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Published May 12, 2012

 

25. Miami Subs – you have never eaten here . . . I know that, because if you have you would be in coma or 6 feet under. In terms food quality, taste, appearance, ambiance, etc. hobos in New York City eat better.

24. Roy Rogers – this once proud franchise is now a smoldering mess that lives in NJ Turnpike rest stops. The only good thing about eating here is that they still serve their french fries out of a paper gun holster . . . just like the real Roy Rogers used to eat his fries.

23. Long John Silver’s –deep fried browness, I think I figured out LJS’s sales strategy: deep fry the hell out of everything on the menu and serve with tartar sauce to differentiate the product. They could be serving deep fried play-doh for all we know, but they are super cheap . . .

22. Arby’s – is it possible to feel sick before you eat somewhere? The Arby’s trademark roast beef sandwich ranks among the all-time worst fast food creations behind the short lived McRocky Mountain Oysters and shorter lived $5 dollar monkey brains footlong.

21. Jack in the Box –proving it’s possible to feel sick after you eat somewhere. Good ole Jack is still digging out of the bad PR hole from all those people getting food poisoning a few years ago. Ya know what will help? Disgusting breakfast options!

20. Blimpie’s – I am sure at one point it was a treat to eat at a relic like Blimpie’s, but just like disco that era is dead. Blimpie’s business model of selling terrible tasting food with a ton of tasteless bread seems to have backfired on them at some point in 90’s, now they getting muscled out of the fast food sandwich market they created. It would be sad if anyone cared.

19. Hardee’s / Carl Jr.’s –Did you know that Hardee’s was founded by a guy named Wilbur Hardee? And that Wilbur claims to have lost the company in a game of poker? Did you know that Carl Jr.’s started out as ahot dog cart in Anaheim by a dude named Carl? I wonder what other secrets they are keeping . . . like, they’re (in)famous Monster Thickburger has over 1400 calories, the same as two Big Mac’s.

18. Checkers – I suppose the biggest difference between Checkers and any run of the mill burger joint is that it is drive through only. That and they have a serious of absurd marketing slogans ranging from “High performance Human Fuel” (I am sure Lance Armstrong used to take his bike through the drive thru before a big race)to “Devour the Night” (which will only instigate after hours Godzilla attacks) to a stuffed animal cat that raps.

17. McDonald’s – if only having the most stores was the deciding vote . . . alas, mediocre food and a mountain of bad PR has caught up with the former king of fast food. I can’t fault a company for making a ton of cash and giving Americans type two diabetes, but I will not stand by while McDonald’s continues to make crappy french fries!!! One big plus for the golden arches is that when you are travelling abroad nothing cures homesickness like a Big Mac and stomach cramps.

16. Subway – known better for their catchy marketing than their slimy lunch meats and zombie chicken. The fastest growing fast fooder out there is using athlete endorsements to push fake healthy products around town as if they will make you as fast as Michael Phelps and jacked as Michael Strahan. If you frequent Subway you are likely to resemble fat Jared.

15. 5 Guys – I know this ranking will spark some grumblings,but there are a few fundamental flaws with 5 guys. Their fries suck, they are always somehow super greasy and burnt to shit. Their hamburgers are criminally overrated,are we are all so used to McDonald’s that anything better is newsworthy? And lastly, it is never a good sign when your bag is bleeding grease like a suckling pig as you walk out of the store.

14. Boston Market – remember when they first hit the scene and where known as Boston Chicken? Seemed like such a good idea to go the old ‘good food quickly, not fast food’ route, now it’s hard to find them at all. Classic case of a concept that us fatties just were not ready for yet. Next time you have a meatloaf craving you can blame poor timing for the fact that there are not enough Boston Markets around to satisfy your need for a baked, gray loaf of meat.

13. Chik-Fil-A – another criminally overrated distributor of greasy, deep fried grease. I’m sorry,but how is putting a chicken patty and a pickle on a buttery bun the best chicken sandwich in the world?!??! Plus,the preachers at Chik-Fil-A won’t even sell you a gizzard on Sunday . . . leave the guilt trip to my bathroom scale.

12. Quizno’s –scene from the Quizno’s boardroom: exec #1:“Those goons at Subway microwave their sandwiches, why don’t we just toast ours?” Exec #2: “That’s it?” Exec #1: “That’s it.” Apparently toasting is worth 4 places in power rankings.

11. Dairy Queen – did you know in the early 90’s DQ began selling frozen yogurt as a low calorie alternative product? Yea, that didn’t last long, DQ dropped the fro-yo when we were all focusing on the Y2K bug. DQ was always been a pretty innovative company, for example they were the first large enterprise to roll our soft serve ice cream, but the scientists in the Dairy Queen lab hit the jackpot when they discovered the Blizzard. The ice cream / candy / chocolaty not-quite milkshake cemented DQ’s place on the rankings and itself in the TFM hall of fame. BTW, their burgers and dogs ain’t too shabby either.

10. Sonic – if only this place had indoor seating it would be so much better. I know I am eating a bag of delicious deep fried food, but do I have to it in my car in the parking lot like a registered sex offender or even worse on a bench on the side of the highway?

9. Popeyes – the company originally hired strongmen to dress as the cartoon Popeye and stand outside their stores to literally force bystanders to buy their chicken. As the company grew so did this practice, however when the hired enforcers unionized the company was in a perilous position. CEO Dillard Copeland Jr. rallied the company around a new menu featuring cajun spiced mashed potatoes and popcorn chicken. (actual details made up, but dammit those mashed potatoes are good)

8. Burger King – BK has a Pepsi-Coke relationship with McDonald’s, they have been in second place for so long it has defined them. This rivalry is best defined by the Burger Wars during the early to mid 80’s . . . what started out as some negative advertising led to Burger King exec’s toilet papering the McDonald’s house and culminated in McDonald’s building a planet destroying space station and trying to smash the rebel alliance. Although that may be the plots of Animal House and Star Wars mashed together.

7. Potbelly’s –The up and coming sub shop currently wears the crown in the sandwich division. These funky and old-timey stores celebrate potbelly stoves, a damn good sandwich, and a random affinity for US Presidents from the late 1800’s. Also a plus, Potbelly’s cranks out one of the best shakes on the market. The downside, too few menu options and too few locations. This newcomer has potential to be king of the hill one day.

6. White Castle –buoyed by stoner / epic biopic Harold & Kumar, White Castle has found itself a market niche: few spots are better when you are drunk, high, or otherwise deprived of your senses. I’ve heard rumors that some locations are instituting a six drink minimum to be allowed to order, when reached for comment the White Castle call center said “please call back during regular business hours or leave a message” . . . .

5. Taco Bell – after urging fatties and non-fatties alike to ‘think outside the bun’ for years, Taco Bell is now the top mass production fast fooder that doesn’t feature the typical hamburgers / fried chicken menu. The dirty little secret behind Taco Bell (and really all Mexican food) is that it is all the same: a burrito is a soft taco but bigger, a chimichanga is a burrito deep fried, Mexican pizza is an open faced burrito, etc. It is all delectable enough to ignore the yellowish goop so-called-cheese and the fact that their meat is only 88% meat and spices (ummm, what is the rest?).

4. KFC – In high school there was a KFC two towns over, if timed perfectly my friends and I could speed there, inhale a meal (we would stagger ordering so the chunky kid who ate fast ordered last to maximize efficiency), and speed back during lunch period. Totally worth it. KFC also gets major props for backing into the Famous Bowl. Who would have thought that what amounts to fast food floor sweepings could be so delicious?

3. In & Out Burger – the legendary west coast burger chain tops out at #3 on the rankings because most of the people in this country haven’t even had the chance to eat here. Maybe this is part of their mystique, I don’t know, all I know is when you hear stories about people missing flights for an In & Out run or MLB players putting on 20 lbs a year they have to be on to something good.

2. Chipotle – have you watched a non-HD channel and then switched to the HD version . . . the difference is striking, how did we settle with blurry subpar production for decades and not know any better? Chipotle is the HD channel to Taco Bell’s lowdef offerings. Chipotle fans (addicts) have been known to go a long way for their brand: people wait 30+ minutes in line during lunch break, college kids participate in the 7 Days of Sin (Chipotle for lunch and dinner for seven straight days), and every Halloween tin foil clad grown men and women publicly shame themselves for a $8 burrito . . . who else has this customer loyalty?

1. Wendy’s – Dave Thomas is a member of the Fast Food Hall of Fame, you can find his plaque between Colonel Saunders and Ray Kroc. Wendy’s really has something for everyone with the frosty, awesome chili, industry leading french fries, and the #6 Spicy Chicken sandwich value meal is the best in the business. Wendy’s is on top of the fast food mountain for now, but it will take some work and a whole lot of Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers to retain the champion’s belt long term.

 

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