Over the past half century, fast food has become an integral part of American culture. An industry that began with a handful of modest hot dog and hamburger stands in southern California has spread to every corner of the nation, selling a broad range of foods wherever paying customers may be found. Fast food can be found virtually anywhere - at restaurants and drive-throughs, at stadiums, airports, zoos, high schools, elementary schools, and universities, on cruise ships, trains, and airplanes, at Wal-Marts, gas stations, and even at hospital cafeterias. The growth of the Fast Food Industry has been spurred by the rise of huge franchises that operate locations all over North America and in some cases all over the world. The brands associated with these franchises have such huge followings and are so well-known that they are now synonymous with Americana itself. Here is a list of the most popular Fast-food / Fast-Casual franchises in the country. Rank this list and help decide which of these are the best! Sources: NY Times, Wikipedia
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Five Guys Burgers and Fries is an American fast casual restaurant chain focused on hamburgers, hot dogs, and French fries, and headquartered in Lorton, Virginia, an unincorporated part of Fairfax County. The first Five Guys restaurant opened in 1986 in Arlington County, Virginia, and by 2001, the chain had expanded to five locations throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area. A Five Guys restaurant typically consists of red-and-white checkered decorations, open kitchens, a single counter for purchasing and picking up food, and tables and chairs for customers. The Five Guys menu is centered on hamburgers offered with American cheese or bacon, kosher style hot dogs, grilled cheese and vegetable sandwiches. Five Guys uses buns that are sweeter and "eggier" than normal buns. Fresh-cut French fries are the sole side item, available salted only in "Five Guys style" or seasoned "Cajun style". Complimentary roasted in-shell peanuts are also offered for on-site consumption at most locations. For dessert, the chain sells milkshakes available with 10 different mix-ins. Customers can mix and match multiple flavors, and even add bacon to the shake. Five Guys has received numerous awards in D.C. area publications, including "Number 1 Burger" by Washingtonian Magazine for seven years. Former US President Barack Obama is reportedly a fan, buying lunch for himself and his colleagues at the Washington Five Guys branch in 2011. The chain has something of a cult following and remarkable brand loyalty. Five Guys has been rated one of the most talked-about burger brands online. In 2012, Market Force Information, Inc. polled 7,600 fast-food consumers, and Five Guys ranked No. 1 in food quality and taste, service, cleanliness, and atmosphere. In 2011, Five Guys was ranked first in "Fast Food - Large Chains" and "Best Burger" in Zagat's annual Fast Food Survey.
In-N-Out Burger is an American regional chain of fast food restaurants with locations primarily in the American Southwest and Pacific coast. It was founded in Baldwin Park, California in 1948 by Harry Snyder and Esther Snyder. The chain is currently headquartered in Irvine, California and has slowly expanded outside Southern California into the rest of California, as well as into Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and Oregon. The In-N-Out menu consists of three burger varieties: hamburger, cheeseburger, and "Double-Double" (two hamburger patties and two slices of cheese). French fries and fountain drinks are available, as well as three flavors of milkshakes. The hamburgers come with lettuce, tomato, with or without onions (the customer is asked upon ordering, and may have them fresh or grilled), and a sauce, which is called "spread" (a Thousand Island dressing variant). The burger chain has achieved widespread popularity which has led to celebration by some when brought to new locations, and the opening of a new restaurant often becomes an event. When one opened in Scottsdale, Arizona, there was a four-hour wait for food, and news helicopters whirled above the parking lot. In-N-Out is considered by many to be very affordable when compared to its quality. The chain also has fans in a number of renowned chefs including Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Julia Child, Anthony Bourdain, and Mario Batali.
Shake Shack is an American fast casual restaurant chain based in New York City. It started out as a food cart inside Madison Square Park in 2004, and its popularity steadily grew. It eventually moved to a stand within the park, expanding its menu from New York-style hotdogs to one with hamburgers, hotdogs, fries and its namesake milkshakes. The company says it uses all-natural 100% Angus beef only and says that its meat has no hormones nor antibiotics. Shake Shack's eponymous products are its milk shakes, which have been reviewed as some of the best in the industry. As it has grown, the company has also added wine and bottled beers to its beverage menu. In each new location the beverage menu is customized to the local flavors of the city in which it operates.
Buffalo Wild Wings is an American casual dining restaurant and sports bar franchise in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Oman, which specializes in Buffalo wings and sauces. The chain is best known for Buffalo-style chicken wings along with over a dozen dipping sauces, as well as a complement of other items such as chicken tenders and legs. The chain's menu also features appetizers, burgers, tacos, salads, and desserts, along with beer, wine, and other beverages. They are known for their famous "Blazin Wing Challenge." They challenge customers to eat 12 of their hottest wings under six minutes. The winners receive a free T-shirt and get their picture on their wall of fame. The restaurants feature an open layout with a bar area and patio seating flanked by over 50 televisions and media screens.
Chick-fil-A is an American fast food restaurant chain headquartered in the Atlanta district of College Park, Georgia, specializing in chicken sandwiches. Founded in May 1946, it operates more than 2,200 restaurants, primarily in the United States. The restaurant serves breakfast before transitioning to its lunch and dinner menu. Chick-fil-A also offers customers catered selections from its menu for special events. Many of the company's values are influenced by its founder's Southern Baptist beliefs, which is why all Chick-fil-A restaurants are closed for business on Sundays as well as on Thanksgiving and Christmas. The poultry-centric fast-food chain is famous for its waffle fries, freshly-squeezed lemonade spiked with soft-serve ice cream, the aromatic peach shakes, bare-bones fried-chicken sandwich and of course its signature Polynesian sauce. Its combination of southern hospitality and cleanliness make it one of the most popular fast food franchises in the US.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. is an American chain of fast casual restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and France, specializing in tacos and Mission-style burritos. Its name derives from chipotle, the Nahuatl name for a smoked and dried jalapeño chili pepper. Chipotle is one of the first chains of fast casual dining establishments. Chipotle's menu consists of four items: burritos, bowls, tacos, and salads. The price of each item is based on the choice of chicken, pork carnitas, barbacoa, steak, tofu-based "sofritas", or vegetarian (with guacamole, which would be at an extra charge otherwise). Additional optional toppings are offered free of charge, including: rice, beans, queso, four types of salsa, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. When asked in 2007 about expanding the menu, Steve Ells said, "It's important to keep the menu focused, because if you just do a few things, you can ensure that you do them better than anybody else." Chipotle also offers a children's menu. Most restaurants sell beer and margaritas in addition to soft drinks and fruit drinks. The majority of food is prepared in each restaurant. Some exceptions are the beans and carnitas, which are prepared at a central kitchen in Chicago, Illinois. None of the restaurants have freezers, microwave ovens, or can openers.
Burger King is an American global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants. Since its inception, Burger King's menu has expanded from a basic offering of burgers, French fries, sodas, and milkshakes to a larger and more diverse set of products. In 1957, the "Whopper" became the first major addition to the menu, and it has become Burger King's signature product since. The chain is also famous for its other Beef Burgers, Chicken Burgers, Salads & Wraps, Drinks, Breakfast, Sides & Sweets & Desserts.
McDonald's is an American hamburger and fast food restaurant chain. It was founded in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California. In 1948, they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand, using production line principles. The first McDonald's franchise using the arches logo opened in Phoenix, Arizona in 1953. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955 and subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers. Based in Oak Brook, Illinois, McDonald's confirmed plans to move its global headquarters to Chicago by early 2018. Today, McDonald's is one of the world's largest restaurant chains, serving approximately 69 million customers daily in over 100 countries across approximately 36,900 outlets as of 2016. McDonald's primarily sells hamburgers, cheeseburgers, chicken products, french fries, breakfast items, soft drinks, milkshakes, wraps, and desserts. In response to changing consumer tastes and after facing criticism for the unhealthy nature of their food, the company has expanded its menu to include salads, fish, smoothies, and fruit.
Starbucks Corporation is an American coffee company and coffeehouse chain. Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971. As of November 2016, it operates 23,768 locations worldwide. Starbucks is considered the main representative of "second wave coffee", initially distinguishing itself from other coffee-serving venues in the US by taste, quality, and customer experience while popularizing darkly roasted coffee. Since the 2000s, third wave coffee makers have targeted quality-minded coffee drinkers with hand-made coffee based on lighter roasts, while Starbucks nowadays uses automated espresso machines for efficiency and safety reasons. Starbucks locations serve hot and cold drinks, whole-bean coffee, microground instant coffee known as VIA, espresso, caffe latte, full- and loose-leaf teas including Teavana tea products, Evolution Fresh juices, Frappuccino beverages, La Boulange pastries, and snacks including items such as chips and crackers; some offerings (including their annual fall launch of the Pumpkin Spice Latte) are seasonal or specific to the locality of the store. Many stores sell pre-packaged food items, hot and cold sandwiches, and drinkware including mugs and tumblers; select "Starbucks Evenings" locations offer beer, wine, and appetizers. Starbucks-brand coffee, ice cream, and bottled cold coffee drinks are also sold at grocery stores.
Subway is one of the fastest-growing franchises in the world and, as of June 2017, has approximately 45,000 stores located in more than 100 countries. More than half of the stores are located in the United States. It is the largest single-brand restaurant chain and the largest restaurant operator in the world. Subway's core product is the submarine sandwich (or "sub"). In addition to these, the chain also sells wraps, salad, paninis, and baked goods (including cookies, doughnuts, and muffins). Subway's best-selling sandwich, the B.M.T., contains pepperoni, salami, and ham. The name originally stood for Brooklyn Manhattan Transit, but now stands for "Bigger, Meatier, Tastier". Subway also sells breakfast sandwiches, English muffins, and flatbread. In 2006, "personal pizzas" debuted in some US markets. These are made to order (like the subs) and heated for 85 seconds. Breakfast and pizza items are only available in some stores. In November 2009, Subway signed a deal to serve exclusively Seattle's Best Coffee coffee as part of its breakfast menu in the US. A 2009 Zagat survey named Subway the best provider of "Healthy Options" (in the "Mega Chain" category). Subway was also first in "Top Service" and "Most Popular" rankings. It placed second in "Top Overall", behind Wendy's.
Wendy's is an American international fast food restaurant chain founded by Dave Thomas on November 15, 1969, in Columbus, Ohio. The company moved its headquarters to Dublin, Ohio, on January 29, 2006. As of 2016, Wendy's was the world's third largest hamburger fast food chain with 6,500+ locations, following Burger King and McDonald's. Wendy's menu consists primarily of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, French fries and beverages, including the signature Frosty, which is a soft-serve frozen dairy dessert. Wendy's uses square hamburger patties – which hang over the edge of a circular bun – as its signature item.
Taco Bell is an American chain of fast-food restaurants based in Irvine, California. They are known for their variety of Tex-Mex foods, including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, other specialty items, and a variety of "value menu" items. With its affordable prices, Taco Bell attracts more than 2 billion customers each year at 7,000 restaurants, more than 80 percent of which are owned and operated by independent franchisees and licensees. Taco bell is often considered a late night fast food restaurant because it is usually open till 2 AM or later. Because it is open till late and it’s menu prices are very low, it is thought to be one of the best “drunk foods.”
Dunkin' Donuts is an American global donut company and coffeehouse based in Canton, Massachusetts, in Greater Boston. It was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in Quincy, Massachusetts. Since its founding, the company has grown to become one of the largest coffee and baked goods chains in the world, with more than 12,000 restaurants in 36 countries. The chain's products include donuts, bagels, other baked goods, and a wide variety of hot and iced beverages.
Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain and international franchise founded in 1958 by Dan and Frank Carney. The company is known for its Italian-American cuisine menu including pizza and pasta, as well as side dishes and desserts. Pizza Hut has over 16,000 locations worldwide. Pizza Hut is split into several different restaurant formats: the original family-style dine-in locations; storefront delivery and carry-out locations; and hybrid locations that have carry-out, delivery, and dine-in options. Some full-size Pizza Hut locations have a lunch buffet, with "all-you-can-eat" pizza, salad, bread sticks, and a pasta bar.
Panera Bread Company is an American chain of bakery-café fast casual restaurants in the United States and Canada. Its headquarters are in Sunset Hills, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, and operates as Saint Louis Bread Company in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Offerings include soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches, specialty drinks, and bakery items. St. Louis Bread was founded by Ken Rosenthal in 1987 when he opened the first location in Kirkwood, Missouri. In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co. purchased the St. Louis Bread Company. In 1997, Au Bon Pain changed the company name to Panera, a word that has roots meaning "bread basket" in Latin. At the same time, the St. Louis Bread Company was renovating its 20 bakery-cafés in the St. Louis area. In the St. Louis area where it was founded, Panera Bread still operates under the name St. Louis Bread Company. The St. Louis metropolitan area has over 101 locations. Panera stylizes themselves as a peaceful "Bakery-Cafe" and offers a wide array of pastries and baked goods, such as croissants, bagels, cookies, scones, muffins and brownies. These, along with Panera's artisan breads, are typically baked before dawn by an on-staff baker. Some locations also participate in a program that donates their unsold baked goods to local charities after closing hours. Aside from the bakery section, Panera has a regular menu for dine-in or takeout that is broken down into the following categories. In a 2008 Health magazine study, Panera Bread was judged North America's healthiest fast casual restaurant.
KFC, until 1991 known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is an American fast food restaurant chain that specializes in fried chicken. Headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, it is the world's second-largest restaurant chain (as measured by sales) after McDonald's, with almost 20,000 locations globally in 123 countries and territories as of December 2015. The chain is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, a restaurant company that also owns the Pizza Hut and Taco Bell chains. KFC was founded by Colonel Harland Sanders, an entrepreneur who began selling fried chicken from his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Kentucky during the Great Depression. Sanders identified the potential of the restaurant franchising concept, and the first "Kentucky Fried Chicken" franchise opened in Utah in 1952. KFC popularized chicken in the fast food industry, diversifying the market by challenging the established dominance of the hamburger. By branding himself as "Colonel Sanders", Harland became a prominent figure of American cultural history, and his image remains widely used in KFC advertising. However, the company's rapid expansion overwhelmed the aging Sanders and he sold it to a group of investors led by John Y. Brown Jr. and Jack C. Massey in 1964. KFC's original product is pressure fried chicken pieces, seasoned with Sanders' recipe of 11 herbs and spices. The constituents of the recipe represent a notable trade secret. Larger portions of fried chicken are served in a cardboard "bucket", which has become a well known feature of the chain since it was first introduced by franchisee Pete Harman in 1957. Since the early 1990s, KFC has expanded its menu to offer other chicken products such as chicken fillet burgers and wraps, as well as salads and side dishes, such as French fries and coleslaw, desserts, and soft drinks, the latter often supplied by PepsiCo. KFC is known for its slogans "Finger Lickin' Good", "Nobody does chicken like KFC" and "So good".
Domino's Pizza Inc. is a large American pizza restaurant chain founded in 1960. The corporation is headquartered at the Domino's Farms Office Park in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. Domino's began In 1960, when Tom Monaghan and his brother, James, purchased DomiNick's, a small pizza store at 301 West Cross Street in Ypsilanti, Michigan, near Eastern Michigan University. One day an employee returned from a pizza delivery and suggested the name Domino's. Monaghan immediately loved the idea and officially renamed the business Domino's Pizza, Inc. in 1965. The Domino's menu varies by region. The current Domino's menu in the United States features a variety of Italian-American main and side dishes. Pizza is the primary focus, with traditional, specialty, and custom pizzas available in a variety of crust styles and toppings. In 2011, Domino's launched artisan-style pizzas. Additional entrees include pasta, bread bowls, and oven-baked sandwiches. The menu offers chicken and bread sides, as well as beverages and desserts. From its founding until the early 1990s, the menu at Domino's Pizza was kept simple relative to other fast food restaurants, to ensure efficiency of delivery. Historically, Domino's menu consisted solely of one pizza in two sizes (12-inch and 16-inch), 11 toppings, and Coca-Cola as the only soft drink option.
Sonic Drive-In, more commonly known as Sonic, is an American drive-in fast-food restaurant chain based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As of September 5 2017, 3,557 restaurants were in 45 U.S. states. In 2011, it was ranked 10th in QSR Magazine's rankings of the top 50 quick-service and fast-casual restaurant brands in the nation (moving to 13th for 2015 and 2016). Known for its use of carhops on roller skates, the company annually hosts a competition to determine the top skating carhop in its system.
Little Caesar Enterprises Inc. (doing business as Little Caesars) is the third-largest pizza chain in the United States, behind Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza. It operates and franchises pizza restaurants in the United States and internationally in Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean. The company was founded in 1959 and is based in Detroit, Michigan, headquartered in the Fox Theatre building in Downtown. The company is famous for its advertising catchphrase, "Pizza! Pizza!" which was introduced in 1979. The phrase refers to two pizzas being offered for the comparable price of a single pizza from competitors. Originally, the pizzas were served in a single long package (a piece of corrugated cardboard in 2-by-1 proportions, with two square pizzas placed side by side, then slid into a form-fitting paper sleeve that was folded and stapled closed). In addition to pizza, they served hot dogs, chicken, shrimp, and fish. Little Caesars has since discarded the unwieldy packaging in favor of typical pizza boxes. Little Caesars specializes in a variety of pizzas. Several core menu items are part of the HOT-N-READY menu, designed to make popular items available for immediate carry-out at lower prices than competing chains, while others are made to order and customizable using an assortment of toppings, which vary by store. Standard pizza options include their Classic Cheese and/or Pepperoni, Italian Sausage Pizza, Hula Hawaiian Pizza, Three Meat Treat Pizza, Ultimate Supreme Pizza, and Veggie Pizza. In 2013, they added the DEEP!DEEP! Dish Pizza, a Detroit-style pizza, to the menu, which can be ordered as a full-size, 8-corner pizza, or as of 2014, in a smaller portion with a Pepsi product as part of their lunchtime combo deal. Additional entrée options include flavored wings and bread, such as Crazy Bread and Italian Cheese Bread. Select locations offer salads. All Little Caesars locations carry Pepsi products.
Dairy Queen, often abbreviated DQ, is a chain of soft serve ice cream and fast-food restaurants owned by International Dairy Queen, Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. International Dairy Queen, Inc., also owns Orange Julius and Karmelkorn. The first DQ restaurant was located in Joliet, Illinois. It was operated by Sherb Noble and opened for business on June 22, 1940. It served a variety of frozen products, such as soft serve ice cream.
Arby's Restaurant Group, Inc, or simply Arby's, is the second-largest quick-service fast-food sandwich restaurant chain in the U.S. in terms of units with more than 3,300 restaurants system wide and third in terms of revenue. In October 2017, Food & Wine called Arby's "America's second largest sandwich chain (after Subway)". Arby's was founded in Boardman, Ohio, on July 23, 1964, by Forrest (1922–2008) and Leroy Raffel, owners of a restaurant equipment business who thought there was a market opportunity for a fast food franchise based on a food other than hamburgers. The brothers wanted to call their restaurants "Big Tex", but that name was already used by an Akron business. Instead, they chose the name "Arby's", based on R. B., the initials of Raffel Brothers. In addition to roast beef, deli style sandwiches, called "Market Fresh Sandwiches," are sold at Arby's. The original lineup of sandwiches included Roast Beef and Swiss, Roast Turkey and Swiss, Roast Ham and Swiss, and Roast Chicken Caesar. With the exception of the Chicken Caesar, all Market Fresh Sandwiches came with the standard toppings of spicy brown honey mustard, mayonnaise, red onion rings, green leaf lettuce, tomato slices and sliced Swiss cheese. Corned beef and turkey Reuben sandwiches were added to the menu in 2005. Toasted Subs, sandwiches served on a toasted ciabatta roll, were first introduced in September 2007. The initial line-up included the French Dip & Swiss Toasted Sub, Philly Beef Toasted Sub, Classic Italian Toasted Sub, and Turkey Bacon Club. Three months later, the Toasted Subs product line was extended to include the Meatball Toasted Sub and the Chicken Parmesan Toasted Sub.
Jack in the Box is an American fast-food restaurant chain founded February 21, 1951, by Robert O. Peterson in San Diego, California, where it is headquartered. The chain has 2,200 locations, primarily serving the West Coast of the United States and selected large urban areas in the eastern portion of the US including Texas. Food items include a variety of hamburger and cheeseburger sandwiches along with selections of internationally themed foods such as tacos and egg rolls. The company also operates the Qdoba Mexican Grill chain. Although best known for its hamburgers, Jack in the Box's most popular product is its taco, which it has sold since the first restaurant in the 1950s. As of 2017, the company sells 554 million a year manufactured in three factories in Texas and Kansas. Besides tacos, other Americanized foods from ethnic cuisines that Jack in the Box offers include egg rolls, breakfast burritos, and poppers. New items come in on a rotation every three to four months, including the Philly cheesesteak and the deli style pannidos (deli trio, ham & turkey, zesty turkey) which were replaced by Jack's ciabatta burger and included the original ciabatta burger and the bacon 'n' cheese ciabatta. Jack in the Box also carries seasonal items such as pumpkin pie shakes, Oreo mint shakes, and eggnog shakes during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. In some locations, local delicacies are a regular part of the menu. Locations in Hawaii, for example, include the Paniolo Breakfast (Portuguese sausage, eggs, and rice platter) and teriyaki chicken and rice bowl. In the Southern United States, the company offers biscuits and sweet tea. In Imperial County, California, some locations sell date shakes, reflecting the crop's ubiquity in the region's farms. In the spring of 2007, Jack in the Box also introduced its sirloin burger and followed this up recently with the sirloin steak melt. Its more recent foray into the deli market was the less-popular Ultimate Club Sandwich which was initially removed in Arizona due to poor sales and has since been phased out at all locations.
Papa John's Pizza is an American restaurant franchise company. It runs the third largest take-out and pizza delivery restaurant chain in the United States, with headquarters in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, a suburb of Louisville. The Papa John's restaurant was founded in 1984 when "Papa" John Schnatter knocked out a broom closet in the back of his father's tavern, Mick's Lounge, in Jeffersonville, Indiana. He then sold his 1971 Camaro Z28 to purchase US$1,600 worth of used pizza equipment and began selling pizzas to the tavern's customers out of the converted closet. His pizzas proved so popular that one year later he was able to move into an adjoining space. Dipping sauce specifically for pizza was invented by Papa John's Pizza that same year, so it is claimed although any number of other pizza places have historically provided pizza sauce for dipping when requested, and has since become popular when eating pizza, especially the crust.
Long John Silver's LLC is an American fast-food restaurant chain that specializes in seafood. The brand's name is derived from the novel Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, in which the pirate "Long John" Silver is one of the main characters. Formerly a division of Yum! Brands, Inc., the company was divested to a group of franchisees in September 2011. The first restaurant was opened on August 18, 1969, in Lexington, Kentucky. The original location, on 301 Southland Drive just off Nicholasville Road, was previously a seafood carry out restaurant named the Cape Codder.
Steak 'n Shake is an American casual restaurant chain located primarily in the Midwestern and Southern United States with locations also in the Mid-Atlantic and Western United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Steak 'n Shake Operations, Inc. is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. There are 544 locations, of which 417 are company-operated and 127 are franchised. Typical restaurant locations have sit-down, drive-thru and front-window service, resulting in a hybrid of fast-food to-go service and diner-style sit-down service. Many Steak 'n Shake restaurants are open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. The menu features primarily hamburgers and hand-dipped milkshakes, though other entrees, side items, and drinks are also available. There is no steak on the menu. The corporation's slogan "Famous for Steakburgers" refers to its most prominent food item, the "Steakburger", so called because it was originally made from a mixture that included T-bone, sirloin, and round steaks.
White Castle is an American regional hamburger restaurant chain in the Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. It has been generally credited as the country's first fast-food chain. It is known for its small, square hamburgers. Sometimes referred to as "sliders", the burgers were priced at five cents until the 1940s and remained at ten cents for years thereafter. For several years, when the original burgers sold for five cents, White Castle periodically ran promotional ads in local newspapers which contained coupons offering five burgers for ten cents, takeout only. On January 14, 2014, Time labeled the White Castle slider the most influential burger of all time.
Popeyes is an American multinational chain of fried chicken fast food restaurants founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Since 2008, its full brand name is Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and it was formerly named Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits and Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken & Biscuits. It is currently a subsidiary of Restaurant Brands International. Popeyes is the second-largest "quick-service chicken restaurant group, measured by number of units", with more than 2,600 restaurants in more than 40 states and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 30 countries worldwide, after KFC. About thirty locations are company-owned, the rest franchised. Popeyes serves chicken dishes in mild and spicy flavors and offers sides such as red beans and rice, Cajun fries, mashed potatoes with Cajun-style gravy, and Cajun rice. As well as fried chicken, other entree items include a chicken-and-sausage jambalaya and po' boy sandwiches. Most combo meals come with a side order, drink, and a biscuit. On October 30, 2006, AFC announced that Popeyes planned to introduce a trans fat-free biscuit as well as french fries containing one gram of trans fat by year-end. On November 18, 2011, AFC announced that Popeyes is releasing a Fried Turducken sandwich that will show off the first ever Turducken patty just for the Thanksgiving holiday. On July 29, 2013, AFC in conjunction with their Popeyes brand, released a special entree of fried chicken strips dipped in waffle batter, which was already a proven success in some markets. For a limited time only in 2017, Popeyes offered "Sweet and Crunchy" chicken, fried chicken tenders coated in shortbread cookie breading.
Chili's Grill & Bar is an American casual dining restaurant chain that features Tex-Mex-style cuisine. The company was founded by Larry Lavine in Texas in 1975 and is currently owned and operated by Brinker International. Chili's first location, a converted postal station on Greenville Ave. in the Vickery Meadows area of Dallas, Texas, opened in 1975. The original Chili's on Greenville Ave. moved to a new building on the same site in 1981 before relocating again in 2007. Lavine's concept was to create an informal, full-service dining restaurant with a menu featuring different types of hamburgers offered at an affordable price. The brand proved successful, and by the early 1980s, there were 28 Chili's locations in the region, all featuring similar Southwest decor. In addition to their regular menu, the company offers a nutritional menu, allergen menu, and vegetarian menu. It also offers a veggie burger (non-vegan) that is supplied by the Kellogg Company. In 2016, the "Sunrise Burger" (which includes an egg) and the "Ultimate Bacon Burger" were added to the menu.
Whataburger is an American privately held regional fast food restaurant chain, based in San Antonio, Texas, that specializes in hamburgers. The company, founded by Harmon Dobson and Paul Burton, opened its first restaurant in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1950. The chain is owned and operated by the Dobson family, along with 25 franchisers. As of April 2017, there are currently 809 Whataburger stores across the Southeastern and Southwestern United States regions. Whataburger was known for many years for its distinct A-framed orange-and-white-stripe-roofed buildings. The first A-frame restaurant was built in Odessa, Texas, and is now a historical landmark. The company's core products includes the "Whataburger", the "Whataburger Jr.", the "Justaburger", the "Whatacatch" (fish sandwich), and the "Whatachick'n". The company also has a breakfast menu.
IHOP, officially known as the International House of Pancakes, is an American multinational pancake house/diner-style table service restaurant chain that specializes in breakfast foods. It is owned by DineEquity, with 99% of the restaurants run by independent franchisees. While IHOP's focus is on breakfast foods, it also offers a menu of lunch and dinner items. The company has 1,650 locations in North America, Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. It is known for many of its locations being open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For locations that are not open 24 hours, the franchise's minimum operating hours are Sunday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 12 midnight.
Red Lobster Hospitality LLC is an American casual dining restaurant chain headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The company has operations in Canada, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Mexico, and Japan, in addition to the United States. As of February 24, 2013, the company had 705 locations worldwide. Golden Gate Capital has been Red Lobster's parent company since it was acquired from Darden Restaurants on July 28, 2014. The brand specializes in seafood, including lobster, shrimp, fish, crab, and mollusks. It also serves chicken, steak, and pasta.
Applebee's International, Inc., is an American company which develops, franchises, and operates the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill + Bar restaurant chain. As of December 2015, there were 2,033 restaurants operating system-wide in the United States, one U.S. territory (Puerto Rico), and 15 other countries, all owned and operated by franchisees. The Applebee's concept focuses on casual dining, with mainstream American dishes such as salads, shrimp, chicken, pasta, and "riblets" (which is considered Applebee's signature dish). All Applebee's restaurants feature a bar area and serve alcoholic beverages (except where prohibited by law). On November 29, 2007, IHOP (now DineEquity) announced that it had completed a $2 billion purchase of the Applebee's chain.
TGI Fridays is an American restaurant chain focusing on casual dining. The company is a unit of the Sentinel Capital Partners and TriArtisan Capital Partners, who purchased the company from Carlson Companies in May 2014. The name is asserted to stand for "Thank God It's Friday", although as of 2010 some television commercials for the chain have also made use of the alternative phrase, "Thank Goodness It's Friday." Fridays is known for their unique dining and bar-side experiences throughout the world. Alan Stillman opened the first T.G.I. Fridays restaurant in 1965 in New York. At the time, he recalled that "there was no public place for people between, say, twenty-three to thirty-seven years old, to meet." He sought to recreate a comfortable cocktail party atmosphere in public despite having no experience in the restaurant business. Fridays has a large menu with an emphasis on alcoholic beverages. T.G.I. Fridays formerly served Atkins-approved appetizers, entrées, and desserts. In 2006, the Atkins name was removed from the menu, but the restaurant continues to offer both low-carbohydrate and low-fat menu items. The UK and US menus offer gluten-free items.
Waffle House, Inc., is an American restaurant chain with more than 2,100 locations in 25 states in the United States. Most of the locations are in the South, where the chain is a regional cultural icon. Waffle House is headquartered in an unincorporated part of Gwinnett County, Georgia, near Norcross. The chain's restaurants almost always have jukeboxes, which have traditionally played 45-rpm singles and, in some cases, CDs. Often, the entire first column of selections and much of the second column would have songs about Waffle House and its food. Many of the songs are written and/or sung by people with connections to the chain, such as Mary Welch Rogers. The songs are on ordinary discs, which are produced for Waffle House and are not commercially sold, but the chain has made a CD of some of the songs available for sale. In 2012-13, most (if not all) of the locations have removed the 45-rpm/CD jukeboxes in favor of digital touchscreen jukeboxes, which, at Waffle House restaurants, still feature all of the original Waffle House songs.
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