A guilty pleasure like fast food often serves as a quick fix for cravings or convenience. However, more often than not, guests come to regret their choice of stopping. Before you head out for your next indulgence, check out the worst fast food chains in America and avoid them at all costs.

These fast-food places are commonly known to have sub-par service, less than spotless dining areas, and in many cases; terrible food.

A variety of fast food items on a wooden table.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.
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Though fast food places can hit the spot when you’re in a pinch, they’re not always worth it. The popular chains below are ones in which feedback (though obviously subjective) was commonly negative for a variety of reasons.

Healthy choices aside, these places have been ranked on:

  • Cleanliness
  • Service
  • Speed
  • Freshness and quality

On all of which, they’ve come up lacking. So, before you head out the door, give this list and peek and maybe steer clear of the worst fast food chains you’ll come across.

Worst Fast Food Places

Below you’ll find the list of the worst fast food choices in America. You’ll find some of your favorite places on there from the wildly popular McDonalds to Taco Bell. Moving forward, you’ll want to skip the trip and avoid these chains, your body will thank you.


KFC. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

KFC’s chicken, with its crispy exterior and juicy interior, is a masterclass in comfort food. But it’s also a masterclass in how to pack as much fat and sodium into a meal as possible, making it a delicious yet dubious choice for the health-conscious.

Carl’s Jr.

Carl’s Jr.. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Carl’s Jr. doesn’t hold back with its Thickburgers, which are as hefty in size as they are in calories and saturated fats. They’re the sort of meal that feels like a weekend treat on a Tuesday, seducing us with layers of cheese, bacon, and mayo.

Burger King

Burger King. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Burger King’s flame-grilled burgers, especially the iconic Whopper, are a calorie bomb wrapped in a tasty package. It’s the perfect example of temptation, blending juicy patties with rich sauces that make moderation a challenge.


Checker’s. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Checker’s offers fries and burgers that hit the spot with their seasoned, crispy goodness. However, they’re also a fast track to exceeding your daily calorie and fat intake, making every bite a delicious dilemma.


Arby’s. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Arby’s stacks its sandwiches high with meats, creating a flavorful feast that’s hard to resist. Yet, these sandwiches also stack up the sodium and fat, making them a less-than-ideal choice for anyone trying to eat a balanced diet.

Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Jack in the Box serves up a diverse menu that includes everything from indulgent tacos to hefty burgers. It’s a go-to for variety, but also a shortcut to a diet splurge, thanks to its generous use of cheese, sauce, and deep-fried everything.


Quizno’s. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Quizno’s takes sandwiches to the next level with their toasty buns and generous fillings. But with great size comes great calorie counts, and these subs are a testament to how deliciously easy it is to ignore the salad bar.


Wendy’s. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Wendy’s offers a menu where the baconator reigns supreme, serving up a double dose of beef and bacon that’s as irresistible as it is laden with calories and fat. It’s the fast food equivalent of saying, “Diet starts tomorrow.”


In-N-Out. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

In-N-Out keeps it simple with a menu that hasn’t changed much over the years, but simplicity doesn’t mean low-cal. Their burgers and animal style fries are a delicious nod to classic American fast food, making moderation the last thing on your mind.


Sonic. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Sonic combines nostalgia with a menu that’s a tribute to all things sugary, fatty, and salty. Their milkshakes and cheeseburgers are the epitome of treat yo’ self, making it easy to forget about the concept of a “light snack.”

Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Dairy Queen is the king of blending dessert with fast food, offering Blizzards that are as packed with sugar as their burgers are with calories. It’s a double whammy of indulgence that makes every visit a cheat day.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Shake Shack takes gourmet fast food to a new level, with burgers and shakes that are rich in flavor and calories. It’s where you go to treat yourself, convincing yourself that quality ingredients make it okay.

White Castle

White Castle. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

White Castle’s sliders may be small, but they’re mighty in their ability to pack in trans fats and sodium. They’re the kind of snack that makes you lose count of how many you’ve eaten until it’s too late.

Taco Bell

A taco bell restaurant entrance with promotional window graphics advertising breakfast options.
Photo credit: Shutterstock.

Rated one of the worst choices in America for both freshness and quality. This common fast food place is one of the best-known Mexican fast-food chains but for all the wrong reasons.


Culver's fast food on a tray in the fast food chain.
Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Though not a health-food store by any means, Culver makes it especially difficult to get nutritional information. This is probably due to the fact that many of their foods contain almost an entire days worth of sodium.

*Select images provided by Depositphotos.

Founder and Writer at Running to the Kitchen | About

Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.

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