Why Is Fast Food So Popular In America?

fast food popularity america

If you read my article about China and fast food, you already know that the first fast food sandwiches date back to the year 250 BC. However, if we take a look at “current fast food”, the most popular chains were established in the 1950’s.¬†McDonalds was established in 1955 and Burger King in 1954. Why did these restaurants become so popular, and why are there thousands of them to choose from these days? Well, let me list the most important reasons in this article.

Fast Food Is (Obviously) Fast

Whether you order online or visit an actual restaurant, fast food is usually delivered within minutes. Ok, maybe you have to wait 10-15 minutes whenever it’s busy, but most of the time you should be ready to eat within minutes. We’re busy people, and we don’t always feel like spending an hour in the kitchen as soon as we come home from work. If we grab a quick meal on our way home, there’s more time for us to enjoy the evening.

We value our time, especially since most of us have a busy job. Then there’s traffic, or housekeeping, you name it. Being able to spend a few hours for relaxation isn’t always possible. Therefore, if we’re able to skip the cooking part, there’s more quality time. In my opinion, time is one of the most precious things in life. It doesn’t matter what food you prefer, there’s something out there for everyone. Remember, fast food isn’t only about cheeseburgers and fries.

Fast Food Is (Usually) Affordable

An average meal from a popular chain is somewhere around 5-7 bucks. I’m not saying that this is in fact “cheap”, but doing groceries isn’t exactly free either. Especially spices and sauces can add up pretty fast, and the same goes for meat. Sure, I agree, I’m definitely able to cook a meal for a few bucks. What I’m trying to say is this: Most of us are able to afford fast food once in a while. Especially coupon codes can make a big difference (I link to a few in the picture below).

Fast Food Is (Often) Something Different

Let me explain this by using pizza as an example. I never really take the time to prepare my own pizza. I do sometimes buy a pizza to heat up in my oven, but do I really enjoy it? Usually not as much as I would have hoped. Going to a restaurant and eat pizza like an Italian isn’t what I call fast. So yeah, you probably already guessed it, ordering a pizza is the fastest and tastiest way to go (I mean, for me). One of my favorites is Domino’s. Their pizzas are way better than the ones I store in my freezer. A long story short: Fast food is so popular because it often tastes different than the meals we cook ourselves.

Fast Food (Can Be) Tasty

What makes fast food taste so good? Many quick meals contain a good amount of fat and/or sugar, which activates our taste buds. Then there’s the typical smell which brings joy to our minds. In other words, fast food often makes us feel good. Of course, I agree, these ingredients aren’t meant for regular consumption. But we do feel like a treat once in a while. I remember the days when I woke up after a night out, and fatty food just spoke to my mind.

best fast food tip

Fast Food Is (Almost) Everywhere

With almost 200 thousand fast food restaurants in the US alone, there’s probably one nearby wherever we go. Grabbing a few chicken nuggets from KFC doesn’t always require a lot of traveling. You can even have your snacks delivered if you prefer to stay at home. It’s all just so convenient these days. Many people use an app on their smartphone that allows them to tip the driver. In my opinion this ease-of-use has definitely contributed to the popularity of fast food.

Fast Food Advertisements

Whether on television or when driving my car, fast food advertisement is a big thing. I’m not going to jump into psychology, but billboards have an effect on our subconscious mind. Even if we don’t always notice them, they’re still there and still doing their thing. I remember the days when me and my family went on a road trip. I was just a kid but I couldn’t help myself from begging for a happy meal whenever I noticed that big yellow M. Not often, but sometimes my parents listened to me (probably just to get me silent). It’s pretty amazing how these companies manage to attract their visitors, even little toys can do the trick. A long story short, fast food marketing is gigantic.

There’s Something For Everyone

Like I said, fast food isn’t only about burgers or pizza. Whatever you prefer, there’s probably something that matches your taste. This could be chicken, sandwiches, noodles, wraps, you name it. And it’s not only a restaurant thing. You can just as well order a hotdog on the street (this is a link to my fun article about the hotdog history). Anyway, fast food is so popular because almost every kind of food is represented.

Apart from warm or hot meals, don’t forget that a quick bite could just as well be a donut (this is a link to my fun facts about donuts). Even popcorn is a kind of fast food, or how about a Starbucks coffee? Or should we consider that fast drinks?

Being A Fast Food Chef Yourself

Wait, what? Last but not least, let me touch on this subject for just a second. Fast food is so popular that people even prepare their own fast food through modern gear. Think about it, who doesn’t have a mini air fryer at home? I reviewed quite a bunch of equipment that allows you to be your own chef. Even breakfast can be fast food. In stead of ordering an omelette on the street, ¬†people simply use their home sandwich maker on autopilot. But there’s other gear as well, like this mini donut maker for example. I won’t bore you with all the gadgets I reviewed, but feel free to scroll though my site in case you’re interested.


Fast food is so popular that people buy clothes or collectibles that match their taste. Yes, some even have an entire happy meal gifts collection. Wearing a shirt with french fries or the McDonalds logo isn’t uncommon these days. I don’t really care too much for merchandise, but my absolute favorite are those fast food boxes stuffed with matching socks. The picture below will take you there (they’s really cute and fun).

fast food merch

Final Thoughts

Fast food has become so popular in America because it’s tasty, affordable and easy to access. There’s usually a restaurant nearby, and if not, you simply order your snacks online.

Please remember, this is my personal view in regards to the topic. I’m definitely not promoting fast food in any way. I just enjoy to discuss these things (and grab me a quick bite once in a while). This popularity thing is quite a hot topic, so if you want more opinions I’d advise this thread on Quora. This is where many people share their view on the popularity of fast food in America.

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