• Tom Tran

Most Popular Fast Food Chains in America

Updated: Aug 11

15 Largest Fast Food Restaurant Brands in The US by Number of Locations in 2022


Subway is by far the most popular fast food (quick service restaurant) chain in America with 18,000 stores. McDonald's came in second with 13,000 stores, followed by Starbucks and Dunkin', both being coffee shop brands.


largest fast food chains in america

Top 15 most popular fast food chains list is as follows.

1. Subway

2. McDonald's

3. Starbucks

4. Dunkin'

5. Taco Bell

6. Burger King

7. Domino's Pizza

8. Wendy’s

9. Pizza Hut

10. Dairy Queen

11. KFC

12. Little Caesars

13. Sonic

14. Arby's

15. Papa John's


The Category

Pizza, American Food (Burgers, Fried Chickens, etc.) and Coffee Shop seem to be popular categories in the list. Subway (Sandwiches), Taco Bell (Mexican Food) and Dairy Queen (Desserts) are the exceptions. However, all of them are still very American. Even with Taco Bell, only the influence is Mexican, but the food is pretty much Americanized. Some may argue that pizza is American as well.


The Data

The data source for our chart is Safegraph. When comparing this to the list of Most Popular Fast Food Chains in the World provided by Wikipedia, we can see that some brands did not make it to this list. For example, Hardee's and Carl Jr's are counted separately by Safegraph and thus, are lower in the ranking. Orange Julius often appears alongside Dairy Queen at a location as a secondary brand and is not counted by Safegraph. So is the case with Hunt Brothers Pizza and Baskin Robbins, which are usually inside a convenience store.


Most popular fast food chain in America Dairy Queen
A Dairy Queen (DQ) location with Orange Julius (OJ) on the menu, which is counted as DQ

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