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How Often Do You Eat Fast Food?

Me? Probably about six times per month. On weekends, unless we have some nice leftovers in the ice box, there's usually little in the way of lunch fixins to be had in my house. On those occasions I'll snag something from Long John's, Der Wienerschnitzel, Taco Villa, or perhaps a burger or sandwich.

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  1. Almost never - maybe once or twice a year when there's no other option for lunch

    1. Do pizza slices count? If so, probably once a week. If you are talking national fast food chains, maybe twice a month and usually its a soft chicken taco supreme with fire sauce from taco bell.

      1 Reply
      1. re: AdamD

        Nah, I don't consider pizza, even from the chains, to be fast food.

      2. I can't remember the last time I had FF. Don't know whether it's the pot or the fact that I just don't eat that stuff.

          1. Not even once a month and then it is usually one fish taco from Rubio's.

            1. It probably averages out to about once a week. Take out or delivery. Greek, Mexican, Chinese, Italian. There are a couple of "African" places that sound interesting, but I'll have to call beforehand to ask what the strange and exotic dishes are. Sometimes considering all of the options is so dismaying I end up just having America's favorite vegetarian meal: Peanut butter and jelly! '-)

              1. I have FF about once every 2-3 years.

                1 Reply
                1. re: chefathome

                  About once a month. El Pollo Loco, Carl's Jr.

                  At least twice a year I get paid to do taste tests at Jack in the Box corporate offices. The food we evaluate is almost always some type of burger.

                2. Hmm I don't eat anything from Mcdonald's, BK, Arby's, or Wendy's (well I wouldn't say no to a Frosty but I don't go there voluntarily) So the only real fast food options I eat from are Taco Bell and Subway...Probably about once a month.

                  If we are including a step above those, like Chipotle or Moe's or Five Guys or even Panera (yuck), I might do those like twice a month. Luckily none of these are next door to me or even within 5-10 minute drive so I think that might help keep my frequency down :-P

                  1. I have a streak going from August of 2008 without fast food, I'm trying to go five years.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: redfish62

                      Wow! Can I ask what restaurants are in your fast food category? Would you still eat from, say, Chipotle? Just wondering.

                      1. re: Meowzerz

                        Haven't had Chipotle since 2008. Don't eat out much anymore. Lost over 50 pounds of fat.

                    2. Depends.

                      If I'm training for a marathon or going on long endurance events (like century rides), then quite a bit. Maybe once a day.

                      But if not, then probably just 2-3 a month.

                      1. Last time was a Wendy's on Dec 31, 1999, hopefully, never again.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                          Really whooped it up for Y2K, did you?

                        2. Probably about once every three months. But this question caught my eye because I just had a chicken mcnugget happy meal for lunch! Maybe I'll hit Arby's in November, hehe...

                          1. Maybe average about once every three months or less. Though my non-picky eating son (as opposed to my picky eating son who wouldn't be caught dead in a FF joint) and I made a point to go to McDonald's for a McRib once last summer. I didn't know if I'd ever had one before - I don't think I need one again.

                            1. Generally once a week. Sometimes a salad from Chipotle or a black bean burger from Smashburger. Once every month or two (or three) I will get something from McDonald's or Wendy's.

                              1. Once in a very great while, maybe once or twice a year, I'll get a burger from Carl's Jr. or In-N-Out, and if I'm in the mood and remember it I'll grab Popeye's Tuesday 99¢ special (two leg portions) for lunch. My worst weakness is McDonald's sausage and egg muffin, made even more evil because it's 2 for 1. I have been known to hand the extra one to a homeless guy begging at a stoplight, which may or may not count as a virtuous act. For the most part I would prefer to hit the more local chains or one-offs, such as Tops, The Hat or Lucky Boy, or Sandwiches by Connal up on Washington (I'm in Pasadena, CA), but concern about shrinking the belly and advancing (okay, advanced) age are trimming those off my options list. I am looking seriously at giving myself one non-fast-food patty melt per year, and swearing off any other giant burgers completely … and I really MUST do something about those damn sausage muffins.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Will Owen

                                  Had a sausage McMuffin this morning, along with one of their smoothies and a senior-priced cup of coffee. It came in under $5.00 and most of that went for the smoothie.

                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                    Something about posting on this thread seems to have its consequences; I just finished a Popeye's Tuesday Special lunch! Spicy leg & thigh, plus one biscuit and a small red beans & rice, total (w/tax) $4.10. RB&R outstanding, biscuit VG, chicken VG too, but the spice mixture a bit disappointing. Still mourning KFC Hot'n'Spicy Extra Crispy …

                                2. Years ago when I used to work outside the home, maybe once or twice a month. Now? Very rarely. Last time was maybe 2 years ago when I was out shopping & stopped at a Taco Bell.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Bacardi1

                                    Oh - I should amend my response above because I completely forgot about Chick-Fil-A. My husband adores that place for some reason (I do not), so we do pop in their once in awhile when we're out & need a quick meal.

                                  2. Once every few years when I'm in my car, agonizingly hungry (like, I want food NOW) and drive by McD's, I'll stop in and get a 1/4 pounder and fries. And then after the first few bites I realize why I don't eat at Mc D's.

                                    2 or 3 times a year when I'm really busy, I'll stop in Wendy's for a plain spicy chicken sandwich and fries. Not too bad in a pinch.

                                    1. Almost never. It would have to be a middle-of-the-night-on-a-roadtrip-in-the-middle-of-nowhere kind of situation.

                                      1. Every year at Christmas (or is it Halloween), a co-worker gives out coupon books for Wendy's milk shakes, so I generally get 1 or 2 Wendy's shakes a year.

                                        1. only when i visit my parents, which is twice a year. they eat a lot of popeyes and panda express. on average 2-3 times a week.

                                          when im by myself, last time i had fast food was probably 3 years ago.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: majordanby

                                            Yikes, is Popeye's fast food ?
                                            l think and hope not.

                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                              I consider all the chain yardbird joints (Popeye's, Colonel Sanders, Church's, etc.) to be fast food. And Popeye's is tremendous.

                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                i actually like popeyes. but, i think most consider it to be fast food. Well, most according to my small circle of acquaintances. And it is discussed on the fast food board here in CH.

                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                  Well, you walk in or drive up, order food and they hand it to you as opposed to sending an order into the kitchen, right? They don't wait to fry chicken you want until you order it, it's pre-made and ready to serve to customers. That pretty much defines "fast food"

                                                  1. re: FrankJBN

                                                    I got mine today less than a minute after I paid; the guy ahead of me in line got his WHILE he was paying. That's fast - I don't usually get a McMuffin that fast!

                                                2. re: majordanby

                                                  Never. After having to take my friend to the emergency room after eating Taco John's back in 2000, we both gave up fast food.

                                                  1. re: natewrites

                                                    natewrites: Taco John's should be shut down, they are a blight to the food biz. How they stay open I can't imagine.

                                                3. I eat fast food about 3-4 times a year, usually when I am on a road trip. I drove from CT to SC (about a 15 hour trip) for vacation this summer and ate FF on the way home. BoJangles biscuits for breakfast (evil, greasy salty and very yummy) and Chick FilA for lunch and dinner. I love their chicken salad sandwiches!

                                                  1. Up to three times a week. We order in salads/wraps from a local pizza joint during crazy busy times. McDonalds and stuff, rarely.

                                                    1. I'm probably eating at a fast food place about once every 3-4 weeks on average. I have an addiction to the Roy Roger's Double-R- Bar burger (ham and cheese on top, and I add a little horseradish mayo, bbq sauce, and dill pickle slices). If it was closer, I'd be worse. I also will do a Popeye's chicken visit every few months. When on the road at breakfast time with McDonald's fans, I've found that the chicken biscuit isn't bad.

                                                      1. About once a month. I only eat it when I travel for work. Meaning I'm up and traveling at 5AM or I'm in BFE and all that's there is. Food plants are typically in the middle of no where.

                                                        1. The closest thing I come to eating that's FF is Five Guys and Subway....and I've eaten from those two establishments less than 5 times in the last 12 months. I rarely do any form of take-out because I cook almost every night (unless I'm reworking leftovers into something new). And now I'm craving both a burger and an Italian sub sammich.....le sigh.....

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: Mutch2Do

                                                            twice a year I delude myself that Taco bell is edible.

                                                            1. re: magiesmom

                                                              In the most classic American definition of fast food, Taco Bell is my weakness. I live overseas, and whenever I'm in the States it's always on my list of places I desperately feel the need to visit.

                                                          2. I eat fast food five times times per week and more if I can. I fucking love fast food. Chicago is a great city for it too. There's Greek- and Mexican-owned stands on every corner selling all the greasy classics: Italian beef, Chicago dogs, gyros, char burgers, gyros, Polish sausage, and tamales.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                              I so wish we had those options, and while those stands might get you food fast I certainly don't think of them as "fast food."

                                                              1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                wow, you think of those as fast foods? im in mojo's camp on this one... thats ethnic heaven, not fast food. and i sadly know fast food all too well (3-8 x per week, sometimes more, trying to do less) But heck, with a McDouble at $1 each I have a hard time eating at home for less except for maybe a peanut butter sandwich or a bowl of instant ramen that i haven't doctored.

                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                                  Hey if it's cheap enough not to break $5, fast enough so you don't miss the city bus and greasy enough to stain the bag it comes in it's fast food by my book. I love em alI, chains included. When I was living in China I had actual lucid dreams about Taco Bell where I would wake up chewing the inside of my mouth.

                                                                  1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                    Heh heh. That sound you heard was several Hounds stroking out.

                                                                2. re: RealMenJulienne

                                                                  I'm with you, if you define it that way. We ahve a Mexican market near my office that I go to several times a week. Quick, cheap tacos and plates that are soooo good. They must use a lot of lard to get those flavors. I'm in and out for under $8 and 8 minutes so I guess it's fast food.

                                                                3. Never when at home. When travelling, fairly often, as they might be the only option sometimes.

                                                                  1. It's been over a decade since I've eaten any chain restaurant fast food.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                        Nice to know I'm not alone :) It's been about 20 years for me.

                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                          Fifteen years since a Big Mac. I now coach HS Soccer and on away games i have littlerchoice Wendy's or Carl's Jr.. I do have a sweet spot for a local NM chain, Blake's Lotaburger; double green chile, please!

                                                                          1. "Fast food" to my mind is anything I can prepare in less than half an hour . In our house, we have fast food at least once a day. Commercial fast food is something we experience once or twice a month and we do our best to try new and different types of fast foods when those circumstances arise. Chik-fil-a, Taco Bell, Col. Sanders, Burger King, Der Winerschnitzel, Long John Silvers, Pizza Hut, Wendys, McDonald's, Sonic, Foster Freeze, Panda Express, etc.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: todao


                                                                              I like the idea of just trying some of the more popular menu items at various fast food places. A few on my list that I haven't:

                                                                              Cherry Limeade from Sonic
                                                                              DQ Blizzard

                                                                              My favorite fast food is the Western Bacon Cheeseburger, but since I'm no longer a teenager they (and the Wendy's Triple) are few and far between...

                                                                            2. from one of the "big chains" almost never..my husband likes the chicken snack wraps from McDonalds.. he called me from the drive thru asked me if I wanted any. I was hungry and busy around the house, so I said "sure"

                                                                              man, did I pay for it! that stuff did quite the number on my digestive system
                                                                              I guess there's a reason I don't eat "chain" fast food anymore!

                                                                              1. Once in a blue moon and here in New England Friday the 31st is a blue moon!!! Yeah!!

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: ctfoodguy

                                                                                  I guess I know what beer I'll be sipping at my tiki bar on Friday...thanks for the reminder!

                                                                                2. Sporadic... if I am in a serious calorie deficit condition (hungry as hell) I get a McChicken and a Double Cheeseburger each from the dollar menus... so for $2.07, I get >650 calories.

                                                                                  1. maybe 3 times a month.

                                                                                    1. I'm going to do some calculations, because I tend to think of myself as an "almost never" person, but I'm afraid it does crop up.
                                                                                      I eat fast food when:
                                                                                      1. I'm spending the day outlet shopping, there's nothing else around but there's always a Subway [1-2 times a year]
                                                                                      2. Road trip and my husband really wants Popeyes [1-3 times a year]
                                                                                      3. I'm near a regional fast food restaurant that I've never had and I'm curious about, like In-N-Out [1x every 2-3 years]
                                                                                      4. And the guilty secret.... I'm drunk and it's 2am and I didn't eat dinner... McDonalds cheeseburger with no meat does pretty well at soaking up my stomach [used to be at least 10 times a year, lately more like maybe 3-5 times a year]

                                                                                      Approximate total: 8 times a year, a lot more than I would have thought.

                                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                        Cheeseburger with no meat...how does that work? So a grilled cheese made with a bun?

                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                          And the cheese isn't even grilled. Basically it's a just a sad cheese sandwich and I mostly just enjoy the rehydrated onions, pickle, ketchup and mustard flavor. There's something strangely comforting.

                                                                                          1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                            I have to agree - I enjoy ketchup/mustard combo on a McDs burger. I hope you got a discount at least.

                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                              I do not. In fact, they won't even charge me the hamburger price. Anytime I've ordered it they charge me the full cheeseburger price, although one time a very nice McWorker took pity on me and added a piece of lettuce and a slice of tomato : )

                                                                                              1. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                Well, that was kind but you'd think since you eliminated the highest cost item you'd get at least 50% off :) I might have to check out this drunken food choice. I always seek out anything bready when drunk or hungover, actually my SO uses it as an excuse to have pizza even when I doubt he's hungover at all.

                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                  When I first ordered this, probably 10 years ago, the McWorker was absolutely confused, kept repeating it to me and then as I was about to leave suddenly loudly and proudly proclaimed "OH! I get it! You're one of them VEGGYTERIANS!" I'm not but it amused me all the same.
                                                                                                  These days it seems they have a "no meat" key and there's never so much as a blink when I order, so you should have no trouble.
                                                                                                  That said, don't judge me too harshly when you taste it! Drunk tastebuds are super different than sober ones!

                                                                                                2. re: hyacinthgirl

                                                                                                  a mcCheese deluxe, they should market it.

                                                                                        2. Once a week for lunch, almost always Chipotle. We did have some McDonald's on the road over the holidays, and also had some Good Times (local burger chain) on New Years Day when we were hungover as shit. I will say if there was a Carl's Jr closer to my house (closest is about 25 min away, so not really "fast" at that point) it might be more often. But otherwise, yup, once a week, Chipotle.

                                                                                          1. Maybe once or twice year and then it's only a soup or green salad from a place off the highway when traveling to see family.

                                                                                            I do patronize them more than that, usually once a month of so for my son. ie: grabbing an egg sandwich on our way to an early morning hockey game or subway/dangelo on our way to or from an evening game.

                                                                                            Now if you are talking coffee I usually get a DD ice coffee or a Starbucks "blonde" about 5 days a week!

                                                                                            1. For me it depends on how you define fast food. I probably get something from the big fast food chains about once a week.

                                                                                              However, I do order delivery or take out from a local chain or similar another 2-3 times a week.

                                                                                              1. Last time was probably about 1976.


                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. about once every 2-3 months, although a while backI did have a spree with the Mcdoubbler for $.99 cents and i crave the french fries

                                                                                                  1. Every day for breakfast. Eggs is eggs, and cheaper than I can cook at home. Otherwise, rarely.

                                                                                                    1. I go through phases, depending on how much cash I have on hand, and how much my body tells me I need to eat NOW. Sometimes a couple of times a week, other times once a month. When I do, I grab something at the drive thru and eat it at home. So only the places on the same side of the busy road are usually options for me. The McDonalds are nearly impossible to get in and out of, but JitB and Carl's Jr. at least have a light nearby. So that leaves Burger King, Subway, and Taco Bell (unless you count Little Caesars Hot & Ready).

                                                                                                      It's been less lately, since Taco Bell shrank the 1/2 lb. Combo burrito. I always feel ripped off when Burger King adds about $1.50 for a slice of cheese on the Double Whopper, and Subway's ratio of protein to bread pretty much leaves them out.

                                                                                                      I might start getting the double whopper and adding my own cheese slices at home and heating it a bit in the toaster oven while I change clothes.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: tracylee

                                                                                                        So only the places on the same side of the busy road are usually options for me.

                                                                                                        In all fairness, I make my decisions that same way! So Taco Bell, Culver's and Jack-in-the-Box are allowed on the rotation.

                                                                                                      2. Ok, now I'm eating it almost every day. I'm moving to a new house over the course of the next 2 months, have a puppy I am training for dog sport competition and a deadline-intense month ahead of me.

                                                                                                        Black bean burgers at Smashburger are saving my life. Even while burgers from Wendy's and tacos from Taco Bell are hardening my arteries. I'm looking forward to getting back to healthy cooking, but my stress levels are through the roof right now, and organized menu planning isn't really an option.

                                                                                                        1. Whenever I see a Five Guys. I can't resist their fries and the portion is so generous that I have about a pound left over to bring home. Heat them up in a little butter and pour over a beaten egg or two to make a sort of Five Guys Fries Fritatta. Hello, gall bladder attack. This place must have the most potato-y flavored potatoes on earth.

                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                            I am afraid to step foot into a Five Guys because while I've heard that the servings of fries is ginormous as a fry-fanatic and someone who can inhale a good portion of fries I fear my self-esteem would never recover after I downed a large order :)

                                                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                              Order a small :)
                                                                                                              Typically I don't like fries but if Fives Guys has ketchup and vinegar I will partake. Plus if you get a regular burger instead of the small you could be too full for a large fry.

                                                                                                          2. Does the buffet at a pretty decent Chinese restaurant count? I tend to wallow in their gai lan steam tray.

                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                              I may be excommunicated from Chowhound but I love Chinese buffets - load me up some General Tso's and sweet and sour chicken. Since it's a sit down usually, not sure it counts :)

                                                                                                              1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                That doesn't really count. I'm thinking of the big chains (Colonel Sanders, McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Long John Silver's, Subway, etc.) or local drive-thrus that serve food of a very similar ilk.

                                                                                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                  Ah. Hmmm. Once in a blue moon I like Wendy's fries with a small milkshake if I'm on the run and peckish, but otherwise those sorts of fast foods don't interest me, too meat-centric, discussions of quality aside. Last winter after I was laid up following a debilitating surgery SO brought home a Long John Silver's meal, trying to accomodate my craving for seafood (he doesn't cook but will deliver). I was halfway through it before it registered just how awful it was, bless his heart for trying. Hospital food was better.

                                                                                                                  1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                    Dear, oh dear, oh dear. I love Long John Silver's fried fish with malt vinegar. ;)

                                                                                                                    I hope your recovery from surgery went well.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                      Thank you, I am doing well, now. Bear in mind my sense of taste was probably quite "off" from illness and meds, a lot of things I normally enjoy tasted bad to me then. Also, perhaps your LJS's purveyor is better about the freshness of their deep-fryer grease. :)

                                                                                                                      1. re: afridgetoofar

                                                                                                                        Naw. Your palate is just probably much more refined than mine. ;)

                                                                                                              2. Depends on my work schedule - when I'm balls to the wall I've never been able to pack enough food for a 16 hour work day, then I'll hit up a fast food joint, cuz' obviously I don't have time for a proper sit down meal. Even then, it's rarely more than once every couple weeks. I do get cravings though.

                                                                                                                1. I've had fast food maybe three times in the last 10 years, and not at all in the last two. In each case (now that I think about it), it was during a long-distance drive through a sparsely-populated area, late at night, when I was ravenous and other dining options were unavailable. In general, fast food just doesn't appeal to me. The fact that I even remember when and where I last had some is a testament to how little I wanted to be having it!

                                                                                                                  1. Almost never.

                                                                                                                    It's been at least 10 years since I've been to a fast food place, except for three trips in 2012 to Dunkin' Donuts specifically for their Texas Toast sandwich, two of those times when the power was out for a few days and DD was about the only place open. At least that's my excuse.

                                                                                                                    The last time I can remember going to McDonald's/Burger King/Taco Bell, etc. type place was in July 2002 when I was driving through Indiana and there was no place else open.

                                                                                                                    1. A couple of times a year for LJS fried fish, usually during Lent.

                                                                                                                      I used to like Arbys roast beef sandwiches on occasion(once a month) but the last two times Ive eaten there Ive gotten painful hiccups and really bad heartburn.

                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                                        I dunno. I went to Arby's - just can't seem to embrace their roast beef sandwiches, even though heartburn is nothing I've ever really had a problem with. They've just been ... unappetizing.

                                                                                                                        Probably better than the ground beef in a fast-food burger though - so that's hypocrisy on my part.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                                                          I've had a killer craving for a roast beef sandwich from Arby's recently which I used to eat nearly daily in my youth. However, I've heard that the quality as really deteriorated in recent years and it's infinitely less good. Have you noticed any change?

                                                                                                                        2. NEVER, or hardly ever.

                                                                                                                          To me, there's nothing like home cooked meals. But last summer when pressed for time, I went to Jimmy John's for a sandwich. It was quite tasty but a tad overpriced.

                                                                                                                          1. Maybe once a month and then it varies by place Jimmy Johns, Qdoba are high my rotation, but KFC has much I as love some extra crispy/spicy only a few times a year.

                                                                                                                            1. Rarely -- although I just had some McDonald's on Saturday. Small fry, McChicken and the Burger with cheddar and grilled onions.

                                                                                                                              I had Dominos pizza a week ago -- can't beat the $5.99 medium pizza deal -- and they delivered.

                                                                                                                              I will get it when I don't have anything for lunch at work -- there are a Taco Bell and a Wendy's close by. There's also a Panera Bread and a bagel place. Today I'm getting a bagel with tuna for lunch. I hardly ever go to Panera.

                                                                                                                              1. We used to eat it pretty often. We haven't eaten it at all in the New year, besides pizza. And that's only because we own a franchise, so why not?

                                                                                                                                1. Maybe once a month and that's at Bojangles. Their fried chicken, biscuit, dirty rice, and pinto beans are something I get cravings for but resist most of the time. Their sandwich biscuits (I like their egg, bacon and cheese) are really good. And their unsweetened ice tea with lemon is great.

                                                                                                                                  1. I want to bring this post back to life....for clarification only
                                                                                                                                    I live in NYC...where we have 15,000 registered eating establishments!!!, within our city according to recently published stats from our illustrious mayor, not including food carts, food trucks or street meat vendors...
                                                                                                                                    Every Fast Food company...by that I mean a McD's burger is the same here as it is in Texas, Michigan or Washington state..
                                                                                                                                    I have FF about once a month, perhaps less. What might you ask?
                                                                                                                                    1) KFC about twice a year
                                                                                                                                    2) White Castle hamburgers....3 times a year when my brother visits from Floridia
                                                                                                                                    3) Burger King...never
                                                                                                                                    4) Subway 3 times a year
                                                                                                                                    5) McD's 1 or 2 times a year..
                                                                                                                                    6) Taco Bell....one time 4 years ago, and never since
                                                                                                                                    7) Popeye's ...never in my life...just never had it..
                                                                                                                                    8) Duncan Donuts...only for coffee...not even donuts....

                                                                                                                                    All in all FF is like desert....have some, but limit yourself and you will do fine....as for local pizza or Asian....off the hook baby!!!