Fast food has been in the news a lot this summer. Four-year-olds were getting marijuana pipes in their Kids Meals. Employees at Taco Bell and Wendy's couldn't stop licking stuff and putting it in their mouths. McDonald's almost killed Jennifer Aniston with a Big Mac...and now they're serving chicken wings!
While we're all collectively on the topic of fast food, we thought it was time to discuss the merits and pitfalls of some of the most popular chains. And so we've ranked them, from worst to best, in one definitive list. We're sure it will prove controversial.
Also, before we get into it, here is a handy step-by-step guide we've provided to guide you through ordering fast food. There seem to be a lot of people struggling with that lately. We hope you'll use it wisely.
We prefer our chicken without a side of politics.
19. Del Taco
The poor man's Taco Bell. Don't even bother. The only excuse to be at Del Taco is that it's 2 a.m. and you're wasted. And even then, c'mon. You're better than that. The only upside here is that you can order the entire menu for, like, under $5.
18. Carl's Jr.
Also known as Hardees. The food is all right (it's generally oversized, if that's what you look for in fast food), but if you want a burger, chicken, salad, fries, etc. there are better places to go (see, #1-17 below).
The ratio of Sonic commercials to actual Sonic restaurants is insanely unbalanced (how are there so many Sonic commercials?! And where the eff is there even a Sonic?!) so by the time you eat at one you're guaranteed to be underwhelmed. But it is a drive-in restaurant, which is a nice novelty, and they do serve tater tots.
"Fat" is in the name, so you basically know what you're getting going into it. If you like knowing exactly how much weight you're probably gaining thanks to your fast food outing, Fatburger makes it easy by naming their burgers based on how many pounds (pounds, plural) they weigh.
15. Long John Silver's
Did you know Long John Silver's was even still in business? For the true LJS experience, order chicken or fish planks (chicken or fish fingers, basically) and ask for "crumbs." That's a side of fried batter that fell off—it's free.
14. Pizza Hut
Though best when combined with a KFC or Taco Bell (so you can mix and match menu items), the personal pizzas served up at Pizza Hut's chain stores just don't compare to the order-out pizzas. Now maybe if they offered personal pizzas with stuffed crust. But they don't.
It really should be renamed "Kentucky Fried Sides," because those are the best part: The mac ‘n cheese is good. The biscuits are good. The coleslaw is good. The mashed potatoes and gravy are good. The chicken is OK.
You may have expected the most famous fast food franchise ever to rank higher on the list, which Mickey D's could for fries alone. But controversial opinion: We're mostly just fans of Ronald McDonald's breakfast options. And the Monopoly game. We will come back forever until we win big in that Monopoly game.
11. El Pollo Loco
Their grilled chicken is legit and pretty healthy. Relatively speaking.
We have never eaten Whataburger sober, so it remains a perfect 10.
9. Burger King
Burger King titled itself after its beef options, so you know they're good, but B.K. can actually hold its own in the chicken department, too. And don't even get us started on the onion rings. Those onion rings are crispy! Plus, most locations will let you order a half milkshake, half Icee, which is no Frosty, but it's pretty close.
8. Five Guys
Five Guys has the bougie bragging rights of saying they're Zagat rated. Which we assume does not matter too much to most fast food consumers, but it'll makes you feel a little fancier while eating that burger. What probably won't make you feel fancier is eating peanuts and throwing the shells on the ground. Which you can also do at Five Guys. But hey, it's fun.
7. Panda Express
If you've ever been to a real Chinese restaurant and ordered the orange chicken, only to be like, "WTF is this s--t?!" when you eat it, that's because you're probably a loyal Panda Expresser. But their orange chicken is bomb! Get that, halfsies fried rice and chow mein, honey walnut shrimp as your second entrée (we don't care if it costs extra) and some cream cheese ragoons. Perfect.
If it's good enough for Beyoncé, it's good enough for us.
5. In N Out
If you don't live on the West Coast, "double double" and "animal style" probably don't mean anything to you. But you have heard of In N Out. The bad news: The burgers and shakes are really good. The good news: It's probably overhyped. That said, their burgers are really good.
4. Jack in the Box
Curly fries. The crown jewel of Jack in the Box is their crispy curly fries, which you can upgrade for with any combo. They have plenty of menu options for day and night and, sorry ‘bout it Del Taco, but this is how you do cheap tacos (2 for $.99 and they're actually edible).
Even better curly fries. And what other chain offers roast beef sandwiches?
Three words: Spicy Chicken Sandwich. One more word: Frostys.
1. Taco Bell
Everything at Taco Bell is delicious. Gorditas? Delicious. Nachos Supreme? Delicious. Crunch Wrap Supreme? Delicious. Anything with "Supreme" in the title? Delicious. Hard tacos, soft tacos, Doritos tacos? Delicious. Literally Ev. Ery. Thing. on the menu is something we would eat.
(And now they serve breakfast, too!)
Anyone else suddenly craving a smothered burrito?
Weigh in with your own fast food rankings, favorite menu items, etc. below!