An Incomprehensive Ranking of Fast of Food Restaurants

Gabrielle Bossart, Editor

As a disclaimer, this article contains my very unscientific opinions and is not entirely based on the actual quality of the restaurants but rather their personal significance and vibes. For this article’s purposes, I will define fast food restaurants as cheap, drive-through restaurants that are ubiquitous. These are restaurants that can be found in the absolute crevices of the American countryside. There is also another quality to these fast-food restaurants, a certain je ne sais quoi. It is an element of low expectations and a begrudging knowledge that what you are eating may or may not be legal in other countries and is in fact not edible.  

For the sake of space, I am only going to rank six fast food restaurants. The classics if you will. I will rank McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Johns, Taco Bell, Subway, and Wendy’s. I am no doubt missing your favorite, but as though these are the heavy hitters in the world of fast food.  

Coming in last place for me is Subway. I never hate inflation more than when I step into a Subway and find that the five-dollar foot long is a thing of the past. The catchy jingle haunts me when I am swiping my card. There is nothing wrong with Subway’s sandwiches, but unfortunately, I ate too much there in my first couple years of college and now I am sick of them. I had to switch to Jimmy Johns, which I am sure many will consider a crime.  

However, I still love their cookies, and if you happen to watch Korean tv shows at all, you will know that excessive Subway product placement is a weirdly prominent feature of many top shows. For that I am going to give it bonus points because it always makes me laugh.  

Coming in fifth place is Burger King. Burger King holds a special place in my heart for nostalgic reasons. I have fond memories of feeding my best friend’s black lab fries from the backseat while her dad drove us around as elementary schoolers. That is about all I can really say for it. The last whopper I had from there was especially terrible, and I have not been persuaded to return since. It just does not hit the same as McDonalds for me, even though I will concede that the chicken fries are okay.  

In fourth place is Taco Johns. This may be controversial, but the only real thing Taco Johns has over Taco Bell is the potato olés. Listen, I have tried and failed many a time to make these bad boys at home, and it is never the same. Every time I furiously scour the internet certain that this will be the time that I find the right recipe. I feel like Plankton rubbing his hands together, plotting to steal the secret formula. But I too always fail. These little potato circles have kept me going on some of the worst days of my life. They can always be counted on to raise my spirits and my sodium levels, and for that, I thank them. The rest of the menu, however, I could leave behind entirely, hence fourth place.  

Getting into the top three, Wendy’s holds third place for me. Despite the mascot, to me, Wendy’s is like the rich aunt of fast-food restaurants. The best part of their menu is the breakfast menu. Do not get me wrong, they have great burgers, and the fries are okay. But I really enjoy their breakfast. I am personally a fan of the bacon, egg & Swiss croissant, with the seasoned potato wedges.  

Of course, the quintessential Wendy’s experience is dipping fries in one of their chocolate Frosties. If you are not there for breakfast, this is a classic move. I give it third place for its success in multiple categories.  

In second place is Taco Bell. I know what you might be thinking. Taco Bell can be hit or miss, especially depending on location. Some Taco Bells are in fact better than others, and they lack consistency. They are always changing the menu and taking away or limiting some of the best options. It is also a dangerous game to play with your stomach. You may find yourself visiting the bathroom more than usual after a trip to the Bell.  

However, for all its limitations, Taco Bell is still the ride or die. It is cheap, depending on where you are, it is open late, and it is always there when you really need it. The Doritos Locos tacos changed my life, and the crunch wrap supreme is an undeniable classic. The Quesarito, which is now only available online, is also an excellent choice. And of course, one cannot forget about the iconic Mountain Dew Baja Blast. My love of these classic menu items places Taco Bell in second place.  

In first place is the most legendary and widespread fast-food restaurant, McDonalds. McDonalds is like a close childhood friend. You know exactly what to expect from them, and they are there for you, through thick and thin. Everyone has probably seen a video here or read an article there about how terrible McDonalds is for you and how there are likely microplastics in the chicken nuggets or the beef is not fully beef. But it is okay because McDonalds is a safe space. It has an app that is dangerously easy to use, with great deals and a decent rewards system. It is also home to the immortal Big Mac and seasonal delights like Shamrock Shake.  

There is of course the thing about their fries. They are best piping hot and slowly decline as they cool. By the time they are cold, they are a completely different beast. Time is of the essence with the fries, making the drive home an ideal time to shovel a handful. No matter how much you try to fold or crunch the top of the bag, the heat will escape, and the fries will not survive. It does not matter, though, because for me, McDonalds is still the most nostalgic of the six and therefore ranks as my number one.  


Gabrielle Bossart is a Dakota Student Section Editor. She can be reached at [email protected].