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What fast food restaurant do you like the best? [moved frm "Chick-fil-A's Chicken" thread]

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DT,

What fast food restaurant do you like the best? Let's limit to national or semi-national chain/franchise, and not a mom-and-pop single store somewhere in Chicago.

  1. Well. I guess first and foremost, are you allowing Skyline Chili?? A smaller foot print than InO but fairly prevalent in Cinci and radiating outwards.
    Anyway, they'd be my #1. Most consistant.

    I don't know what national chains I would say could be my #1. I mean, I love Taco Bell. Would I say it's the best. No. I just have a soft spot in my heart for their slop. Conversely, I find a double cheeseburger off the dollar menu at McD's can really satisfy a craving but don't think the food is all that great. Over all have a lot of respect for them for constantly changing, evolving and otherwise trying to stay on the leading edge of the curve. They may be in my argument for "Best" but certainly not favourite.

    Without giving it much thought I would offer up, from places I do like, Hardee's/Carl's Jr. or Hooters.

    I find it rather hard to decide since to truly get a good opinion I think you should try product from all over the country/continent.

    DT

    49 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      <are you allowing Skyline Chili?? >

      No, just because I have never heard of it. :) What is it?

      <I do like, Hardee's/Carl's Jr.>

      I like Carl's too. That little star makes me smile.

      <or Hooters.>

      Ok... you just lost me there.

      1. re: Davwud

        DT, Skyline Chili, not even chili, not good, Taco Bell, maybe I despise it because I live where I can get real tacos for less money, McDonald's, nuff said. There's no Hardee's/Carl's Jr. here, but I had a Hardee's in Mississippi years ago and remember it to be ok, so I'll give you the benefit of doubt. I've tried most of the Hooter's dishes trying to find something good, and have failed every time. Hamburgers and fried fish/oysters, poor, and the wings terrible. Bad food and one or two good looking, indiferrent to rude servers can't be saved by cold beer and sports. On to Chick-Fil-A which you say you've been there once, and you didn't like the vegetation, well it consists of one pickle slice. As suggested early, try one without a pickle and they'll make one fresh. It's much better than the ones in a warmer. Give them another try. I'm beginning to think your taste buds might be the problem here.

        1. re: James Cristinian

          Hardee's does not compare to Carl's Jr regardless of their ownership and so called similar menu items. Carl's Jr is much better.

        2. re: Davwud

          Hmmmm. Re Skyline chile, I'm an Empress man myself. They invented it, but they've pulled back quite a bit and it's hard to find nowadays. Unfortunately for me, these days about the only way I can satisfy my Cincinnati chile craving is a Gold Star location in Lexington Ky that I stop at sometimes when passing through on I-75.

          1. re: johnb

            Where in Ky?? I know there's a few just off 75 up around Florence.

            DT

            1. re: Davwud

              Man O' War Blvd. exit just south of where I-64 breaks off. Go west to first light and make a left -- it's right there.

          2. re: Davwud

            Definitely agree on Skyline. Besides my love of their chili -- which, yes, IS chili, just a different sort than some are used to -- their stores are always classy, clean, and well-maintained in my experience.

            I'd also offer up Steak & Shake as an excellent chain with better product than most.

            1. re: Boston_Otter

              Steak and Shake is pretty awesome, but is Steak and Shake or Cheeseburger Cheeseburger really fast food chains? It is not fast on the same scale as McDonald or Chic-Fil-A. Its model is a diner, like Denny's. So I don't think we should compare a fast food chain to a diner.

              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                It's Cheeburger, Cheeburger, not Cheeseburger Cheeseburger.

                IIRC, at both S&S and CC one can stand around and get his burger to go, and about as quickly as at, say, In-n-Out (more or less) so if I-n-O qualifies I think they do too.

                How, with precision, are we to define fast food? The only strict definition of fast food that I know of is places that cook a complete, ready to sell product to inventory rather than to customer order, but that definition is violated nearly everywhere these days, so I don't think there actually is a hard-and-fast definition that applies unambiguously.

                1. re: johnb

                  John,

                  S&S is modeled after diner, not fast food restaurant.

                  "Steak 'n Shake is a diner-style restaurant chain located primarily in the Midwestern and Southern United States."

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steak_&#...

                  <How, with precision, are we to define fast food?>

                  Yes, there can be a grey area sometime, but one can also ask the same question for just about anything. What is the definition between a regular diner and a fine diner, aren''t there diners kind of in between being a regular and being high end?

                  If you look closely at the Steak n' Shake business model, then you can see it is not modeled after fast food chains like McDonald. It is more like a diner on the any highway. The atmosphere, the service...etc are different. For one, you do have a waiter or waitress walking you to the table, taking your order, bring you the check...etc. The pace (atmosphere) is different.

                  <but that definition is violated nearly everywhere these days,>

                  There are a few differences between a fast food restaurant and a regular diner. Sometime some of these differences are violated and you are left with something in between, like In-N-Out. In-N-Out is similar to a typical fast food restaurant model, but it prepares the food on the spot and also a few minor differences. Still, In-N-Out overall resembles a typical fast food restaurant more so than a typical diner. Steak 'N Shake, on the other hand, resembles a diner more than a fast food restaurant -- to me anyway.

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    But you see, you are exactly making my point. This thread is asking about "fast food" restaurants. But where do we draw the line? You said a lot in your response, but in the end all the meandering around in your response shows exactly that there is no clear dividing line between fast food and other types of restaurant offerings.

                    I know very well what S&S is, thank you. Among other things, I have often bought take out from them that was served to me VERY QUICKLY.

                    My point of mentioning "violating" the definition of fast food, as I tried to make clear, related to food preparation for inventory, which at one time was the best definition of fast food, but which very few fast food places adhere to these days. Your description of I-n-O is itself an example.

                    S&S and CC are, in spite of suggestions to the contrary, are clearly as much in the fast food business as I-n-O. They ALSO offer sit down waiter service, but that doesn't change the fact that they offer fast food.

                    I'm not sure what you meant by "fine diner." What is a fine diner? Did you mean fine DINNER? Very different thing.

                    1. re: johnb

                      <I have often bought take out from them that was served to me VERY QUICKLY.>

                      Yeah, but most of the barbecue joints I have been to also serve me very quick too. I don't think I would call say Famous Dave's as a fast food restaurant. Speed is important, but it is not the only factor which distinguish the two models.

                      < I tried to make clear, related to food preparation for inventory, which at one time was the best definition of fast food>

                      There is a business model difference. You can have an average (or below average) burger and fries at a fine dining restaurant, but it does not make the restaurant into a fast food chain. Yes, the foods may not taste good to you, but it does not make it into a fast food restaurant.

                      <Your description of I-n-O is itself an example.>

                      My description of In-N-Out is to show there are some hybrid cases as drongo said. In which case, you describe it based on the closest.

                      <S&S and CC are, in spite of suggestions to the contrary, are clearly as much in the fast food business as I-n-O>

                      I disagree with that. If Steak 'N Shake is in the fast food business, then most diners would also be in that position. How would you distinguish Steak 'N Shake from the typical Mom and Pop causal diners? Maybe you don't think there is any difference between the fast food model and the causal diner model, which could explain our disagreement. In my case, I want to make that distinction and therefore group Steak 'N Shake to the diner category. Steak N' Shake is a causal diner or causal dining restaurant, so it is with Applebee's, Hardrock Cafe, Red Lobster...etc, not with McDonald or In-N-Out. See the list below:

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                      <What is a fine diner? Did you mean fine DINNER? Very different thing.>

                      As in a fine dining restaurant. Since you said they are very different things -- which must mean you do know what it is.

                      Look, obviously, we are not going to agree with each others anytime soon.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                        """<What is a fine diner?>

                        As in a fine dining restaurant. """

                        Sorry, now I'll have to be more clear, since subtlety isn't working. My point was and is that there is no such thing as a "fine diner." You have simply confused the English word diner with the English word "dinner."

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                          Bottom line to me is if they don't have a drive through, it isn't fast food. Take out does not mean it's fast food.

                          1. re: rasputina

                            I see you and Barcardi agree with each others. :)

                        2. re: johnb

                          To me, Steak and Shake isn't "fast food" because the standard method of service is to be seated by a hostess, who gives you a menu, and order via a server, who also brings your food. That creates a pretty clear delineation in my mind between fast food and not fast food. If forced to label S&S, I'd call it fast casual. Obviously, the line can sometimes be hard to draw, and some may disagree.

                          1. re: carolinadawg

                            Well, since we seem to be dwelling on Steak and Shake, two significant facts:
                            1. Most S&S stores offer both pay-in-advance fast food, and sit-down pay afterwards food. Why you call it the "standard model" isn't clear -- they do a lot of fast food business, and make lots more money on it (see below). So they are without question in the fast food business, whether or not they are also in the casual dining business.
                            2. S&S has announced they are moving away from casual dining (as it exists in their 500 current stores) and are going to the limited service model in the 1,500 new stores they are planning, which AFAIK will be pay-in-advance exclusively.

                            1. re: johnb

                              One can go into virtually any restaurant and get a "to go" order, and pay for it at the time of order. That doesn't mean its a fast food restaurant.

                              Your point number 2 simply confirms that S&S, as it now exists, isn't fast food.

                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                Sorry, you're just wrong. Re read the post. The S&S stores don't do "fast food" as a sometime adjunct as you portray it; it is a key part of their business -- in fact, most of them have drive thru windows. Bottom line: S&S, as it currently exists, has both fast food and sit down business. That means, in other words, that it is unambiguously in the fast food business.

                                1. re: johnb

                                  I'm wrong about being able to get take out from virtually any restaurant? Or wrong that you said S&S is moving from its current model of "casual dining" towards more of a fast food model in the future?

                                  1. re: carolinadawg

                                    You're wrong in suggesting that S&S is at most just doing fast food as an adjunct ("go to any restaurant and get to go and pay at time of order"). Fast food is an integral and key aspect of their business. They are not limited to casual dining -- they are absolutely in the fast food business, in a big way.

                                    1. re: johnb

                                      Doing takes-out is not quiet the same as doing fast food. McDonald has been doing the fast food model for quiet sometime, but it would be equally in the fast food business if the takes-out does not exist. Meanwhile, Famous Dave's does a lot of takes-out. I don't think anyone would mistake Famous Dave's as a fast food restaurant, or any other restaurants with a sizable takes-out option. Many Chinese restaurants provide a huge service for take out, and they should not all be considered as fast food restaurants. Have you ever been to a Chinese "congree pho noddle rice" house? Most of them have a sizable cash flow from the takes-out, pften more than the dine-in, but it does not make them into fast food restaurants. If having a large takes-out make the establishment into fast food, then the Chinese have invented fast food restaurant for thousand of years (which they certainly did not invent fast food):

                                      http://www.nydailynews.com/polopoly_f...
                                      As for Steak 'N Shake recent move toward Fast causal, it is a recent move afterall. Its first fast causal is only established this year in NY:

                                      http://restaurant-hospitality.com/tre...

                                      It, of course, still tries its best to describe the new model as fast causal as opposed to calling it fast food. Maybe it will become a fast food or fast causal restaurant in the future, but as of now, it isn't yet.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                        The new concept is a counter-only concept (no tables), with a smaller menu, for smaller locations and a smaller capital budget. It's more of a city concept, and for airports and so on. They will also continue to offer the classic stores for appropriate locations with new franchisees, which will include a drive thru just like most of the current stores. Given that there is a drive thru, it is fast food. Therefore, S&S is a fast food operator. Why is this so hard for you to understand? Yes they also offer non-fast food in a sit down setting, but that doesn't change the fact that they are also in the fast food business. They are in both businesses. You continue trying to classify them as just one, and choose non-fast food, and then extrapolate to this meaning that they don't serve fast food. There is no need to classify them as one or the other -- they aren't. By insisting they be classified in just one category, you are trying to drive a square peg into a round hole. They do in fact offer fast food (both in the drive through and in the take-out inside), it is a big part of their business, and thus it is certainly legitimate to compare their fast food offerings with other fast food offerings in this thread. Nuf said. If you still don't get it, I'm sorry but that will have to be it. This has gone on too long.

                                        1. re: johnb

                                          Drive thru window doesn't equal fast food, just as lack of drive thru doesn't equal not fast food.

                                          1. re: carolinadawg

                                            Show me a drive through that is not fast food. A drive through by any reasonable definition has to be fast food. They have to serve it fast (or the drive through won't work), and it has to be paid for before being received and consumed. That is the definition of fast food. S&S is absolutely serving fast food at their drive thrus.

                                            1. re: johnb

                                              What percentage of their sales come from the drive thru?

                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                More important question is what percentage of their PROFITS come from the drive through. Not the same question by any means. Since that is private information, neither I nor you nor anyone else outside the company's top management knows the answer to your question or to mine. But you don't have to know. Since the company is now downsizing the sit-down part of the business, and is maintaining the drive thrus as part of all the new classic locations, and using all that as a selling point to new franchisees, it's pretty clear that the drive thrus are highly profitable. By their actions you may know them.

                                                1. re: johnb

                                                  <is maintaining the drive thrus as part of all the new classic locations, and using all that as a selling point to new franchisees, it's pretty clear that the drive thrus are highly profitable>

                                                  It actually does not show that at all. It only shows the company believes there is potential growth there. It does not mean it is the larger portion of the profit. Companies invest in future not in the past. What is current profitable is not of the question. It is where the future will be. The added value. If your logic is correct, then 90% of the US companies do not make money in the US since they are increasing marketing in developing countries like China and India. That is the wrong way to look at marketing. These companies are moving their market toward developing countries, not because the current markets are there, but because they expect the future growth will be there.

                                                  Steak 'N Shake simply thinks the future growth will be in the lower tier drive through model.

                                                  All that still does not change what Steak and Shake is -- currently.

                                              2. re: johnb

                                                <Show me a drive through that is not fast food>

                                                You can certainly have your own definition, but there is always the dangerous of using a "single criteria" as you are doing here. I know a few barbecue restaurants with drive through. For example, Bono's. I dined there often when I lived in Georgia. I would often eat at the bar and the opposite window is the drive thru. The waitresses and I often comment about the drive through.

                                                "they even have a drive-thru window for when you need to take the yummy happiness away"

                                                http://www.yelp.com/biz/bonos-bbq-stuart

                                                No, again and again, having take out option or even a drive thru does not make a restaurant becomes a fast food establishment. Typical barbecue joints have a large portion of their income from take-out just because of the nature of the business: catering, take out, drive through, but some of these joints offer a good solid dining experience as well. Barbecue joints are usually considered as "causal dining restaurants" or "fast causal diners", I don't think many would call southern barbecue as "fast food". It is causal food, comfort food, not fast food.

                                                1. re: johnb

                                                  Starbucks??

                                                  DT

                                              3. re: johnb

                                                <Therefore, S&S is a fast food operator. Why is this so hard for you to understand?>

                                                :) Can I reverse the question back to you? If you look on the internet, every lists will tell you that S&S is a diner, and it is not included in the fast food list.

                                                Here is the fast food list:

                                                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_...

                                                <it is certainly legitimate to compare their fast food offerings with other fast food offerings>

                                                I have already said a few times. Having take-out does not make a restaurant into fast food, and not having take-out does not transform a fast food restaurant into a diner. Take-out is not a defining feature.

                                            2. re: johnb

                                              <Fast food is an integral and key aspect of their business. They are not limited to casual dining -- they are absolutely in the fast food business, in a big way.>

                                              First, like carolina said, you may want to provide some data on that. I have been to Steak 'N Shake. I don't recall seeing a long line for take out. Most of the workers there were working toward the dining customers.

                                              Second, as I have mentioned earlier, take-out business is not the same as fast food business. McDonald is the classic example of a perfect fast food franchise. If McDonald is to stop take-out service, will it cease being a fast food restaurant franchise? Not by my definition.

                                              Third, as I have mentioned, Steak 'N Shake is modeled after diners. I have been to many diners and my state (NJ) has probably more diners (density) than any other states. I would say Steak 'N Shake food quality and service is no worse than most of the diners I have been to. If one of the diners near where I live has the fortune of increase take-out, it would still be a diner, and not suddenly transform into a fast food restaurant.

                                              So we know having a large take-out does not make a regular restaurant into a fast food restaurant based on my diners example and my earlier Chinese restaurant examples. And we also know having a lack of take-out also does not make a fast food restaurant into a diner based on my example of a McDonald without take-out. Thus, I hope I have proven that having or not having a take-out is not the defining criteria for being a fast food restaurant.

                                        2. re: carolinadawg

                                          There's a huge difference between calling ahead to a sit down restaurant, ordering a meal that would take 15-20 minutes to prepare, then picking it up to go... and ordering a cheeseburger and fries at a restaurant that does a robust short-order fast-food business.

                                          1. re: Boston_Otter

                                            Thanks, got that.

                                            1. re: Boston_Otter

                                              See my post just above. S&S does indeed have a robust fast food business, and it is clearly the profitable part of their business. That is why they are, as a matter of corporate policy, moving toward abandoning the casual part and going to an exclusive fast food format in most locations. They know where the profit is.

                                              1. re: johnb

                                                You keep making reference to the size of S&S's "fast food business", the greater profitability of that, etc. Any data to cite?

                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                  I read an article in which the CEO pointed out that the basis of the new store designs was that the fast food part made more money for the operators and that was why they were de-emphasizing the sit-down aspect. Better, more profitable, use of square footage. I can't find it now, but that was the gist.

                                                  1. re: johnb

                                                    Yes, I understand they have a NEW concept that is something akin to a fast food restaurant. It's different from their CURRENT concept, which is primarly a sit down, diner style restaurant.

                                                    1. re: carolinadawg

                                                      But in their current concept they also offer fast food, at the drive in window and inside at the take out. It doesn't matter what proportion of their receipts and profits come from that part of the restaurant; it is still fast food. Further, based on their recent changes, it appears the fast food part is what drives profits, which is why they are downsizing the rest of the store in their new locations.

                                                      Actually in the new concept they are emphasizing counter service and getting rid of the tables. It is not really a fast food concept, because it is oriented to city-type locations and airports. But they are keeping and also improving the classic concept, which does include fast food.

                                                      On what basis do you claim the sit down part is the "primary" part.

                                                      1. re: johnb

                                                        Wrong again. The new concept has tables. And the new concept is in no way replacing the traditional stores:

                                                        "The new restaurant format will complement, rather than replace, the classic Steak ’n Shake model, he added.

                                                        “Because the Signature concept is a vastly different concept than the classic restaurant and has less square footage, we’ll be putting these [locations] mainly into strip centers,” Flaniken said."

                                                        Notice the phrases "complement, rather than replace" and "vastly different concept".

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          Here is S&S's wording regarding the new concept (called "signature"):

                                                          >>>The brand’s new quick-service concept differs from “classic” Steak ’n Shake locations chiefly in its counter-service-only format and limited menu of the chain’s staples, like steakburgers, fries and milk shakes.<<<

                                                          Note: Counter Service Only

                                                          As to your suggestion that I previously said the new concept is replacing the classic concept, read what I wrote in the post that you just replied to:

                                                          >>> But they are keeping and also improving the classic concept, which does include fast food.<<<

                                                          Both you and Chemical consistently mis-characterize what I have said then shoot down your false interpretations. This makes it difficult, actually pointless, to carry on the discussion.

                                                          1. re: johnb

                                                            <Both you and Chemical consistently mis-characterize what I have said then shoot down your false interpretations>

                                                            You are basically saying that we put up a strawman argument. Fair if it is true. Please tell me on which topic I mischaracterized your position. I would like to know. If I did mischaracterize your position, then I would like to know and to apologize.

                                                            I fully understand that S&S will be expanding toward the smaller and quicker model which is called "fast causal". What I was saying is that what is for the future is not of now. Take TGI Friday for example. It has a line of frozen food licened to Heniz. But you cannot say that TGI Friday had a highly profitable frozen food prior to entrying the market. It "anticipated" a profitable market in order to get in. Apple did not get into smart phone (iPhone) because it was making highly profitable business on it. It got it because it anticipated a market and need.

                                                            <But they are keeping and also improving the classic concept, which does include fast food>

                                                            That is the problem. You keep believing that the classic concept has fast food, and I suppose carolina and I don't. Fair? Now, I asked you several times already. What makes the S&S foods into fast food? Is it because it allows take out and have drive thru? But we know there are plenty other restaurants with those and not being fast food. Case in point, Bono's barbacue.

                                                            While at it, it really did not give you the moral high ground when you tempered the wikipedia entry to fit your own definition.

                                                            1. re: johnb

                                                              Not sure what your point is concerning "counter service only", but to me, that merely highlights the difference between the existing concept (primarily a sit down/server model) and the new concept (counter service model). One is not fast food, one is.

                                                              As to your statement that I mis-characterized what you said, well, here is what you said:

                                                              "...they are, as a matter of corporate policy, moving toward abandoning the casual part and going to an exclusive fast food format..."

                                                              Your contradictory statements do make it hard to remember what you've said, hmm?

                                                        2. re: carolinadawg

                                                          As long as I've know Steak and Shake, and it's been about 20 years, they've always had a drive-thru and a well-utilized take out counter. Hardly a new concept.

                                                          Honestly, we're taking semantics and personal opinions that are by no means defining.

                                                          1. re: Fibber McGee

                                                            <Honestly, we're taking semantics and personal opinions that are by no means defining.>

                                                            True, but most Chowhound topics are about opinions, right? This is not scientific forum about the mass of a carbon atom or the speed of light. We usually talk about even more opininated topics like "Are Henckels better or Wusthof?" "What is the best wine to pair with chicken?" or even the original topic "How do you like Chic-Fil-A Chicken".

                                                        3. re: johnb

                                                          Yes, I read that too, but it does not mean the "current" model is fast food. It only means the future model is toward fast food. For example, my company is moving its market toward China, India and Brazil. So the big brass (CEO..etc) think the future market will be expanded there. However, I know for an absolute fact that US is the current largest market and is still project to be the largest. The move only means the potential for expansion in these developing countries is greater than that of the US. In other words, the US market is saturated. It may be big, but it is not growing -- like an 200-lb adult and a baby. The adult may be bigger, but he is not growing.

                                                          S&S CEO probably believe the current space for growth in causal dining is very limited, but he senses there is a space opening for the small fast causal (or fast food) space. If anything, this suggests S&S current model is NOT fast causal, which is why they have to move toward fast causal, just like my company is moving toward China, India and Brazil because it has next to no footprint there.

                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            Restaurants are classified as either "Limited Service" (NAICS code 722211) or "Full Service" (NAICS code 722110). The key distinction is that at Limited Service restaurants you order and pay before eating, while at Full Service restaurants you order and eat before paying. Of course, there are hybrids... but I'd guess a restaurant has to be licensed as one or the other. (Actually, there are some other categories -- e.g. cafeterias. Check out the NAICS web site http://www.census.gov/eos/www/naics/

                                            )

                                            In any case, I'd say "fast food restaurants" would be those classified as Limited Service restaurants.

                                            Edit: I googled for restaurant license fees and came up with an example from Tillamook County, OR which shows it's beneficial to be licensed as Limited Service because the fee is lower: http://www.co.tillamook.or.us/gov/Hea...

                                            1. re: drongo

                                              <In any case, I'd say "fast food restaurants" would be those classified as Limited Service restaurants.>

                                              Yes, without exceptions, I would say that I agree with this.

                                          3. re: johnb

                                            Popeye's

                                    2. I haven't eaten at many fast-food places (Taco Bell, McDonalds, & Burger King are it). Out of the 3 I've visited over the years, Taco Bell is my favorite.

                                      1. *****

                                        Since the moderator has split this from its original post, why won't we start over again.

                                        What is your most favor fast food national restaurant? (let's not talking about a mom and pop diner only exist in your city). You know: McDonald, Burger King, Wendy's, Chic-Fil-A, Taco Bell, ........etc.

                                        Thanks.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                          Ok, we got two responses thus far. Steve went with Popeye, and Barcardi1 went with Taco Bell. Yeah.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I think some people have trouble with reading comprehension. I've been trying to think of a chain food restaurant I like, and I give up. The only thing close is Denny's, I like their pancakes, sausage, and hash browns far better than greasy IHop, but it's been several years since I've been to either. Tomorrow I'm doing my own pancakes and bacon, at a far better price and much less money. If we do go to breakast, I'm lucky enough to live where there are dozens of local places, many of them Mexican. Lunch today is a local taqueria, two large, fresh flour tortillas for 4 bucks, with a variety of ingredients to choose from. Personally, I have no need for national chains, I'm lucky with the variety at hand.

                                            1. re: James Cristinian

                                              The question is "what fast food restaurant do you like the best"?, not "do you like any fast food restaurants"? I have never understood the need to attempt to reframe the questions asked on this site.

                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                You're correct, I already threw out a couple of mea culpas below. My fault, it is a pet peeve when people do what I just did. Again, not intended.

                                          2. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                            I genuinely like the food at Chipotle, not just by fast-food standards.

                                          3. While I rarely eat fast food, I have to say of all of the places I've been to, Burger King and KFC are the best. One, no matter what the Whopper tastes the same. I've been to other chains that are inconsistent. Also, BK doesn't rely on some gimmicky sauce or burger shape. It's a simple burger. KFC is the best fried chicken around. Sure you can find places that do southern BBQ that do it close, but honestly, not better. People will argue, but I'm sure if you ate KFC blind, you'd think it was the best. Even Zagat rated it the best in the country. I've only tasted two that were better. A little place in Brooklyn in the 70's and 80's and my friend's mother. Other than that, KFC. Also, I dislike mac and cheese and I love their mac and cheese.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: jhopp217

                                              "BK doesn't rely on some gimmicky sauce or burger shape"
                                              No, they rely on gimmicky Whoopers like the "Angry" or "BBQ Steakhouse" Whoopers.

                                              I worked at BK for a year as a teen and can't stand the place now. I prefer a flat top hamburger anyway so McD's and Wendy's are better IMHO.

                                              For a FF burger I would take 5 Guys providing I trust it. Of the 6 I've been to 4 have been very good, 2 have been meh. Such is the problem with 5 Guys though.

                                              Again, I'd nominate Hardee's/Carl's Jr. if I have to go with a national chain.

                                              DT

                                              1. re: Davwud

                                                Not sure how old you are, but when I was in high school they were flame broiled on the little "conveyor grill," then served fresh. You could stand there and say, "There goes my burger," and see it freshly prepared, All has changed now. How were they done when you were working there? On 5 Guys, one opened across from work a year or so ago and I read a lot of comments like yours, great or so so, so I haven't tried it. Seems like I can make four at home with fresh prime chuck for the price of one of these.

                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                  Ya, you're close. I'm 45 and worked there in the mid 80's. The burgers were flame broiled on a conveyor belt but were then held in a steam table. The only times you'd get one fresh off the line is when it was super busy and we were making them as fast as they were ordered. I think you could probably order one fresh made. Lastly, at the end of the night we would cook when ordered.

                                                  DT

                                                  1. re: Davwud

                                                    I'm 55, and at least down here mid 70's Texas, they were done to order, no steam table. I blame McDonald's and their uber efficiency where everyone wants their burger right now, and not 4 or 5 minutes from now. Wendy's was also much better then, and for that matter, so was McDonald's.

                                                    1. re: James Cristinian

                                                      It may or may not matter but it was in Canada as well. I doubt it though.

                                                      DT

                                                2. re: Davwud

                                                  <I would take 5 Guys providing I trust it>

                                                  Wow, disagreement. :)

                                                  I guess I never understand why people like 5 Guys. I have eaten there 3-4 times. I don't hate it, but I don't like it.

                                              2. I apologize and became totally confused on this subject. You are saying fast food. I'll agree with jhopp217 on KFC, I could eat ten pieces of skin and crust by itself, and immediately die. Also more regional is Whataburger, everything cooked fresh, plus your way. Do you want grilled onions or jalapenos? No problem. I'll also vote for fan favorite Chick-Fil-A, just the sandwhich, no pickles, made fresh, and the bun fed to the birds. Tenders and nuggets are ok, but the wife always gets them.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: James Cristinian

                                                  <I could eat ten pieces of skin and crust by itself, and immediately die>

                                                  Good .... I was able to say you would die, and then read you also wrote the same thing. :)

                                                  Look like a lot of KFC fans here.

                                                2. I would say that many folks here are confused as to what constitutes "fast food".

                                                  I suggest that a "fast food" restaurant is one that has a drive-thru window. The rest are simply chain restaurants. No drive-thru window? Not "fast food".

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                                    A fast food restaurant is, simply, a limited-service restaurant that serves food fast. The world's largest fast-food chain is Subway, and they rarely if ever have drive-thru windows.

                                                    1. re: Bacardi1

                                                      I don't think so. Very few Subway's have drive thru windows. Ditto for 5 Guys, Jimmy Johns and Chipotle just to name a few examples.

                                                    2. Noodles & Company,
                                                      Chipotle,
                                                      Potbelly

                                                      1. Chipotle

                                                        Quiznos

                                                        Jimmy Johns

                                                        Arby's

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: RetiredChef

                                                          Chipotle..... must be very good.... since so many have mentioned it. Now, I want to try. :)

                                                          I have not had Quizons for a long time, but I do remember liking it quiet a bit.

                                                        2. If we're talking straight up traditional fast food, my pick is Carl's Jr. Some of it is sentimental... when I was a kid we went to Carl's Jr as a treat on payday, so every other Friday night. It was one of the few times we would go out to eat and I have lots of good memories of spending time with my family there. At 30, I still order the same thing I did at 10, a Western Bacon Cheeseburger w/ no bbq sauce (even though I love BBQ sauce and put it on all kinds of things) and criss-cut fries.

                                                          I also love Chipotle.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                            <At 30, I still order the same thing I did at 10, a Western Bacon Cheeseburger w/ no bbq sauce (even though I love BBQ sauce and put it on all kinds of things) and criss-cut fries.>

                                                            Wow.... those are my favor too, except I allow the BBQ on the burger. Criss cut fries are awesome.

                                                          2. White Castle ( wish they were in California)
                                                            Popeye's

                                                            1. In-N-Out
                                                              Del Taco
                                                              Jack in the Box

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: gator28

                                                                Del Taco is my favorite! I also enjoy Wendy's, Carl's Jr. & In N Out.

                                                                1. re: chris1621

                                                                  I would actually describe DT as sneaky good. We went because we saw commercials and wanted to try it. Was very pleasantly surprised. Especially with the burger.

                                                                  All in all, I have to agree, a good chain/FF place.

                                                                  DT

                                                              2. Wendy's for burgers, Dairy Queen for chili dogs and onion rings, Chic fil A for chicken. Had a passing infatuation with Five Guys but I'm over it now. 95% of my fast food purchases are for burgers. Love the hamburgers and fries.

                                                                Would like to try one of those In and Out burgers but they don't appear to be coming here and I'm not going there.

                                                                1. In N Out, Raising Canes, Carl's Jr.

                                                                  Oh and I forgot El Pollo Loco.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: rasputina

                                                                    5 Guys
                                                                    McD's
                                                                    Popeye's
                                                                    Subway...

                                                                  2. If Potbelly counts , then that's my number 1,

                                                                    Chipotle at number 2.

                                                                    Wendy's comes in at #3. I am a weak, weak, weak man when it comes to Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers :(

                                                                    Dairy Queen at #4 solely because of Blizzards.

                                                                    Jimmy Johns at #5.

                                                                    Tried 5 Guys a few times. Never quite understood the appeal.

                                                                    If we count Shake Shack as a national enough chain, then it might take number 1.

                                                                    Truth be told I don't eat much fast food outside of Potbelly and Chipotle, but when I treat myself to a Heath Bar Blizzard or a couple of Junior Bacon Cheeseburgers (or a Shake Shack Burger) I'm a pretty happy man :)

                                                                    1. Jack in The Box

                                                                      Taco John's.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: bbqboy

                                                                        What's good at Jack in the Box? I have been a couple of times, but wasn't sure what to get.

                                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                          The two for 99 cent tacos are a must. They're not real tacos to speak of, and unless you grew up with them you probably won't like them, but give them a try anyway.

                                                                          1. re: James Cristinian

                                                                            What do you mean they are not real tacos? I still remember the cheap taco from Taco Bell. So nasty -- now come to think of them. They were so cheap that I get to stuff them for lunch, but I often felt weird afterward.

                                                                      2. It seems like everything there is to be said on this subject has already been said, and now the conversation is just going in circles, and growing increasingly unfriendly. In addition posters don't seem to be sharing personal opinions about good fast food restaurants, but focusing on what the definition of "fast food restaurant" is. We're going to lock it now.