Fast food industry - Statistics & Facts

The fast food industry in the United States is worth approximately 198.9 billion U.S. dollars. By 2020, this figure is forecasted to exceed 223 billion. The majority of this large market is comprised of on-premises restaurants and drive-thrus, the rest consists of off-premises dining (take out) and cafeterias and buffets. In 2016, there were 186,977 franchised quick service restaurants in the United States; a figure which has grown by almost 28 thousand from almost a decade ago.


The ever-growing U.S. fast food industry has produced a number of household brand names, both domestically and globally. Perhaps the most well-known is McDonald’s. With a brand value of over 88 billion U.S. dollars, McDonald’s was by far the most valuable fast food brand in the world in 2016, surpassing its closest competitor Starbucks by a massive 44 billion. In 2015, McDonald’s was also the largest fast food company in terms of revenue, followed by sandwich chain Subway and Yum! Brands, parent of Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut.

Despite generating the most money, McDonald’s has received lower-than-average customer satisfaction ratings in recent years. In a 2015 survey conducted by YouGov, only two percent of respondents stated that McDonald's had the best beef burgers when compared to other fast food burger restaurants. In that same year however, McDonald’s was rated the fast food burger restaurant with the best fries, with 29 percent of respondents favoring their fries over competitors such as Five Guys, In-N-Out Burger and Burger King.

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Quick-service (fast food) restaurants in the U.S. - Important statistics

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Infographics on the topic

Fast food industry Infographic - Which Fast Food Chain Has The Best Burger & Fries?
Fast Food AdvertisingOne in Five Americans Eat Fast Food Several Times a WeekNational Doughnut Day 2013

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