Where would we be without our favorite fast food restaurant? While the food is often criticized for being unhealthy, we personally think fast food is heaven-sent as they are the perfect food for life on the go. Quick, cheap and reliable, fast food is the ultimate comfort food for many people. While we all have our favorite restaurant chain, the battle between each franchise for who is top dog in the fast-food game is a fierce one. With that in mind, we look to the future to see which fast food joint will earn that top spot. Here are the Top 10 Fast Food Chains in 2020. Some of the entries on the list may surprise you.
10. Pizza Hut
Just sneaking into the top ten on our list of predicted big shots in the fast-food game in 2020, is the world’s biggest pizza restaurant chain; Pizza Hut. Founded in the 1950s by brothers Dan and Frank Carney in Wichita, Kansas, Pizza Hut quickly took off and became a huge success and the brothers started to franchise the restaurant within the first year of starting the business. Famous for its Italian/American food such as pizza, pasta, and their infamous ice cream bar, Pizza Hut quickly rose to the top of the fast-food industry. As well as being the biggest pizza chain in the world, Pizza Hut also has another claim to fame as it was the first pizza restaurant to deliver a pizza to space. In 2001, Pizza Hut sent a vacuum-packed pizza to the International Space Station so the astronauts could enjoy some tasty Pizza. It also should be noted that Pizza Hut has dropped a few places over the last few years and Papa John’s and Dominoes are hot on their heals and could well take their spot soon. The battle of the pizza chains is on.
9. Chipotle Mexican Grill
Fast food has been a big business for decades and continues to be some of the biggest money-making companies in the world. While the fast-food format maybe one of the most innovate creations within the restaurant and dining scene, there was a time when people were truly shocked by it. Having to get the food yourself, pay before you eat it and not having a plate to eat it off, was considered truly strange. While it did eventually take off, the fast-food took time to win everyone over. Over the last decade or so there has been a new wave of fast food that looks set to change the game once again and that is fast-casual dining. Fast-casual is a hybrid between dinning and fast food. While it doesn’t offer full table service, it does promote better and healthier food than a typical fast-food joint. With fresher ingredients and less frozen or pre-made meals, fast-casual looks set to shack up the world of fast food. One of the forerunners in the fast-casual movement is Chipotle Mexican Grill. Focusing on good, fast Mexican food such as tacos and burritos, Chipotle Mexican Grill has become one of the fastest-growing franchises in the country. In 2020 it is predicted that Chipotle will grow even bigger and overtake the likes of Pizza Hut and maybe after that, Chipotle will be up with the real big names in food or maybe even the biggest. The sky could be the limed for this Mexican grill.
8. Burger King
On the list of top fast-food restaurants for 2020, there are going to be some shocks and surprises. As there are so many restaurant chains to choose from, and each of us all has our personal favorites, some are going to be missing and others are going to be lower down the list than anyone expected. The first mini shock on our list is Burger King. The famous burger chain has millions of devoted fans so it’s surprising to see the King so low down on the list. While Burger King does still continue to be one of the most recognizable fast-food brands in the world, it has taken a big hit in the sales department. With their obvious rivalry with McDonald’s, who seem to go from strength to strength, Burger King has also seen a big increase in sales and popularity with burger chains like Wendy’s. Because of this Burger King has seen themselves drop to the third biggest burger chain in the country, which isn’t a bad thing, but not what they are used to. With a good year, the King of burgers could see themselves back to the top end of the list.
7. Taco Bell
Next, we come to the biggest Mexican/American fast food restaurant in the country. Taco Bell was founded in the early 1960s by Glen Bell. Incidentally, Bell tried his hand at pretty much every item of fast food before he settled on tacos. Starting with a hot dog stand in San Bernardino, Bell then moved to sell hot dogs and burgers. Soon he added tacos to his menu, which proved to be more popular so he focused on them and opened taco stands. Once the 1960s hit, Bell was ready to unleash Taco Bell on the world. Originally, Taco Bell was a window service only restaurant and had no indoor seating or drive-thru. Taco bell starting to take off and Bell soon franchised the restaurant and the company grew into the chain we love today. Famed for its tasty tacos, as well as being a lot of peoples ‘go-to’ place for late-night snacks, Taco Bell continues to hold its own against the big hitters of the fast-food world and this trend looks set to carry on in 2020.
‘Where’s the beef?’ One of the biggest rises and transformations in fast food in recent years has been Wendy’s. The ‘old fashioned’ style food restaurant has seen a dramatic turnaround as they look to take on burger big shots McDonald’s. Famous for its square burger patties, Wendy’s was founded in Columbus, Ohio by Dave Thomas in the late 1960s. Naming the restaurant after his fourth daughter, Thomas wanted to produce good, old fashioned food that the whole family could enjoy. The inspiration for Wendy’s famous square patties actually came about when Thomas visited the burger restaurant Kewpee Hamburgers. Because the square patties stuck out of the side of the bun, customers could see the quality of the meat, which is exactly the spirit Thomas wanted to instill in his new restaurant; good, quilty food. While it may have taken Wendy’s a little longer to reach the top end of the fast-food royalty, it has had a drastic rebranding of late. With the emphasis more on the quality of food, with new procedures in place to source better and more animal-friendly meat for its burgers, plus stepping up their healthier option game by adding more nutritious meals to their menus. Wendy’s is also working hard on productivity and cutting wait times while still maintaining their high standards of food. All these reasons go a long way to ensure that the red-haired queen of burgers is rising higher in the fast-food world.
Chick-Fil-A is one of the biggest family-owned businesses in the country, as well as being one of the biggest fast-food chains. It prides itself on its family-themed image so much that the franchises of this chicken chain aren’t actually referred to as franchises. Wanting to keep the Chick-Fil-A brand more united than other fast-food chains do, Chick-Fil-A actually calls their franchisees ‘operators.’ This unity is one of the reasons why Chick-Fil-A has been such a big success. Starting from humble beginnings, the company was founded in Georgia by S.Truett Cathy. After years of making a living, just about, in the fast-food industry, Cathy came across a pressure cooker that could cook chicken as fast as a burger. Following this ‘Eureka’ moment, Cathy trademarked the name Chick-fil-A in the 1960s and made it his mission to bring great-tasting, and fast, chicken to the country. Focusing on the chicken sandwich, Chick-Fil-A soon became one of the country’s leaders in great tasting chicken products. Apart from chicken, the other thing that Chick-Fil-A has focused on is customer care. Often coming high in customer polls, Chick-Fil-A takes great care and pride when it comes to speed of food and the quality of service it provides its customers. Other chicken fast-food restaurants, such as Popeyes, have risen in popularity in recent years. However, they will have to work a lot harder if they are going to overtake these chicken giants as Chick-Fil-A continues to be the largest chicken focus fast-food chain in the country. And that includes the fact that every single restaurant closes on Sundays.
4. Dunkin’ Donuts
It could come as a big surprise to many people to find dunkin’ Donuts so high on the list of top fast-food chains for 2020. While there is no denying that Dunkin’ Donuts has cornered the market in donuts and other baked goods, can they really be more profitable than the likes of Burger King, Chick-Fil-A, and Taco Bell? The simple answer is; yes they can. While Dunkin’ Donuts may not have such a hold over the world as other leading fast-food chains; in fact, it’s losing the small hold it has, especially in Canada which no longer has any Dunkin’ Donut stores. Maybe because of this, Dunkin’ Donuts has focused solely on the US market as it continues to thrive on its home turf. The idea for the restaurant chain actually came about when food salesman William Rosenberg noticed that the two most popular items he was selling to factories and construction workers were coffee and donuts. Sticking with that simple principle, Rosenberg set up Dunkin’ Donuts which focused on selling great coffee and donuts. While their menu has expanded a lot over the years, Dunkin’ Donuts still prides itself on being the best American donut and coffee shop. While other chains such as Starbucks, have burst onto the coffee and baked goods scene, Dunkin’ Donuts still manages to hold its own and continues to be a benchmark for a great tasting American donut.
Subway is one of the fast-growing restaurant chains in the history of fast food. In fact, it has so many outlets that in the US alone Subway almost has more restaurants than McDonald’s and Starbucks combined, which is a staggering amount of restaurants. Famed for selling sub sandwiches, Subway paved the way for the healthier option in fast food. The other big concept that set Subway apart for other fast-food chains, in the beginning, was that you could actually see your meal being made. Rather than having it prepared out of sight by people you couldn’t see, Subway made your sandwich in front of your very eyes. Add to that the fact that you could tailor everything about your meal; the bread, filling, sauce, etc made Subway a real fast food trailblazer. Of course, many restaurants and fast-food outlets do the same thing now, but Subway was one of the first. While Subway’s image has been taken down a peg or two over the years; with controversy over its former spokesperson plus issues with chemicals in its ingredients and bread recipes, Subway’s star has faded a little. However, the sandwich giants are still holding on strong as they look to push past the bad press they have had and they continue to be one of the biggest fast-food chains in the country and indeed the world.
As we have mentioned on our list of the predicted top 10 fast-food chains in 2020, Subway has taken a big step down with a lot of recent bad publicity. One of the first clues to their dip in the public eye is that for many years Subway occupied the number two spot on this list. Now, however, the sandwich kings are being overtaken by the Seatle coffee giants Starbucks. While a lot of people out there may not view Starbucks as a true fast-food chain, it does sell food and it is part of a restaurant franchise, so it definitely counts. Starting out in Seattle, Starbucks burst onto the fast-food scene and very quickly became one of the hottest names in food and coffee. Creating more of a concept and lifestyle rather than just a restaurant, Starbuck found itself as the forerunner, and face, of a whole pop culture movement during the 90s. Even decades later, Starbucks continues to promote its unique concept and brand management and we the public are still lapping it up. Not only has Starbucks prided itself on their style but it’s also their customer care. After all, has anyone ever been served by a grumpy or rude member of staff? There may be the odd exception but we certainly haven’t. Starbucks takes a lot of time and effort with its staff and it shows. It is no wonder that Starbucks is still the biggest coffee outlet in the world and now the second biggest fast-food chain overall. While many many coffee shops and chains have opened up since Starbucks made it big, they all pale in comparison to the true leaders and rulers of the coffee world.
Was there seriously any doubt which fast-food chain would come out as number one? Year after year McDonald’s is still the top of the fast-food pile; whether that’s financial, popularity or brand awareness, McDonald’s continues to be world leaders and number one. Not just in fast food but in business as a whole, as those famous Golden Arches is one of the most recognizable logos in the world. Starting out as a simple burger stand back in the 1940s by the McDonald brothers Richard and Morris, their new concept of fast serving food proved a big hit. However, it wasn’t until entrepreneur and salesman Ray Kroc got involved that the McDonald’s brand really started to sell. Kroc franchised the new system across the country and turned it into the fast-food leaders we know and love today. While McDonald’s has had some dips in popularity over the years, plus many lawsuits against them ranging from trademarks to unhealthy food and the treatment of animals and even employees, McDonald’s has risen above it all and continues to be the biggest fast-food chain the world has ever seen. It has been reported that McDonald’s sells an average of 75 fast food items per second across the globe and this could increase as they have now entered the delivery market with third party companies such as Uber Eats and DoorDash. McDonald’s has been at the forefront of fast food for decades and they look to stay number one for decades to come. All this talk of fast food makes us want a Big Mac!