Top 12 Biggest Fast Food Chains in the World

It may not be food of the Gods but it is definitely the food of the fast people living in today’s world. It may not be the healthiest thing around but it is definitely some of the cheapest and tastiest stuff you’ll get. It may not exactly be ‘gastronomically brilliant’ but at least it doesn’t have astronomical prices. Yep, what I am talking about is the food we all love to hate and yet hate to love, the none other than the food of our generation – Fast Food. Burgers, pizza, pasta, chicken wings, coffees, donuts – all made quickly and all on the go. Today, we can’t possibly do without that one fast food chain on which we all depend, be it McDonald’s for when your budget is low or Starbucks for our everyday fix of coffee. The recent times have seen a sudden spurt in the number of fast food chains in the world and yet, there are a few names which have been on top since forever.

Here is a list of the top 12 biggest fast food chains in the world –

12. Arby’s

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Arby’s is not a name that many people outside the US have heard of and that is because apart from USA it is only located in 3 countries- Canada, Turkey and Qatar. It was opened in Ohio in 1964 by 2 brothers who thought there was a market in fast-food apart from the one for hamburgers. So began the journey of Arby’s. They serve sandwiches, salads, chips, fries, iced-teas etc. Their beef sandwiches are very famous along with the curly fries and mozzarella sticks. They had restaurants in many countries but they all shut down in the 1990s. Today, they have 3,400 restaurants over all.

11. Papa John’s Pizza

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Pizza is the favorite of most of the young people around the world. There are of course many varieties in it and so each one can have it the way he likes it. Papa John’s was founded in 1983 by ‘Papa’ John Schnatter. He started out as selling pizzas for people working at a tavern and within 1 year, he became so popular that he expanded. Today, Papa John is the 3rd largest take-out and delivery pizza restaurant chain in US. They have over 4000 establishments globally in 33 countries now. Their slogan is ‘Better Ingredients. Better Pizza.’ They are now fast expanding their business in more and more countries.

10. Dairy Queen

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Often abbreviated as DQ is this chain of soft-serve and fast-food. DQ was opened in 1940 in Illinois by Noble and McCullough. John McCullough developed the concept of soft-serve in 1938 and they soon cashed in on their new discovery. Today, DQ serves mainly ice-creams, soft-severs, sundaes and milkshakes but for a complete meal, they have also started serving hot-dogs, burgers, salads etc. Their most famous item is the Blizzard frozen treat. Today, they are located in almost 30 countries and have some 5,700 restaurants globally. They are now expanding their territories.

9. Taco Bell

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Taco Bell is by far, the most successful brand of food-chain selling Mexican food. It was started in Irvine, California by a man named Glen Bell in 1954 under the name Taco Tia. He focused on selling tacos and his food stand became so famous among the people that very soon, he opened many restaurants in South California and it was only in 1962 that he opened the first restaurant called Taco Bell. As the name suggests, they serve Tex-Mex food such as nachos, tacos, burritos, quesadillas etc. As of 2013, they had 6,500 restaurants around the world with revenue of $ 1.9 billion (2009). Their slogan ‘think out of the bun’ surely made people get out of the burger madness.

8. Dunkin’ Donuts

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One of the most famous American doughnut company Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world. It was founded in 1950 by William Rosenberg in the state of Massachusetts, and since its inception, it only grown bigger and better. It serves donuts and a wide variety of them, munchkins, coffee, bagels, burgers and many other baked goods. It competes with Starbucks as it also serves coffee and does so at a very cheap price. They have area-specific donuts all around the world. As of today, it is a humongous chain with 11,000 restaurants world-wide in 33 countries. The future looks very bright for this fast-food chain.

7. Domino’s Pizza

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The second largest pizza chain in the US and the largest pizza chain worldwide, Domino’s is number 7 on our list. It was founded in 1960 in Michigan. The company expanded very quickly and is now one of the biggest fast-food chains in the world. They basically serve pizza, pasta and other Italian-American cuisine, along with submarines, sandwiches, wraps and desserts. Their famous 30 minute guarantee says that if the pizza is not delivered to you within 30 mins of the order, you get it for free. This has helped the chain in its PR. Domino’s has around 11,000 outlets in about 70 countries. Domino’s is now a household name.

6. Pizza Hut

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Pizza Hut is a name that anyone who knows about fast-food is familiar with. The American fast food chain company is the largest take-out and delivery chain in the world.  It was started in 1958 in Kansas by Dan and Frank Carney. Today it has many formats including dine-in, take-out, delivery, buffets etc. It serves pizzas, pastas, salads, break sticks, Buffalo wings, desserts etc. As of 2012, they had around 11,139 restaurants worldwide with a presence in 94 countries. It is the most popular fast-food pizza in almost all parts of the world.

5. Burger King

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Burger King was started in 1954 in Miami, Florida by 2 Hotel Administration graduated from a local college. They started it gauging the success of McDonald’s. A few years down the line, they had new owners after some difficulties with the old ones. In 1957, they introduced their signature item, the Whopper burger. This would become their best-selling burger and is now dubbed to be America’s Favorite Sandwich. Their menu is now over the simple burgers, fries and coke and they now sell many other things like salads, shakes, wings etc. Burger King has 13,667 restaurants in over 95 countries today. Its main competitor all over is only McDonald’s.

 4. Starbucks

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Starbucks is now synonymous with coffee and vice-versa. This American chain of coffeehouse company is the largest in the world. It started off modestly in 1971 in Seattle but soon grew to become an empire that it is today. It was started by 3 partners who wanted to start a high-quality coffee house. Today Starbucks sells some of the widest ranges of coffees from all around the world and as accompaniments, they serves bagels, sandwiches, pastries etc. Starbucks has a whopping 23,187 shops around the world and revenue of $ 14.89 billion. They are open in 64 countries and it looks like this chain is only going to grow bigger and bigger.

3. KFC

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KFC is the abbreviated form for Kentucky Fried Chicken. This fast food chain was started in 1930 in Kentucky by Colonel Sanders but it’s first franchise was only started in 1952. It is the world’s second largest restaurant chain in terms of sales, only behind McDonald’s. It serves hamburgers, fries, chicken wings, desserts, milkshakes etc. It was one of the first fast-food chains to expand internationally. Today it has 18,875 outlets in 118 countries all across the globe. They have a secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices that is known only to few. It is definitely one of the most popular places to eat.

2. Subway

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Subway is another American fast-food franchise company which specializes in making submarine sandwiches, popularly called subs and salads. Amongst all the other fast-food chains, Subway is the healthier option. It was in 1965 in Connecticut by Fre DeLuca and Peter Buck. It was originally called ‘Pete’s Super Submarines’ and in 1968 it was renamed as Subway. They sell subs, wraps, salads, baked good etc. They have 42,070 outlets in 107 countries. Their best selling sandwich is the Italian BMT which has pepperoni, salami and ham. With it being one of the healthier options, it’s popularity is also tremendous all around the world.

1. McDonald’s

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McDonald’s is the world’s largest fast-food chain. It was started in 1940 in California by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald and it soon spurned into the world’s largest fast-food empire. It serves burgers, friends, wraps and rolls along with shakes, desserts etc. Their menu is always designed to suit a place geographically and culturally. They also have McCafe which is their outlet that serves a breakfast menu. They have more than 35,000 outlets around the world and their sales are always skyrocketing with them having a revenue of $ 28.1057 billion (2013). It just goes to show how fast-food crazy we are today.


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