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16 Biggest Fast Food Chains in the US

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If you’re a fast food lover, you might be interested in discovering the 16 biggest fast food chains in the US. Fast food has become an important part of America, not just as food but as a representation of its overall culture. While it is true that consistently eating fast food is definitely good for anyone’s health, the lure of tempting burgers and delicious pizzas can be too much for anyone to resist. Furthermore, they are generally cheaper and more filling than fine dining restaurants, which is why a fast food business can be extremely lucrative if operated correctly.

In fact, globally, one if the images that tends to come to a person’s mind when he hears of America is McDonalds, which is not surprising considering the fast food joint has thousands of franchises in over 150 countries.

Of course, fast food is not simply limited to America. If you want to know about the biggest global fast food chains, head on over to the 10 biggest fast food chains in the world. Just don’t be surprised to find the list dominated by American fast food joints.

 Radu Bercan /

Radu Bercan /

The top American fast food chains could operate as separate countries, such is the extent of their operations as well as the revenue generated by them. They have tens of millions in sales in just the United States alone, along with thousands of branches in the country as well. We have used QSR Magazine, who created a top 50 list based on their research as well as estimates made by Technomic Inc., to rank the 16 biggest fast food chains in the US according to the average of their sales in the US and the number of branches in the country, from the top 50 fast food chains in the country.

There is a reason behind our criteria for ranking. No criteria is one hundred percent effective. Each one has its drawbacks. Hence, when you use just one criteria, it could have its drawbacks, resulting in an inaccurate ranking. However, when multiple criteria are used, they can cancel out each other’s drawbacks, resulting in a more accurate ranking.  We have been using this same approach at Insider Monkey to identify the best stocks to invest in the stock market by calculating the consensus picks of 700+ hedge fund managers. Any hedge fund manager may be biased in one direction or the other at any point in time. However, our research had shown that their consensus stock picks actually beat the market by double digits annually in a back testing covering 13 years. At the end of August 2012 we launched an investment newsletter being encouraged by these promising results. Guess how this strategy performed in the 3 years since August 2012? One word: amazing. The strategy returned 102% in the last 3 years versus a gain of 48.8% for the S&P 500 ETF (SPY). You can read the details of this investment strategy here. Our strategy doesn’t beat the market every month but on average it produced much better returns on average. This is generally the case when we use multiple sources to calculate a consensus estimate.

Here are the 16 biggest fast food chains in the US identified by using a similar methodology:

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