The Worst Fast Food Restaurants in America, Ranked
Let’s face it, many love fact food. It’s – duuh – fast, delicious and ready in a few seconds. But what fast-food lovers won’t admit today is that fast-food empire is going down the hill. And it goes fast, faster than flipping a burger.
People want fresh and high-quality food now. As a result of this need, many fast-food chains are struggling to satisfy their customers.
Although the portions are getting bigger and bigger, people simply don’t return. Consumers want healthy, clean and great service. So, what are the worst fast-food restaurants? Based on restaurant reviews, different studies, and Consumer Picks survey, we have gathered the top 20 fast-food restaurants that have failed their customers big time. Check them!
People love good wings. After all, nothing beats a game night like hot wings next to your favorite drink. But, it seems that people would rather skip game night if the wings are from Wingstop.
People are not fond of Wingstop anymore. Reason? Too salty wings, terrible sauce options, soggy wings, and high prices. Only 44% of customers go to Wingstop over and over again.
29. Boston Market
Nothing fresh about this market. This market went from 1,100 locations to 400 stores nowadays. They are most proud of their chicken. But, it seems that costumers don’t share their enthusiasm.
Their famous rotisserie chicken was easy to replicate, so markets started offering it everywhere. Now, the Boston market has to deal with strong competition and diverse demands by customers. People want more multi-cultural flavors and rich vegan options.
28. El Pollo Loco
‘The Crazy Chicken’ or the El Pollo Loco in Spanish first opened in Mexico in 1975. Five years later the first El Pollo Loco opened in the States, in Los Angeles. Back then people loved. Today it’s a different story.
El Pollo Loco suffers from a low-quality environment meaning that service and organization are chaotic. People still love the food quality. Only 42% are willing to suffer through the service again to get Loco’s food.
27. Taco Bell
Last year, in 2018, Taco Bell was officially voted ‘America’s favorite Mexican restaurant.’ So, how did it made this list? 57% of customers criticize their food.
Some say that it’s not filling enough, others claim that there is too much filling. In addition, many complained that they had stomach problems after eating at Taco Bell. Maybe not everyone’s stomach is for Mexican cuisine?
When Washington Post, back in 2017, wrote about beloved Bejonagles biscuits they simply said: “Meh. Not a good biscuit!” South stood in defense of this brand, including North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis. It’s still considered to be terrible.
Around 42% of customers are willing to return to these burnt and salty biscuits. All extra carbs are not helping their reputation.
Krystal’s burgers are so tiny that people often joke how they can’t see them. But, small portions are not the only thing that bothers customers.
Moreover, 59% of customers agree that Krystal serves one of the worst burgers in the country. Still, this is not so bad as some other restaurants.
24. Taco John’s
Customers love Potato Olés, but only 41% of them love them to visit John’s again. The main reason for this is their chaotic menu.
Burritos are never wrapped correctly, and salad tacos seem tossed carelessly. Poor taste is not helping much. Some call cheese fake.
The famous Wienerschnitzel is the world’s largest Hod Dog Chain. This is a long-living brand, from 1961 exactly. This hot dog chain is so massive that they sell more than 120 million hot dogs every year. But there is a huge culprit.
People mostly complain about extremely low-quality food. Customers dislike that bread overshadows the meat and that the fries tastes like rubber.
Cinnabon is known for its amazing cinnamon buns, always served warm and with a delicious sweet icing on top. At least that’s how it used to be.
Both food and quality of service are constantly getting bad reviews and Cinnabon is officially trying to survive. Moreover, diners don’t like to reheat buns. Only 40% of customers are willing to return to Cinnabon.
21. Einstein Brothers
For those who are passionate about rich and tasteful ‘gourmet’ bagels, the Einstein Brothers seem like the obvious choice. Only if their food did better.
This food chain received several bad reviews regarding food quality and freshness. People also criticize customer servicer and coffee. Let’s see what bigger brands are missing in their service and food quality.
People love Arby’s roast beef sandwiches, or at least they used to love them. According to data, only 44% of customers actually return to Arby’s. In addition, there were some serious rumors about their secret ingredients.
Ever since a 14-year-old boy from Michigan, found a piece of a severed finger in his roast beef sandwich, Arby’s has been struggling. Back in 2004, a customer found a piece of human skin in his sandwich. A lot of human touches here as it seems.
19. Dairy Queen
This food chain knows how to present its good side. Therefore, they know that their strength lies in their blizzards and ice creams. But these facts won’t stop people from shaming their non-dairy products.
Consumers said that their burgers are pore in ingredients, dry and without any flavor. Moreover, Dairy Queen was blamed for under cooking their chicken. Compared with other restaurants, Dairy Queen should be breathing a sigh of relief.
Wait… Subway, with its 24,000 stores across the country made this list? Yes! Surprisingly, but Subway had a low returning rate and there is a good reason for it.
The famous Subway cut its prices to five dollars, but it didn’t do the trick. Just in 2018, Subway had to close over 1,000 stores. People are turning their backs to this brand because the chain’s sandwiches are boring and plain. If Subway doesn’t offer something new soon, they will have to downsize more.
In 2009 Domino’s officially admitted that their food ‘sucked’, so they decided to improve it. CEO Patrick Doyle strongly believed that customers would be pleased with the new pizza offering. He was wrong.
Only 41% of consumers would go back to Domino’s for another meal. So, Domino’s is still one of the worst fast-food restaurants in the States. Luckily for the brand, they still do better than others on the list.
16. Long John Silver’s
Fish lovers are often found at Long John Silver’s restaurant. Unless they are among 41% consumers that will think twice before going to Long John Silver’s again.
Poor service, long lines, and dirty facilities are pushing people away from this fishy restaurant. One of the reviewers was a former employee who said that he had to buy new shoes while working there – the floors were so greasy.
Yes, KFC made this list, although this is one of the American’s most loved chicken chains. Luckily for Kentucky Fried Chicken, bad reviews are more linked with restaurant structures than the food.
Consumers are disliking KFC’s filthy dining area, poor food quality, and chicken that’s usually not so crispy. It’s soggier. Regardless, KFC is still opening new stores. Maybe they should consider these reviews when opening new stores. Just in case.
14. Del Taco
The Mexican fast-food chain, Del Taco, is known for great taco combos. According to 40% of customers who love their food, at least. Others had different stories.
Others claim that they have to wait long lines to get food without taste and too much rice. But, their meatless tacos are getting good reviews. Will this win people over? We will have to wait and see.
13. White Castle
White Castle is a burger joint known for its small and square hamburgers, and for being a part of a movie ‘Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle’. Not even Hollywood could help them.
The biggest issue with White Castle is the size of the burger. People have to buy and eat more to fill full. Buns are like those from supermarkets and the whole burger is meat, bun, and onion. Not satisfying at all.
12. Panda Express
This is the largest Asian restaurant chain in the country. Panda Express was founded in 1983 and so far has more than 2,000 stores offering traditional Asian cuisine. But, the food seems to be overpriced and so-so.
Although they are promoting their food as ‘original Asian’ people call it anything but authentic. Only 39%of customers would return. However, Panda Express has great service and its spotless. In addition, they often give free samples.
People used to love Wendy’s until someone found a live mouse in a bag of burgers back in 2018. Since then only 38% of customers are going back to Wendy’s. Mostly for one product only.
Patties at Wendy’s are never frozen and they often advertise that. Therefore, people choose to visit this fast-food chain again. As a result, Wendy’s performs better than some of its rivals.
10. Little Caesars
Do you want a cheap pizza? You should call Little Caesars. You can get a giant pepperoni pizza for only $5. But, it seems that not everything is about the low price.
Customers are complaining about poor quality and freshness. Some say that their pizza is identical to cardboard. Sometimes you do get what you have paid for.
9. Sonic Drive-In
Fast food lovers love classics, especially drive-in. That being said, the majority of people simply can’t resist a drive-in with great milkshakes, onion rings, and chili dogs. But, what if the food is not good?
A Sonic cheeseburger has all the ingredients of a typical cheeseburger: pickles, onions, tomatoes, patty, lettuce, and cheese. The only wrong thing is dry and unseasoned beef.
This fast-food chain had a rough decade. They went from more than 4,000 stores in 2007 to less than 400 in 2017. Then there was the bankruptcy and the Quiznos buyout in 2018. But customers blame the quality.
Customers’ biggest complaint? The Quiznos is too expensive. Quality is not even close to the price, so only 35% said they would return to eat at Quiznos. Luckily for Quiznos, some had it worse.
According to New Your Times, “You eat Sbarro not because you want Sbarro, but because it is the food that is available at the moment you want some food”. Also, 35% of their customers agree with this claim.
Sbarro lost its customers because of the lack of freshness and low food quality. The fact that Sbarro stores are located in dying mall food courts is not helping.
6. Jimmy John’s
“Freaky Fast, Freaky Fresh” no more according to only 34% percent of customers who are willing to dine at Jimmy John’s. From 2016 everything went down the hill for this food chain. In 2016, they made employees sign a non-compete clause. The result? Several states took the chain to court. The clause had to be removed.
In 2008, 2009 and even 2010, customers got sick wit E. Coli after eating JJ’s sprouts. In 2018, JJ’s had another poisoning happening.
5. Burger King
Burger King is known as the original Home of the Whopper. On the day of Whopper glory, Burger King was one of the best fast-food restaurants. Nowadays, portions are getting bigger, and the popularity is strongly decreasing.
Nowadays, Burger King made headlines for making vegan burgers and tacos. Still, people remember the Whopper days, and only 33% of customers are willing to go back and have a Burger King bite.
4. Carl’s Jr.
This fast-food restaurant went a long way from being a hot dog stand to becoming a famous brand. Nowadays, Carl’s Jr. is known for charbroiled burgers and shady advertisements. People are not doing well with food or Carl’s Jr. marketing. Customers find them offensive and hypersexualized.
Carl’s burgers are large, but also messy, which makes the experience of eating disturbing. Many also want to know why the price goes up, while the quality remains the same.
3. Cici’s Pizza
Reality is that Cici’s Pizza has a variety of options, from pizza, over pasta offering, to a salad bar, and a bunch of desserts. But, there is no quality, wide offer means nothing. One customer called Cici’s Pizza menu ‘actually seriously terrible’.
People can’t get enough of great staff and fast service, but they are still missing on quality. Only 20% of consumers would go back to Cici’s pizza.
2. Jack In The Box
People love two things about Jack in the Box: their funny commercials and round-headed mascot. Seeing anything strange? There is no food among favorites.
People call their food ‘gross’ and similar to ‘cat food’, and only 33% of costumers are willing to go back. But, there are those, saying that the tacos are gross, but they are so delicious that they are willing to ignore the look. So, can you guess who is the winner?
McDonald’s is everywhere. This brand is so present that we have the Deja Vu feeling wherever we go. But, surprisingly or not, the most famous food chain in the country is also the worst one. Still, this fast-food giant sells 75 burgers a second, every day. So, what is lacking?
Only 28% of consumers are willing to go to McDonald’s after only one visit. Quality is just low. But considered where McDonald’s is all located this, in reality, is not a huge number. Not yet, at least.