The Fast Food Hierarchy


https://www.thedailymeal.com/healthy-eating/15-fast-food-entrees-least-cholesterol

As a faithful keeper of fast food lore, I have plumbed the depths of the Greasy Fryer many a time, sampling all that the gods of the French and the fried have to offer. I have sampled countless burgers, innumerable nuggets, and fields of fries that boggle the human imagination. And as much as I’d like to believe there are few social barriers among the foodstuffs, I’ve come to realize this:

There is a Fast Food Hierarchy.

If you follow the ways of fast food long enough, you soon realize that not all buns aren’t created equal. Some fast food establishments are simply far better than their brethren, but how should one decide them?

Fortunately for posterity, I’ve developed a ranking system.

The Fast Food Hierarchy is made up of four holy artifacts, which guide the fast food denizen to make a decision as to which establishment deserves their allegiance: the Scales of Price and Food Quality, the Blade on Uniqueness, the Goblet of Variety, and the Parchment of the Value Menu.

 

The Scales of Price and Quality

Many judge fast food establishments based on the quality of their food alone. But this is for the unenlightened. You shouldn’t just like the food at a fast food establishment; you should get what you pay for.

If you’re eating fast food, chances are you’re trying to save money. A restaurant with cheap food that’s okay should rank higher in the hierarchy than one with good food that’s overpriced. I don’t mind paying more money for certain types of fast food, but it’d better taste good.

 

The Blade of Uniqueness

Like a sword slicing through an enemy force, the Blade of Uniqueness helps a fast food establishment slash through mediocrity by making it stand out. If a fast food restaurant wants to capture your attention, it should wow you with a creation you can only purchase at that restaurant, like the Big Mac or Chick Fil-A chicken sandwich.

If a fast food restaurant gives me something truly unique, it makes sure I won’t forget the place and will make a pilgrimage to its plastic chairs again someday.

 

The Goblet of Variety

A restaurant that just serves burgers will bore its patrons quickly. Sure, most fast food restaurants include other menu items like chicken nuggets and fish sandwiches, but if an establishment wants to establish its place in the Hierarchy, it should have multiple types of burgers, different ways of serving chicken, and if possible, animals on the menu with eight or more legs.

 

The Parchment of the Value Menu

This sacred text has been passed down from generation to generation of the fast food faithful. It makes fast food available to all, not just the wealthy or fortunate.

But just having a value menu isn’t enough. Some fast food establishments (I’m looking at you, Burger King) fill the value menu with the items that no one ever wants to order. This is an insult to the value and should be punished through demotion in the Fast Food Hierarchy.

 

Now that we’ve defined the parameters, how do some of the more famous fast food establishments measure up? Let’s give each fast food restaurant a ranking of 1-6 in each category and tally up the final score to see which restaurants are truly a light in the darkness.

 

And just so you’re aware, I did not submit to personal bias in this ranking. It was agony for me to avoid putting Chick Fil-A at the top.

McDonalds

Scales of Price and Quality 6
Blade of Uniqueness 4
Goblet of Variety 3
Parchment of the Value Menu 5
Total 18
McDonalds may not have the highest-quality food, but it’s cheap, meaning you get what you pay for. It also has a lot of unique menu items like the Big Mac and McRib (when it’s around) and has one of the best value menus in fast food. The only place where McDonalds comes up short is in the variety area: they have a lot of burgers, but only the basics in chicken sandwiches, fish, salads, and other items.

 

Burger King

Scales of Price and Quality 2
Blade of Uniqueness 2
Goblet of Variety 3
Parchment of the Value Menu 1
Total 8
Burger King’s business model of being nothing more than an alternative to McDonalds doesn’t help its ranking in the hierarchy. The main problem with Burger King is that their burgers pale in comparison with similar burgers, like the Wendy’s Double or Carl’s Jr. Famous Star, but aren’t any cheaper. Also, their value menu is a disgrace. If not for the chicken fries, there would be no reason to visit a Burger King at all.

 

Wendy’s

Scales of Price and Quality 4
Blade of Uniqueness 3
Goblet of Variety 5
Parchment of the Value Menu 5
Total 17
Dollar for dollar, Wendy’s tends to be the priciest of the fast food establishments. But it’s well worth it. They’re always coming out with something new to try, from a bacon and mushroom burger to ghost pepper fries to a ranch chicken sandwich. Or, if you’re looking for a deal, you can grab a 4 for $4 meal.

 

Chick Fil-A

Scales of Price and Quality 5
Blade of Uniqueness 6
Goblet of Variety 3
Parchment of the Value Menu 4
Total 18
I’ll admit to a personal bias with Chick Fil-A. It’s freaking delicious. And the chicken sandwiches are truly unique, making Chick Fil-A’s price-to-quality ratio superb. Chick Fil-A doesn’t have a value menu per-se, but the kid’s menu offers some pretty good budget choices. The only place where Chick Fil-A falls short is in the variety aspect. It’s pretty much all chicken.

 

Taco Bell

Scales of Price and Quality 3
Blade of Uniqueness 4
Goblet of Variety 2
Parchment of the Value Menu 1
Total 10
Again, personal bias here. I get migraines when I eat the wrong types of food, and for me, Taco Bell is a one-way ticket on the migraine express. I have to admit, though, there’s not much like it, and the food is pretty much priced as it should be. Unfortunately, many of the menu items feel like the same ingredients simply repackaged in different ways, and a lot of the value menu items are downright disgusting.

 

Carl’s Jr./Hardees

Scales of Price and Quality 5
Blade of Uniqueness 5
Goblet of Variety 6
Parchment of the Value Menu 3
Total 19
In some places, it’s Carl’s Jr. In others, it’s Hardees. Either way, it’s delectable. I’m not sure if this is true in other areas, but the Carl’s Jr.s in Colorado actually serve Mexican food in addition to the traditional burgers and fries. And it’s better than anything you can get at Taco Bell.

 

Arby’s

Scales of Price and Quality 3
Blade of Uniqueness 5
Goblet of Variety 5
Parchment of the Value Menu 3
Total 16
I’m divided on Arby’s. On the one hand, their roast beef isn’t real high quality and looks like Jabba the Hutt’s back fat. On the other, they’ve got a lot of menu items, like the gyro, that make Arby’s a truly unique experience. They also bring the sauce, bigtime. Arby’s wide variety of sauce makes one appreciate life a little more.

 

Del Taco

Scales of Price and Quality 5
Blade of Uniqueness 4
Goblet of Variety 6
Parchment of the Value Menu 6
Total 21
Del Taco’s got it all: traditional tacos and burritos. Tasty chicken and ranch tacos and burritos. Rice and beans. French fries. Burgers. Steak and potato burritos. Churros. Milkshakes. And the list goes on! Add to that a stupendous value menu and you have a restaurant worth driving out of your way for.

 

So the Fast Food Hierarchy currently stands thusly:

Del Taco
Carl’s Jr./Hardees
Chick Fil-A (tie broken due to that yellow sauce)
McDonalds
Wendy’s
Arby’s
Taco Bell
Burger King

 

Do you agree with the hierarchy? Let me know if there are other denizens of the fast food world you’d like me to rank.

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