Who doesn’t have the feeling of hunger that comes by watching impressive burgers in the American series? The U.S. is the land of fast food near you. Franchises are made and undone on a regular basis. Even in the more traditional restaurants, the dishes on offer come from fast food.
Whether you’re going to the United States or just want to salivate in front of your screen, check out our 17 favorite American fast food restaurants!
How can I start any other way than McDonald’s? The American giant saw its growth in the 1950s under the leadership of Ray Kroc to become the biggest fast food restaurant in history. Even economists sometimes use the big Mac price to talk about a country’s purchasing power!
In the United States, McDonald’s has a slightly different image than in France. There, it really is a cheap fast food where you spend after work.
On the other hand, don’t think you’ll find dozens of sandwiches. No Croc McDonald’s, CBO, 280 and other special burgers so beloved in France. The Big Mac and Cheeseburgers (simple, double, triple, bacon-free, with bacon) remain the flagship products of McDonald’s US.
The few special sandwiches are often very greasy and less elaborate.
You’ll find signs all over the United States. Sometimes you see them within 500 metres near of each other!
Back by buying Quick, Burger King is very much appreciated. Its high-calorie food appeals to fast food lovers. A double steakhouse, a large fry-up and hunger flies away in favor of a feeling of satiety!
This image of fast food for big eaters is also present in the United States. Sandwiches with three large, large steaks are not uncommon. There are fewer establishments in the U.S. than McDonald’s, but the brand remains very present.
They offer sandwiches not available in other country such as Waffle or Tacos and have an efficient delivery service. Among the favourite burgers, the Stacker King is in a good place.
Americans love chicken, even more so than other countries! The Kentucky Fried Chicken, which everyone calls KFC, is a must for them. Its iconic founder, Colonel Sanders, is always prominently featured on the storefronts of his fast food outlets.
Buckets are the most consumed product. There are buckets of spicy chicken, crispy, small, large, formats for children …
For sandwiches, you can find less than a dozen in the US KFC and the Crispy Colonel Sandwich is the most consumed. For sides, don’t count on fries because an American KFC doesn’t sell them. There are potatoes, coleslaw, corn…
Subway, do we need to present it again? Franchises are opening all over the world and even surpassing the number of Mc Donald’s franchises. In the United States, you’ll find a lot of Subway.
Compared to those in other countries, the offer for breakfast is vast with sandwiches, but also smoked bacon, sweet foods …
Subway’s American wraps are very nice. Don’t hesitate to try!
The brand is only thirty years old and has quickly tried to export itself internationally, while some American fast foods are much larger in terms of headcount and turnover, but remain only in the North American market.
Its burgers revolve exclusively around the classic burgers and cheeseburgers: bacon burger, little chesseburger, bacon cheeseburger… There are also a few sandwiches including one for two for vegetarians and several dogs (cheese dog, bacon dog…).
Fries are guaranteed “cholesterol-free.” Well, it’s still a fast food so the food is very greasy, but it’s still positive to see that an effort is made to limit the damage without super calorie fries.
US fast food to discover in North America
Denny’s is between fast food and classic restaurant. Indeed, you can have your food delivered, ordered and picked up, or eaten in the room. The room does not look like a McDonald’s, but a real restaurant with cards on the tables and waiters who come to take orders and serve you.
Nevertheless, the food runs mostly on fast food dishes. You have a nice offer of burgers, sandwiches and some meats. Prices are attractive and you can easily get away with less than $20 for your burger, fries and all-you-can-eat soda.
On the other hand, as for many establishments in the USA, do not rely too much on desserts because they are rare and when you order one, you surprise the waiter!
Taco Bell is a classic in the United States. The company, founded in 1962, currently has more than 7,000 establishments and annual sales are close to 2 billion.
As the name suggests, Taco Bell sells tasty tacos, but also fajitas, quesadillas, burritos… The cuisine is partly inspired by the Hispanic one, but the American touch is felt. You have a beautiful avalanche of beef, beans, cheese…
On the other hand, you can’t find pork because U.S. demand is low for pork, while Taco Bells in England offer pork.
Yet another American fast food restaurant dedicated to chicken! Chick-fil-A basically works with its drive-in. The supply of burgers is reduced, but when you only make chicken, it is difficult to vary.
For the hungry, a Spicy Chicken Sandwich for less than $4 with just two slices of bread, a piece of grilled chicken, pickles and butter is enough.
To eat more, try the Grilled Chicken Club with a real piece of breadless chicken, bacon, tomatoes and salad, and a sauce. With 500 calories, the burger stalls you without killing you like the biggest burger king.
Chipotle is a recent fast food restaurant since it was created in 1993, but that does not prevent it from already being listed on the stock exchange and expanding internationally. At the moment, there is too little presence in France to be included in our list of American fast food restaurants existing here.
Chipotle advertises itself as a Mexican grill specialist. So you find strong aromas, chillies and other highlights of Mexican fast food in its compositions.
Tacos, burritos and bowls are the main proposals. The vegetarian offer is quite large compared to other fast foods, but this does not guarantee a lighter food.
Take the Vegetarian Bowl sold for $7/8, it contains brown rice, Pinto beans, guacamole, chili…. and 805 calories!
Arby’s was founded in 1964 and is therefore one of the pioneers of fast food in the United States. Nevertheless, while the group has grown, it has not become an international giant. This does not prevent it from displaying its logo in many places in the USA.
His burgers are known to be big. Currently, the special sandwiches are the Bourbon Barbecue. For example, you have Bourbon BBQ Turkey which includes several slices of bacon with brown sugar, BBQ sauce, crispy onions, at least four slices of roasted turkey, cheddar… After you’ve ingested it, you won’t be hungry anymore!
Arby’s classifies its menu by meat: beef, pork, chicken, turkey… This is proof that it is at the center of the fast food menu.
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box is also a fast food alumnus, 1951 by Robert Peterson. There are currently just over 2000 franchises that are present in only 19 states of the United States (mainly on the West Coast).
Jack in the Box offers interesting low-priced deals like the $4.99 Combo including a double BBQ bacon cheeseburger, fries and a large soda. It’s not fast food that has the best tastes or the most original recipes, but work has been done to get out of the classic cheeseburger.
We have a little love for the Sourdough Jack with its toasted bread, beef, bacon, Swiss cheese… This is reminiscent of Quick’s Quick N Toast.
Sonic Drive in
Sonic Drive-In is far from the best known American fast food restaurant in other countries. It relies exclusively on drive-in, a service popular with Americans who like to order to go home and eat on the couch.
The fast food chain has more than 3,500 restaurants in 43 states. Sonic Drive In has never tried to export and the website is even blocked to non-U.S. IPs at the moment. So it’s hard to take stock of the menus on offer, but in our memories, the prices are attractive.
For a Combo double cheeseburger, you pay $7, while the New York Dog is less than $2! The food is particularly greasy. For a Frenchman, a big meal can be a little too much, so for your first visit, do not have eyes bigger than the belly …
In-N-Out was already in place before Ray Kroc even arrived at McDonald’s. So it’s a historic franchise of fast food in the USA. However, its development remains limited with a turnover close to $500 million and less than 400 restaurants.
Perhaps the reason is the preservation of old habits. Don’t look for originality at In-N-Out, even if a treatment is put to the layout of the interiors of restaurants and for the comfort of people who eat on site.
For the menu, it is reduced to the bare minimum, especially in the burgers: double-double (equivalent to a double cheeseburger), cheeseburger and hamburger. 3 sandwiches for only 3 recipes. Don’t expect to find intermittent “specials” or chicken and pork recipes. These burgers are served with fries, and nothing else, and a drink.
El Pollo Loco
Here is a fast food worthy of the one in the series Breaking Bad! El Pollo Loco was founded in Mexico and quickly exported to the United States to make the bulk of its turnover today. There are just under 500 restaurants.
Chicken is at the center of the menu and more specifically, Mexican grilled chicken. You find it in tostadas, burritos, bowls, quesadillas… To satisfy those who want to keep the line, salads with less than 500 calories are available.
For families, the Family Dinners offer is particularly interesting. For twenty dollars, you can have wheat patties, eight pieces of chicken, beans.
Tim Hortons was founded in English-speaking Canada. In fact, across Canada, including Quebec (french part of the country), you have Tim Hortons restaurants. They are serious competitors at McDO.
In the United States, Tim Hortons remains behind fast food leaders, but its strike force is significant. Its parent company, Restaurant Brands International, is powerful.
The breakfast offer is worth a visit. You have small omellettes and a wide variety of sandwiches. Grilled Breakfast Wraps are super good!
The menu for lunch or dinner is less impressive with several sandwiches and bowls. Nevertheless, you will soon find some classics to satisfy your hunger like the Grilled Panini.
Founded by Carl Karcher in 1941, the chain is in the midst of an international expansion.
The menu is complete compared to other fast food like the In-N-Out. You have nearly twenty burgers, but also products for breakfast, others made from chicken.
Our favourite is the simple and effective Wester Bacon Cheeseburger: bread, grilled beef steak, good quantity bacon, ring onions and a delicious barbecue sauce.
Hardee’s is an American fast food chain that’s going up! At the beginning of 2010, there were nearly 1500 restaurants. In 2018, the figure is around 6000. The signs are mostly in the Midwest, but precisely, the brand is trying to expand throughout the American territory.
Hardee’s is easily recognizable by its yellow star-shaped logo that looks like a smiley face. Its offer, its website and even the font used in its logo are reminiscent of Carl’s Junior… and this is normal since they are run by the same parent company.
You will find burgers very close, a little greasy for a Frenchman, but well stocked and with more research than just cheese.
This list is far from exhaustive as the USA is the country of burger and fast food. But not all of them are equal. Those put in the previous list are safe values, for others, we let you try!