Americans love fast food. So much so that around 40% of us consume it every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young adults, ages 20 to 39, are most likely to reach for the ready-to-eat meals, followed by middle-aged adults.
The fast food industry has been under attack as criticism of its unhealthy menu items has intensified. Even though prices of French fries, cheeseburgers, and chicken wings have remained relatively low, especially compared to other restaurant options, consumer preferences shifted to healthier choices such as wraps, sandwiches, and salads prepared with fresher ingredients.
To address shifting consumer preferences, some quick-service restaurants have begun to offer healthier items, but mostly fast food chains concentrate on low prices — and now they are staging a comeback. They have performed much better so far in 2018 than in the last five years, with sales increasing by 3.8% to $256 billion industry-wide. Low prices and convenience keep people coming back.
To identify America’s favorite regional fast-food chains, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed more than 70,000 fast food restaurants across the United States. To be considered, fast-food chains needed to have 10 or more establishments and at least 3.5 out of 5 stars on Yelp. If several restaurants have very close ratings, the one with the most reviews ranked higher.
In order to avoid the large national restaurant chains and focus on regional chains, we excluded from our analysis fast-food chains with locations in more than three geographical regions. For the purposes of this list, fast-food restaurants are defined as places that sell a limited number of food that is usually ready to eat, prepared in bulk in advance and kept hot, or only takes a few minutes to be prepare.
14. Red Ribbon Bakeshop
> Yelp rating: 3.5 (1,000 reviews)
> Region: Located near or in biggest American cities
> Founded in: The Philippines in 1979, and in West Covina, California, in 1984
13. P. Terry’s Burger Stand
> Yelp rating: 3.5 (2,500 reviews)
> Region: Texas
> Founded in: Austin, Texas, in 2005
12. Potato Corner
> Yelp rating: 3.7 (2,100 reviews)
> Region: Concentrated in the West, but with a few locations in the South and East Coast
> Founded in: The Philippines in 1992, and in Santa Anita, California, in 2010
11. The Habit Burger Grill
> Yelp rating: 3.7 (2,200 reviews)
> Region: West with a few in New Jersey
> Founded in: Santa Barbara, California, in 1969
10. Pita Pit
> Yelp rating: 3.6 (5,100 reviews)
> Region: Concentrated in Northwest, but has locations nationwide
> Founded in: Kingston, Ontario, Canada, in 1995, in the U.S. in 1999
9. Original Tommy’s
> Yelp rating: 3.6 (4,400 reviews)
> Region: Mostly in Southern California
> Founded in: Los Angeles, California, in 1946
8. Freddys Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
> Yelp rating: 3.6 (6,500 reviews)
> Region: Mostly in South, with a few other locations nationwide
> Founded in: Wichita, Kansas, in 2002
7. Shake Shack
> Yelp rating: 3.6 (8,000 reviews)
> Region: Mostly in Northeast
> Founded in: New York City, New York, in 2004
> Yelp rating: 3.6 (12,100 reviews)
> Region: Midwest and Plains states, and some in West
> Founded in: Sauk City, Wisconsin, in 1984
5. Skyline Chili
> Yelp rating: 3.8 (2,700 reviews)
> Region: Midwest, and a few in Kentucky
> Founded in: Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1949
4. The Chicken Shack
> Yelp rating: 3.9 (1,500 reviews)
> Region: West, and a few in Texas
> Founded in: Royal Oak, Michigan, in 1956
> Yelp rating: 3.9 (4,000 reviews)
> Region: South, mostly in Florida
> Founded in: Tampa, Florida, in 2011
2. MOD Pizza
> Yelp rating: 4.1 (32,400 reviews)
> Region: Mostly in the West, with a few in Midwest and South
> Founded in: Seattle, Washington, in 2008
1. In-N-Out Burger
> Yelp rating: 4.0 (71,000 reviews)
> Region: Mostly in California, and some in Texas
> Founded in: Baldwin Park, California in 1948
Sponsored: Want to Retire Early? Here’s a Great First Step
Want retirement to come a few years earlier than you’d planned? Or are you ready to retire now, but want an extra set of eyes on your finances?
Now you can speak with up to 3 financial experts in your area for FREE. By simply clicking here you can begin to match with financial professionals who can help you build your plan to retire early. And the best part? The first conversation with them is free.
Click here to match with up to 3 financial pros who would be excited to help you make financial decisions.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us?
Contact the 24/7 Wall St. editorial team.