You should eat fast food!

By August 20, 2018Blog

Written By:  Maurice Ondoy Project Contributor at AngelouEconomics | Did you realize the Economic Impact of Fast Food Restaurants in the U.S?

With the average American eating three hamburgers and four orders of fries in a single week, the fast food industry is more than our country’s scapegoat for obesity. On average, one in every four people in the United States visits fast food daily. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Burger King are the three biggest fast-food chains with the greatest economic impact among US fast-food chains.

What is the economic impact of fast-food chains? According to analysis conducted by and, here are some quick facts:

  • Globally, fast food generates revenue of over $570 billion, which is bigger than the economic value of most countries
  • US revenue was a whopping $200 billion in 2015 versus $6 billion in 1970
  • By 2020, US revenue is forecasted to exceed $223 billion 
  • The industry is expected to have an annual growth of 2.5% for the next several years – below the long-term average but recovering from a several year slump
  • There are over 200,000 fast food restaurants in the United States and it is estimated that 50 million Americans eat at one of them every single day
  • Fast food employs over 4 million people and franchises added over 200,000 jobs in 2015
  • McDonald’s is by far the most valuable fast food brand in the world, with a value that exceeded 88 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. McDonald’s has been operating since 1955. In 2016, the company had over 36,000 restaurants worldwide, 14,155 of which were in the United States
  • Around 17% of U.S. consumers dine out at quick-service restaurants at least once a month and approximately 20 percent visit them at least once a week
  • Although McDonald’s is the largest quick service restaurant in terms of brand value, Subway is by far the largest QSR in the United States in terms of number of Units. In 2015, the sandwich chain had 27,103 restaurants in the United States, that was almost 13,000 more than its closest competitor McDonald’s
  • According to the World Health Organization, it is the unregulated frequency of such visits that is causing obesity and its related health problems in the United States. Many of the leading fast-food brands in the U.S. specialize in high-calorie foods, such as burgers, pizza and fried chicken

Fast FoodThe reason why these fast-food giants have contributed in the U.S. economy is because they have found their way to infiltrate not just supermarkets and malls, but also in colleges and universities.  In about every college and university campus, one will see a mini-fast food stand with various products from these chains.  In fact, 13% of schools in the country have a fast food franchise by directly selling to students.  Many fast food franchises give schools scholarships money the right to sell at schools.

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