A quick look at the 15 largest, most popular and successful fast food chains in the world will show just how rapidly the industry is growing worldwide. Fast food chains are mushrooming everywhere – exits on the highway, food courts at the mall, inside Walmart’s, around cities, and at airports. According to Statista, the U.S fast food industry itself is expected to be worth $220 billion by 2020.
It is widely believed that White Castle was the first fast-food chain, starting out in the early 1920’s, and that it played an important role in the development of fast food. Today there are a large number of domestic and global household brand names. Burgers, pizzas, sandwiches, fries, and Mexican food are the highest-selling fast food items. Fast food and fast casual restaurants together make up the Quick Service Restaurants industry, or QSR as it is popularly known. QSRs account for more than 50% of the restaurant industry’s sales.
For more fast food related reading, check out our list of the 11 Most Successful Fast Food Chains in The World.
Driven by changing consumer tastes and successful business trends, the fast food industry has evolved over time both in terms of their concepts and food choices. People flock towards fast food because of its taste, price, and quality. There is, therefore, increasing competition between fast food chains to offer the best, most affordable and crave-satisfying treats to their customers.
There has been a growing shift towards healthy eating habits, which has become a major threat to the fast food industry in recent times. Hence many of the 15 largest, most popular and successful fast food chains in the world are regularly updating their menus to include more healthy eating options. The concept of “healthy fast food” is rapidly catching on and becoming the norm. Major chains across the world have begun to source/upgrade to fresher ingredients with fewer additives. These fast food chains also tailor their menus towards regional tastes.
Over the next few pages, you can read about the 15 largest, most popular and successful fast food chains in the world, based on the common choices of at least three of these websites – Forbes, WorldAtlas and QSR. We have then ranked the each chain based on its number of locations worldwide.
Head to the next page to begin the list!