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Chain Roulette

Usually when I find myself dining (well actually usually drive thru) at a chain it is because of
a) time of day (like 4 a.m.)
b) road trip food in a hurry
c) commuting breakfast
d) what is closest when I forgot lunch and have like 30 minutes

So if you take those things and negate them and put a line up of every typical chain restaurant side to side and also negate whether there are lines or slow downs in the drive thru or inside... What would you pick?

In real life I eat more McDs now just because of location and hours. I've also starting eating some Wendy's close to work when I forget lunch, and I find I much more enjoy their menu options. (Salad and baked taters).
If I had them all lined up, I think I would pick (in this order) Arby's, Quizno's and Wendy's. How about you?

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  1. Hardees, Hardees and Hardees. Along side Hardees, none of the other burger chains has a reason to exist. It's not a great burger, but it's a superb fast food burger that punches above its weight. It can stand toe to toe with with the mid-level chains like Applebee's but at about half the price.

    If the burger is good for the price, the breakfast biscuits are good, objectively. I've never had a better biscuit at a diner, trendy brunch place, southern grandma's house or anywhere else.

    7 Replies
    1. re: RealMenJulienne

      Back in the day I made regular Hardees stops when driving up and down I-95. Those biscuits are indeed outstanding.

      Saw a commercial for this burger -- have you tried it?

      http://www.brandeating.com/2013/08/ne...

      1. re: Bob W

        Darn, I hoped it was Buffalo meat.

      2. re: RealMenJulienne

        Thank you! I thought that perhaps my fascination with Hardees biscuits was due to my lack of exposure to biscuits in general. I think they are exceptionally tasty and well worth the 20-25 minute surface street drive to the sole Hardees in my metro area (MSP).

        The baked potato/side Ceasar salad at Wendy's was my go-to late night meal when I got off work at 10PM.

        1. re: Pwmfan

          I used to love stopping at the Hardee's in Hardeeville SC! Hardee was a Civil War Confederate General of some repute.

          1. re: Bob W

            Yes, William "Old Reliable" Hardee was a fine military tactician, but neither Hardeeville, SC nor Hardee's is named for him.

            1. re: carolinadawg

              Maybe his cousin Jebediah "The Biscuit Baker" Hardee?

        2. re: RealMenJulienne

          "I've never had a better biscuit..."
          _________________________________________________

          Then unfortunately you've never had anything other than than an average to good biscuit, I'm sorry to say.

        3. Love MacDonald's for the dollar menu and the 77 cent senior coffee.

          Walmart has the $3.95 Krab and lettuce salad.

          After a 15 year plus hiatus, Taco Bell dragged me back in with the Dorito taco.

          The Sonic 5 burgers for $5 was a weekly tradition until that promo went away.

          1. Okay, I admit, I have about 10 chains in my regular dining rotation. It would be hard for me to put them in order because since I eat them so often, they all have a place when I'm tired of one, I'll probably be in the mood for another. I will list though in no particular order:

            Panera
            Zoe's Kitchen
            Wendy's
            McDonalds
            Chikfila
            Masala Wok
            Pei Wei
            Jason's Deli
            The prepared foods section of Wegmans
            Jersey Mikes
            Chipotle

            And there you have it! I think that was a little more than 10. I eat other non chain food and I also cook, I swear!!

            1. I give this thread 4 more posts before someone chimes with with the "I never eat at chains!" reply.
              If I had my druthers, I'd go:
              Steak'N'Shake
              Culvers
              5 Guys

              I'm surprised at all the Hardee's love - we don't have "good" Hardees in my town, though I admit that I ate at one in the deep South and the biscuit blew my mind - I wish they were that good across the board.

              1. I used to live where there were "good" Hardee's. Now I have no Hardee's. Not even a Carl Jr. A co-worker wanted to lunch at the new Taco John's that opened a week prior near our location so I went along. I would just like to say, even completely ignoring the service issues since they were new, I will never, ever, ever, be going there again. I feel like Taylor Swift. Also, not only should fast food Mexican places not make Buffalo wings, but I am also to blame for ordering them.

                1. If health is also not a factor and I am going in sheer taste, in no order:

                  Chipotle
                  5 Guys
                  Wendy's
                  Panera
                  Chick-fil-a
                  Sonic

                  I only included places I have tried more than once and places where it isn't also see as a sit down restaurant. There are a few I would probably switch if I had tried more than once.

                  1. I eat at chains mainly when roadtripping. Of the major chains I usually see near exits on my usual roadtrip routes (the northeast and midwest), I choose Taco Bell over all else. I've never been a big fan of any of the big three burger chains, although I do stop at McD's for breakfast on occasion. I also like Arbys well enough, Sonic, Culvers and Jack in the Box or Hardees if available.

                    I like Panera if I want to stop and sit for a semi-civilized meal but I don't think of it as a fast-food chain like the other options. Likewise Jimmy John's, Chipotle, etc.

                    1. I have a housebound client who loves chain food to a fault. So when I work for her every other week, I am in charge of lunch pick up. We have tried many, many things but things on the rotation I prefer are
                      Applebee's
                      Hungry Howie's
                      Firehouse subs
                      Chic-fil-a
                      McDonalds
                      Wendy's
                      Popeye's

                      Ones she prefers
                      McDonalds
                      Checkers
                      Little Caesars
                      Quiznos
                      Burger King