If you thought you hated our opinions on the best and worst chain restaurants in the UK, wait until you read what’s in store for you now.
The UK has largely understood the appeal of fast food. We think more about what we eat, what it might cost us, etc. But there are still times when it’s the only thing that will do. You may be stuck in an airport, in the middle of a long car ride, or battling a hangover that makes you wonder why you’re doing the stupid things you do — but when it’s time, it’s time.
Invariably, everyone has their favorites. We’ve included coffee chains here as an excuse to talk about it a bit, to be honest. Let us know in the comments how wrong we are.
More: Every major chain restaurant in the UK is definitely ranked from worst to best
Never has a chain managed to market itself successfully despite the rarity of the quality offered. Your local coffee goofs are so much better and the food would be refused at the school dinner. I had a steak roll the other day where the steak was the kind of moist slice of beef that people stopped buying in the 90s. It should have been phased out in the UK when Friends ended.
Walking from Runshaw College to the Underground in Leyland used to be a treat. Everyone had a favorite Subway order. Never mind that they never managed to make their breakfast sandwiches acceptable. We thought we were pure innovators because we could mix drinks self-serve and pop our straws.
For some reason, the appeal of a Metro wasn’t as timeless as the others on this list. It’s hard to get a good burger when you’re on the go – it’s not hard to get a better sandwich.
There are 280 calories per slice in a large slice of Domino’s pizza. `Granted, nobody goes to Domino’s for a healthy option, but this is the one that took me by surprise.
I kinda like some things about Dominos. How it went from not being on my radar at all other than being on Simpsons commercials to being on most high streets is great marketing. Convincing people that it’s even smarter to spend £40 on a takeaway pizza. Have you ever heard of Darios? !
Ultimately loses because the pizza just isn’t that good.
7. Costa Cafe
Climbed several spots thanks to a food partnership with M&S that recently saved me one groggy morning at Lancaster station. The coffee is better than Starbucks and the whole experience is less unpleasant overall. Still not as good as going for a drink elsewhere, but clearly superior choice.
The newcomer. The so-called healthy choice. The one that now dominates stations and train stations. The moment this list starts to turn into some really great options. Not cheap at all. Their line of supermarket sauces is really, really good. I could probably eat their waffle fries in bulk, but that would definitely be a pointless task after choosing a supposedly healthy option.
KFC on a good day tops the list – and on a bad day it falls below Subway. In 2022, we should not yet discuss which KFCs are our favorites because there is such a big difference in quality. The correct answer is Preston Docks, by the way. The very first KFC in the UK was in Preston. He has roots here, we want him to do better.
Yet when it works, it’s all you want in fast food and you need a big nap.
4. Taco Bell
Taco Bell comes in so high in part because of absence bias. The closest is in Manchester. It always looks like a treat when you spot one. We have the same with Tortilla Burritos every time we visit Birmingham.
Think McDonald’s, but Mexican, but also not really Mexican at all. Ridiculously low cost, even if you are visiting in London. Probably fulfills the best spicy quota on the list too. It may drop a few points when it finally opens in Lancashire proper (Manchester doesn’t count, before you fill my hate emails).
Burger King’s burgers are the best of any fast food chain. It’s there in the name, which is honest marketing when you think about it. I love the Bacon Double Cheese there so much that I still have angry flashbacks to my dad, when I was 10, pinching the last bite I saved until the end with an “oh , It’s for me?”
They earn bonus points for always being overpriced but still excellent at gas stations, airports and train stations where I get stuck.
Greggs and I have something in common. None of us can afford to exist in London. There are better places for pastries in most cities and towns, but Greggs offers reassuring reliability. They introduced a vegan sausage roll and made it their most popular product, highlighting the great church that is Greggs.
He’s so popular that there was even an unsuccessful campaign to get Greggs to appear at the Download Festival. Just like in London, you can’t imagine people will want to pay more for those sausage rolls.
A friend once told me that if what the Michelin Guide looks for in restaurants is consistency and something enjoyable, then McDonalds is the most obvious omission. He may or may not have a point on the guide, but he certainly had a point on consistency.
The previous comment about the existence of good and bad KFC? This just doesn’t happen in McDonalds in my experience. It’s the same wherever you go. A double cheeseburger in London is the same as at the Capitol Centre. It’s not even that unhealthy anymore in the grand scheme of things. You can go to a Spoons and order their ultimate burger or you can eat 6.47 cheeseburgers from McDonalds for the same calories. Their breakfast remains the only official hangover cure. Many people will have a favorite above McDonalds, but it’s the most popular for a very good reason.