some waffle fries.
The Colonel is still going strong! Who doesn't want to eat their chicken right out of a bucket?
This taco joint rings its loyal customers' bells for being "everywhere and good quality." By the way, You'll Never Guess What Taco Bell Uses to Season Its Beef.
Domino's is hailed by fans for being well-made and a good value. With wings and yummy chocolate lava cakes to go alongside a pizza, Domino's is simply beloved.
From its house-made lemonade to that tasty mac and cheese to those fresh-baked bagels, Panera has it all. No wonder it ranked so highly on YouGov's list!
With a plethora of crusts, cheesy toppings, and grilled veggies to choose from, it's no surprise pizza lovers keep coming back to the Hut.
America actually does run on Dunkin', doesn't it? Those Munchkins are rather irresistible.
People surveyed described this sandwich shop as a "good value for money." If you're a Subway fan, you're not alone!
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From the affordably priced cups of caffeine to the hot-out-the-oven classic glazed doughnuts, it's easy to see why Krispy Kreme has such a devoted following.
Ranking higher than McDonald's and Burger King is the beloved redhead! The real question is, which flavor Frosty do you get: chocolate or vanilla?
No mall trip is ever done without a pit stop at Cinnabon for a warm, gooey, perfectly sticky cinnamon bun.
Craving ice cream? Baskin Robbins comes in the second-place spot. And they have so many delicious scoop flavors!
Majority rules! Customers raved that the fast-food chain is "good quality," "never gets old," and is a "good value for money." That sounds like a winning combo to us! DQ even sold more than 175 million Blizzards the first year they introduced them in 1985—who knew?
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