The Top 50 Fast Food Restaurants in America

Did your favorite burger joint crack the top 10? You'd be surprised which niche chain ranks number one.
fast food drive thru

Fancy McDonald's for its World Famous fries and Wendy's for her 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 over 7,953 interviews across multiple demographics taken between June 2018 and June 2019. 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.

50

Del Taco

del taco storefront
Shuterstock

Del Taco is the place to go if you're looking to order a burrito and a burger and fries. It's the fast food chain that meets all your cravings, right in one place.

49

Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons
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Whether you want to treat yourself to Timbits or start your day with the mixed berry oatmeal, Tim Hortons is the place to pick.

48

Rita's Italian Ice

Rita's italian ice shop
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From classic Italian ice to their signature custard, Rita's and its walk-up window is your go-to spot for a cold sweet treat.

47

Culver's

culvers
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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."

46

Jamba Juice

Jamba juice exterior
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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, such as a cinnamon apple pretzel.

45

Checkers & Rally's

Checkers restaurant
Flickr/ Phillip Pessar

Looking for a classic burger? Look no further—it's dare we say, a checkmate ordering from here.

44

Carvel

Carvel ice cream shop
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There's something about walking into this quick ice cream shop that brings on a wave of nostalgia, doesn't it?

43

Sbarro

sbarro restaurant
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Sbarro is best known for its large pizza slices that happen to be in every mall court. Classic.

42

TCBY

TCBY
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When you think of grabbing a quick cup of frozen yogurt, there's a good chance TCBY comes to mind. Their soft serve and hand-scooped menu options are filled with fun flavors, too—cotton candy or rainbow cream, anyone?

41

Jersey Mike's

Jersey mikes subs
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Subway may have many more locations than Jersey Mike's, but this sandwich shop still made its way into the top 50.

40

Einstein Bros. Bagel

Einstein bros bagels
BCFC/Shutterstock

When you're in the mood for a quick breakfast on the go (or even something sweet to start your day like a perfectly iced sugar cookie), Einstein Bros. Bagels is there for you.

39

Whataburger

Whataburger
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What is Whataburger, you may ask? This regional joint is known for its menu's oversized meaty masterpieces and waiters' southern hospitality.

38

Church's Chicken

churchs chicken restaurant
Ken Wolter/Shutterstock

Say a little prayer: this fried chicken fast-food chain is popular, but not quite as beloved as its counterparts, who both make an appearance on this list.

37

Firehouse Subs

firehouse subs storefront
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Yes, Firehouse Subs was actually started by two brothers who happened to be firefighters before getting into the sandwich business.

36

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box
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Nuggets, milkshakes, and even tacos are on the menu at Jack in the Box. Another fast-food spot that has something for everyone!

35

Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's restaurant
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Their slogan is "Freaky Fast, Freaky Fresh," and it looks like their customers find this to be true!

34

Carl's Jr.

carls jr restaurant
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Are a charbroiled burger and decadent milkshake in your future? A visit to Carl's Jr. might be where you end up!

33

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger sign
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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 or the celeb-favorite protein-style burgers.

32

Nathan's Famous

Nathans famous hot dogs storefront
Holly Vegter/Shutterstock

You can never go wrong with a hot dog and French fries combo, and what better place to order that than at Nathan's?

31

Steak 'n Shake

Steak n shake restaurant
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Looking for food that gives you that classic diner feel that you can't get through a trip to the drive-thru? Allow Steak 'n Shake to fill that void.

30

White Castle

White castle restaurant
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Harold and Kumar aren't the only loyal customers who keep coming back to White Castle for some of those iconic sliders, and now, there is even an Impossible Slider on the menu, too.

29

Long John Silver's

long john silver restaurant
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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.

28

Hardee's

hardees
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The sister brand to Carl's Jr. is cherished a bit more by their customers!

RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

27

Auntie Anne's

Auntie anne storefront
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Another mall court and airport staple, there really is nothing like a warm Auntie Anne's pretzel.

26

Panda Express

Panda express
LifetimeStock/Shutterstock

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.

25

Quizno's

Quiznos exterior
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Quizno's offers up classic sandwiches, such as Italian and a tuna melt, and plenty of turkey, chicken, and steak variations, too.

24

Starbucks

Outside starbucks with green umbrellas
TR/Unsplash

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.

23

Papa John's

Papa john's pizza restaurant
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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.

22

Mrs. Fields

Mrs fields cookies
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Those giant chocolate chip cookies 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 every now and then.

21

Five Guys

Five guys burgers
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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.

20

Little Caesars

Little Caeasars
Shutterstock

"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?

19

Popeyes

Popeyes louisiana kitchen
Shutterstock

Plenty of loyal Popeyes' fans eat there on the reg, and we know the chicken sandwich was truly worth all the hype.

18

A&W Restaurants

A&W restaurant exterior
Susan Montgomery/Shutterstock

Yes, the root beer chain sells food!

17

Cold Stone

Cold stone creamery
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This ice cream shop serves up cold customized treats for whatever your heart desires, so it's basically a dream come true, right?

16

Sonic

Sonic sign
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These positive ratings for the drive-up fast food joint are significantly higher than the reviews of Sonic's "live-action" look in the upcoming Sonic the Hedgehog movie…

15

McDonald's

International mcdonalds restaurant
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Are you still McLovin' it? You might've expected Mickey D's to claim a spot closer to the top, but those golden fries and Big Macs seem to have some more competition.

14

Burger King

burger king restaurant exterior
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While it may not be the most popular dining brand in the country, the King is still a top choice for many. Those Whoppers are still as tasty as ever, especially if you go for the new Impossible Whopper.

13

Arby's

Arbys
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For all the meat-lovers out there, Arby's is your place, especially if you're a fan of their staple, roast beef sandwiches.

12

Chick-fil-A

Chick fil A
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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.

11

Domino's Pizza

Domino's pizza sign
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Domino's is hailed by fans for being "well made" and "good value for money." With wings and yummy chocolate lava cakes to go alongside a pizza pie, Domino's is simply beloved.

10

KFC

kfc restaurant exterior
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The Colonel is still going strong, coming in at the tenth spot on this ranking.

9

Taco Bell

Taco bell drive through sign
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This taco joint rings its loyal customers' bells for being "everywhere and good quality." By the way, do you know the secret ingredient Taco Bell uses to season its beef?

8

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut
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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.

7

Cinnabon

Cinnabon
Facebook/Cinnabon

No mall trip is ever done without a pit stop at Cinnabon for a warm, gooey, perfectly sticky cinnamon bun.

6

Krispy Kreme

Krispy Kreme
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From the affordably priced cups of caffeine and the hot-out-the-oven classic glazed doughnuts, it's easy to see why Krispy Kreme has such a devoted following.

5

Dunkin'

Dunkin Donuts
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America actually does run on Dunkin', doesn't it? Those munchkins are rather irresistible.

4

Subway

subway
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People surveyed described this sandwich shop as "good value for money," so if you're a Subway fan, you're obviously not alone!

3

Wendy's

Wendys burgers
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Ranking higher than McDonald's or Burger King is the beloved redhead! The real question is which flavor Frosty do you get: chocolate or vanilla?

2

Baskin Robbins

Baskin robbins ice cream storefront
Wan Fahmy Redzuan/Shutterstock

Craving ice cream? Baskin Robbins comes in the second spot as the most popular.

1

Dairy Queen

Dairy queen
Shutterstock

Majority rules! Customers raved that the fast food chain is "good quality," "never gets old," and is "good value for money." 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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