We’ve already covered the Top Ten Fast Food Chains, as well as  Top Fast Food Chains #11 – #20. Today it’s on to #21 – #30.

Once again, this list is determined by total dollar sales.

  • 21 Carl’s Jr.
  • 22 Chipotle
  • 23 Panda Express
  • 24 Whataburger
  • 25 Church’s Chicken
  • 26 Little Caesars
  • 27 Long John Silver’s
  • 28 Steak n Shake
  • 29 Zaxby’s
  • 30 Checkers/Rally’s

Wow. Who knew that Little Caesars still had enough stores open to clock in at #26. I thought that company was basically left for dead.  I knew all of the Top 20 pretty well, but in this next batch of restaurants is the first one I’ve never even heard of: Zaxby’s. Huh?

Also, I’ve never been to a Whataburger, Church’s Chicken, Long John Silvers, Steak n Shake, or Checkers.   Four of those five I’ve never been to largely because of the regions of the country I’ve lived in, but my never having been to a  Long John Silver’s is more based on a personal lifestyle choice to always avoid fast food fish.

Thoughts on #’s 21 – #30?  Who are you most surprised to STILL not see make the list, even after getting through the top 30?  How many of these chains are you familiar with?

23 Responses

  1. Bear Silber

    Haha, me too…what the is Zaxby’s….also same on those one’s you haven’t been to…’cept Checker’s.

    Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s FTW!

  2. Alex

    I had a 4-hour layover in Chicago due to a delayed flight, so I called a friend of mine and she gave me a brief tour of the city, which included a Steak n Shake visit. This was five years ago so I don’t recall specifics, but the food was tasty and I was impressed with their operation – everything was clean and professional. If I’m in the area again, I will definitely go back.

  3. wouldibuyitagain

    Shocked to see Rally’s so low. I have tried 28/29, Zaxby’s is the only one? The funny part is, Indianapolis has 26 of 29 of these chain stores. Missing Zaxby’s, Whataburger, & Jack in the Box (However, JIB coming later this year). 29 = I lumped Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr.

  4. BHG

    Zaxby’s just got to Lexington, KY in the past couple of years, but I have not frequented it since it’s on the other side of town. I believe it is primarily focused on chicken — I had chicken fingers from there for a tailgate once and I have seen advertising for a new chicken parmesan sandwich and an asian chicken salad. Do not know in what part of the country Zaxby’s originated, but it’s apparently big enough now to get celebrities like Fred Williard, Paul Sorvino, and Bruno the judge on Dancing with the Stars to do its commericals.

    Chain I’m surprised I haven’t seen yet in the top 30 — Baskin Robbins.

  5. bettyjoan

    Zaxby’s is a chicken chain that is VERY popular here in the southeast. http://www.zaxbys.com. Focus is on fingers rather than sandwiches (a la Chick-fil-a). I’m not sure what it says about me, but I’m familiar with just about all of the chains–Whataburger is one of my favorites! In Texas, it is almost as omnipresent as McD’s (and far tastier).

  6. zak

    I was expecting to see A&W in 21-30 but I guess not. I’m also curious how much further down you would have to go to find In-n-out.

  7. BHG

    Oh, surprised not to see Sbarro, either, given that I usually see one near a Panda Express at mall food courts.

  8. Brian

    I was wondering about In-N-Out too. I couldn’t find any information on their exact number of locations, but I did read that they had 120 locations by the late ’90’s. Considering the popularity of each restaurant, it is surprising they’re not higher.

  9. Scott Roberts

    Hans, Lion’s Choice is a pretty small chain (around 25 locations), with virtually all of them being around the St. Louis area.

    I’m absolutely blown away that White Castle isn’t even in the top 30!

    I’ve never even heard of Whataburger. I’ve heard of Zaxby’s, but I assumed they had no more than 10-20 locations in the South.

    I’m surprised Chipotle is so high at #22, and for that matter, Chick-Fil-A at #14 (!).

  10. Scott Roberts

    Okay, after researching them online, I have seen Whataburger (with the big “W” logo, very similar to Waylon Jennings’ winged “W” logo) many, many times on the road in Texas. I just didn’t know that was them…

  11. Jessica

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE Zaxby’s, even though there isn’t one within an hour’s drive of my house. I try to go there when I’m traveling. They have delicious chicken tenders!!!
    Long John Silvers is good, but inevitably, it always makes me feel a bit sick and I burp that awful greasy Long John Silver’s taste for hours. Because of this, I no longer eat there.
    I’m surprised not to see Cookout and Sonic!

  12. Justin

    Jessica, Sonic was in the top 10 (right at #10) – as for Cookout, if it’s the chain I think you’re referring to, the chain is only extant in NC. I lived most of my life in SC and had never heard of it until I moved to the Triangle. Excellent shakes though – my fiancee and I refer to it as the Southern version of In-n-Out given the Holy Roller connections. I’m surprised to see no Five Guys thus far myself and REALLY surprised that Church’s is as high as it is – I would have thought Bojangles would be higher. As for Zaxby’s, I love them as well (though I do love Bojangle’s better thanks to that awesome sweet tea and the spiciness of their tenders) – for those not in the know, they have something like 470 locations and got its start in Statesboro, GA near Georgia Southern’s campus.

  13. Pizza Fiend

    I would expect Little Caesars to gain position on this list, their $5 Hot n Ready Pizza is unstoppable. They will likely climb higher then Pizza Hut and Dominos in the next year or two, especially with the benefits they provide for franchising. I’m going to go eat a Little Caesars Pizza right now.

  14. MBaird

    Little Caeser’s is still real big in Michigan and surrounding states. Considering both Detroit’s baseball and hockey teams are owned by the founder / owner of LC testifies that they are still kickin’…

  15. Chazon

    Wonder why they combined Checkers/Rallys, but left Carls, jr and Hardees seperate? Seems to me that they should have been combined too – which would have ranked them much higher. . .

  16. Becks

    Zaxby’s was started in GA, and it focuses on chicken tenders and wings. Everything there is delicious from the tenders and wings, to the salads, to the fries (which have this awesome seasoning salt on them). There are locations all over GA, and they are starting to creep into surrounding states – SC, TN, AL, etc.

  17. KDB

    I think this just shows how provincial we all are. I have lived in Arizona, Missouri and Maryland in the last 5 years and have never seen a few of the top 30.
    Also, Five Guys, which dominates the DC area is not up there.


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