Top 10 Fast Food Restaurants of 2013 (Infographic)

We have set forth a goal to try to determine the 10 most popular fast food restaurants of 2013 and more importantly, the number one most popular. The process involved getting a lot of data from different sources and comparing it to see trends.

Although this article is about fast food restaurants, we’ve also included fast casual restaurants as well as coffee-shop style restaurants such as Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Top 5 Fast Food Restaurants

As can be seen in the infographic and raw data numbers below, the most consistent trend is McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Subway. Other restaurants greatly fluctuate based on the metric type considered.

As far as our website analytics, McDonald’s is by far the most popular restaurant. The interesting thing is that Starbucks did not even make the top 10 list there. Why is that? It is most likely due to users not really searching for menu prices of coffee-shops. Coffee-shops have a limited menu so most of their users are familiar with the prices already.

On the other hand, Taco Bell and Wendy’s are also very popular on our website. This is again due to them being traditional fast food restaurants so users search for their menu prices quite a bit.

When compared to other popularity metrics, Taco Bell and Wendy’s are actually not THAT popular. On Google Trends, Wendy’s didn’t even make the top 10 and Taco Bell was tied at 7th spot with Chipotle. Similar results are seen with Google AdWords data, social media, and Alexa/PageRank.

Starbucks dominates pretty much every popularity contest except our website’s analytics and Google Trends. People search for Starbucks prices even more than for McDonald’s. On social media, Starbucks crushes McDonald’s by over 1 million users.

Starbucks is also the only fast food website that has a PageRank 8. All other restaurants are 7 and below.


Starbucks, although not the cleanest definition of fast food, is the most popular chain restaurant in the fast food and fast casual industry. Because it leans more towards a coffee-shop category, the restaurant is not as popular on our website and its prices are not searched as much on search engines.

McDonald’s is still the king of the “traditional” type of fast food restaurants and is well ahead of its direct competitors such as Burger King and Wendy’s.

Subway, on the other hand, is the most popular healthy fast food restaurant, however, fast casuals such as Panera Bread are catching up quickly.

If we had to rank the top 3 restaurants based on our data, it would be:

  1. Starbucks
  2. McDonald’s
  3. Subway

The interesting part of the results is that out of the top 3, only one can truly be considered a traditional fast food restaurant. Starbucks is a hip coffee-shop with a limited food menu, while Subway is a sub sandwich restaurant that’s perceived to be a healthier alternative.

That’s not to say that traditional fast food is dying, but its growth is slowing down. Fast food restaurants have jumped on the healthy bandwagon, so hopefully they continue towards that trend as they clearly need to do so.


Top 10 Fast Food Restaurants of 2013

Measurement Methods

We have used six different metrics to determine the winner. Website Analytics

The website analytics have been taked from the 4th quarter of 2013 (October-December). The reason for this is because we have the strongest analytics data from those months, which we feel would be the most accurate.

Google Trends

Google Trends is a great little tool that shows you trends among different keywords or businesses. This data is also from the 4th quarter of 2013 and is averaged for those three months.

Google Trends data comes from Google searches for that specific search term when compared to the overall Google search data.

Google AdWords

Google AdWords has a Keyword Planner tool, which allows advertisers to see approximate search volumes for search terms. It is thought to be the most accurate number for users to see search volume data.

Social Media

The next set of data was taken from social media websites Facebook and Twitter. The metrics used are the total Facebook likes and the total Twitter followers of the official restaurant pages.

Alexa Rank

Alexe Rank was used to determine how the popularity of restaurant’s official websites. Alexa ranks all websites, with #1 and #2 being and, the two most popular websites in the world.

Google PageRank

Google PageRank is a metric used by Google to gauge how trustworthy and popular a website is using Google’s propriatery algorythm. PageRank determines rank based on other websites linking to a specific website, while Alexa determines it based on number of users that visit a website using their browser toolbar or extension.

Raw Data

Fast Food Menu Prices Website Analytics

Total (Oct – Dec)
McDonald’s 163,935
Burger King 54,598
KFC 56,064
Wendy’s 103,448
Taco Bell 113,563
Chick-fil-A 46,753
Dairy Queen 14,464
Hardee’s 23,815
Jack in the Box 38,606
Subway 30,497
Quiznos 5,044
Sonic 23,366
White Castle 13,850
Panera Bread 54,326
Dunkin’ Donuts 40,217
Starbucks 23,990
Panda Express 33,850
Chipotle 31,201
Popeyes 10,672

Google Trends

Oct Nov Dec Average
McDonald’s 85 83 84 84
Burger King 22 21 21 21
KFC 32 33 38 34
Wendy’s 5 5 4 5
Taco Bell 11 11 11 11
Chick-fil-A 8 8 9 8
Dairy Queen 6 5 5 5
Hardee’s 2 2 2 2
Jack in the Box 4 3 3 3
Subway 29 30 30 30
Quiznos 2 1 1 1
Sonic 7 7 7 7
White Castle 1 1 1 1
Panera Bread 13 13 12 13
Dunkin’ Donuts 9 10 9 9
Starbucks 49 57 58 55
Panda Express 3 3 3 3
Chipotle 12 11 11 11
Popeyes 5 5 5 5

Google AdWords

McDonald’s 2,314,000
Burger King 823,000
KFC 550,000
Wendy’s 851,000
Taco Bell 1,000,000
Chick-fil-A 1,000,000
Dairy Queen 550,000
Hardee’s 173,000
Jack in the Box 301,000
Subway 1,500,000
Quiznos 201,000
Sonic 673,000
White Castle 135,000
Panera Bread 1,223,000
Dunkin’ Donuts 1,000,000
Starbucks 2,740,000
Panda Express 450,000
Chipotle 1,238,100
Popeyes 611,800

* The sum of all common variations of company brand, such as McDonalds and McDonald’s.

Social Media

Facebook Twitter
McDonald’s 30.5M 2.3M
Burger King 6.8M 575K
KFC 16.4M 483K
Wendy’s 4.7M 551K
Taco Bell 10.4M 1.2M
Chick-fil-A 7.4M 367K
Dairy Queen 8.2M 179K
Hardee’s 980K 29K
Jack in the Box 930K 50K
Subway 27.2M 1.9M
Quiznos 1.4M 55K
Sonic 3M 149K
White Castle 1M 56K
Panera Bread 2.5M 257K
Dunkin’ Donuts 11.4M 537K
Starbucks 36.5M 6M
Panda Express 3.3M 10K
Chipotle 2.3M 348K
Popeyes 450K 25K

Data as of April, 2014

Internet Popularity

Alexa Rank PageRank
McDonald’s 6,887 7
Burger King 25,463 7
KFC 22,903 6
Wendy’s 31,717 6
Taco Bell 17,710 6
Chick-fil-A 29,851 7
Dairy Queen 65,490 6
Hardee’s 126,260 6
Jack in the Box 54,963 6
Subway 11,848 7
Quiznos 69,646 7
Sonic 52,695 5
White Castle 152,137 5
Panera Bread 12,749 7
Dunkin’ Donuts 22,984 6
Starbucks 2,236 8
Panda Express 57,821 7
Chipotle 15,700 7
Popeyes 72,580 5

Data as of April, 2014

Leave a Reply