The Biggest Fast-Food Chains in the World

The Biggest Fast-Food Chains in the World

It's not a secret that we are what we eat, but today it's challenging to eat healthy food when many of us like eating at places where food is fast and cheap. Nowadays, fast food chains have already occupied more than 70% of domestic markets and become multi-billion dollar businesses owning multiple properties and employing millions of individuals. 

Here are the top 10 globally popular fast-food chains as of 2020. 







Originally, McDonald’s is an American fast-food chain famous for its hamburgers. McDonald’s started out in the remote 1948s when two brothers, Richard and Maurice, opened a small hamburger restaurant in San Bernardino, CA. But everything started to get better when entrepreneur Ray Kroc bought the company and started to embody the franchise program.

Whether you score fast-food chains based on popularity, brand awareness, or finances, McDonald’s wins by all criteria and continues to lead the fast-food industry. MacDonald has more than 38,000 physical outlets all over the globe. The total revenue as of 2019 was more than $21 billion. Today, the logo of the Golden Arches is one of the recognizable symbols in the world. It sells more than 75 fast-food items every second. Roughly, it counts over 270,000 items per hour, which makes up 2,36 billion every year. All this talk on McDonald’s makes us want a juicy Big Mack. Don't you want one? 


Subway (originally called Pete’s Super Submarines) is the top fastest-growing fast-food restaurant chain on the planet. It has more than 42,000 restaurants in a hundred different countries. Only in the US, Subway has more restaurants than McDonald’s and Starbucks altogether. Subway makes its name on selling sub sandwiches; however, it also brought the culture of transparency in the fast-food industry. Subway was one of the first fast-food outlets where a sandwich master makes the food in front of you. The concept was very welcome, as you can actually see how your sandwich is being made. Plus, you can customize the recipe and make your meal as you wish: bread, toppings, sauces, etc.

Despite a lot of bad press associated with Subway's name, it still continues to be one of the major fast-food giants globally.


Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) was established in 1971 by an entrepreneur known as Colonel Sanders (Harland Sanders) in Louisville, Kentucky. Today KFC is one of the largest fast-food restaurants with more than 22,000 food outlets specializing in fried chicken. KFC's holding company is Yum! Brands, which also owns famous subsidiaries like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and WingStreet. Aside from being the largest fast-food chains, KFC is the largest chicken operator, developer, and franchiser in the world. As of 2019, the annual revenue of KFC was $5.597B.

Burger King

Burger King (primarily known as Insta-Burger King) is an international American fast-food chain focused on signature hamburgers called Whoppers. The name was changed in 1957 when James McLamore and David Edgerton purchased the company. BK is one of the famous fast-food restaurants worldwide. Only in the US, Burger King services more than 54 million customers every month.

During that time, Burger King extended its menu. Besides burgers and French fries, it started to offer various products. Some offers had not been crowned with success in the American market, but they scurred in foreign markets. Today BK has more than 15,000 locations over the globe; almost half is placed in the US.

Pizza Hut

Similar to MacDonald’s, Pizza Hut was founded by two brothers Dan and Frank Carney, with $600 startup capital. Today it is the largest pizza restaurant chain in the world in terms of locations. Pizza Hut gained quick popularity within the first year, and the brothers decided to franchise the Restaurant.

Pizza Hut is the first company in the world that made a delivery to open space to International Space Station. The pizza was sent aboard a Russian rocket so that astronauts can taste a good slice of pizza. As of 2019, Pizza Hut owns over 19,000 restaurants worldwide and continues to share the worldwide pizza market with giants - Domino's and Papa John's.


Nearly everyone will recognize the incredible smell of freshly roasted coffee and usually misspelled names of cups; yes, it is Starbucks. While you may not count Starbucks as a fast-food restaurant that doesn't sell burgers or French fries, it definitely accounts for one of the successful restaurant chains all over the world. Starting in the 1970s in Seattle, Washington, Starbucks has become one of the global roasters and coffee retailers.

Starting as a small storefront in Seattle's Pike Place, Starbucks now has more than 31,000 coffee outlets worldwide. It is placed in leading positions in the global fast-food industry. In relatively recent times, Starbucks announced its passion for investing over $130 million in the Chinese market to base a coffee roasting facility within the Coffee Innovation Park program.

Dunkin' Donuts

If you are looking for Western-style sweets, you need to check out Dunkin' Donuts, as it prides itself as an Americans' favorite donut and coffee shop. Originally known as Open Kettle, the fast-food chain decided to rebrand its name to emphasize its signature products. Operating in the US market with more than 8,500 outlets in 41 different states, Dunkin' Donuts also has over 3,200 international restaurants worldwide. Primarily, Dunkin' Donuts started out as a restaurant that offers only sweet donuts and coffee, but today it has a more extended menu, including more than 50 types of donuts, bagels, sandwiches, premium beverages, and other sweet baked goods.


Want an ice cream? Opt for one at one of the outlets of Baskin-Robbins. This company is mostly known for the 31 flavors motto that offers different flavors every single day. Founded in 1945 by Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins in Glendale, Baskin-Robbins became the largest fast-food chain specializing in ice cream and cake specialty. This company owns more than 1,000 recipes of different flavors and holds the Guinness World Record for the largest ice cream cup weighing 8,865 pounds. Today the company has about 8,000 restaurants worldwide and serves more than 300 million customers a year. Baskin-Robbins is a franchise friendly company that wants to enlarge and develop its chain of restaurants, of course, if you love ice cream.

Taco Bell

Serving about a couple of billion customers every year, Taco Bell has become the biggest fast-food chain specializing in Mexican cuisine in the US. The menu mainly consists of Mexican inspired dishes including, tacos (as a signature product), burritos, nachos, etc.

The first restaurant was founded in the 1960s by an entrepreneur Glen Bell. He started his career selling hot dogs in San Bernardino, California; then, he decided to open his own Mexican style restaurant when he saw endless lines in front of Mexican restaurants. Taco Bells was offering only window service with no take outs (drive-thru) or indoor seating. However, in 1970 it became public and started up more than 325 restaurants over the US.

Domino's Pizza

Like many start-up projects, Domino's also began as a small store founded in 1960 by Tom and James. Originally, the company's name was known as Dominick's, and brothers owned only one store. Things got better only eighteen years later when brothers opened more than 200 fast-food outlets. Today the number of physical locations reaches up to 17,000 over the globe. Domino's is recognized as one of the best pizzerias; however, aside from pizza, it also offers pasta, sandwiches, salads, desserts, etc.

In 2018 Domino's started out more than 150,000 outdoor hotspots to make the delivery process easier. They also explore innovative delivery methods, such as using drones or self-driving vehicles.

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