How All Your Favorite Fast Food Restaurants Got Their Start

Whether it’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or Straight Outta Compton, everyone loves a good origin story. The origins of your favorite fast food restaurants involve a little less violence then those films, but it’s still interesting how and when they all got their start.

McDonald’s origins have been publicized a bit more with The Founder movie releasing in late 2016, and that’s a good start to this list, but we’ve got a lot more ground to cover from there.

Back before Subway ever met Jared Fogle, before Wendy’s was clowning people on Twitter, or before Starbucks was dishing out Unicorn Frappuccinos, they all started with an idea.

Here’s a quick look at how 10 of your favorite fast food restaurants got their start, with the help of CDA:


Before Ray Kroc got his hands on McDonald’s, it was actually owned by a couple of brothers named Richard and Maurice McDonald. Duh. In 1940, they set up a drive-in barbecue spot called McDonald’s Bar-B-Q in San Bernardino, California before shortening it to just McDonald’s in 1948.



In 1965, Subway was a small sandwich shop brought to life in Bridgeport, Connecticut by a college student who was just trying to pay for his education. Coming full circle, Fred DeLuca’s restaurant would later feed millions of broke college students with its $5 footlongs.



Before KFC took over the fried chicken world, it was just a service station in North Corbin, Kentucky, where Harland Sanders sold fried chicken to drivers who stopped by. In 1930, Colonel Sanders put together the list of secret herbs and spices, scratching them on the back of his kitchen door, and he never looked back.


Dunkin’ Donuts

Starting the whole coffee and donuts trend back in 1948, William Rosenberg found that to be a winning combo, as it sold food in factories and construction sites. Rosenberg decided to open a restaurant around that concept in 1950, as Dunkin’ Donuts was born thanks to the selective taste buds of factory workers.



Wendy’s has a pretty well-known origin, as most people know that Wendy was the name of Dave Thomas’s daughter, and the man had a love for fresh fast food. Before starting Wendy’s in 1969, Thomas actually worked with Colonel Sanders, helping get KFC going, which is probably where he got his franchising chops.


Pizza Hut

Using McDonald’s and KFC as a business model, Dan and Frank Carney wanted to take over the pizza world. Starting in Wichita, Kansas, the two turned an old bar into a pizzeria, calling it, you guessed it, Pizza Hut.


Burger King

The so-called king of burgers had very humble beginnings, as in 1953 Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns couldn’t hold down the fort of their beloved Insta-Burger King restaurant. In 1957, they sold it to David Edgerton and James McLamore, who renamed the restaurant just Burger King. The burger joint really took off in 1959 when they invented a gas grill called the “flame broiler,” and started killing it with their flame broiled Whoppers.


Papa John’s

The very first time John Schnatter sold a pizza, it was from the back of his papa’s tavern in Jefferson, Indiana. The tavern was struggling a bit, to the point where Schnatter had to sell his car to keep the business afloat. Soon after, John bought some used pizza-making equipment and started selling pizza from the broom closet at his pop’s tavern, like some sketchy back-alley dealer.


Five Guys

Sure enough, Five Guys was created by five guys in 1986. When Jerry and Janie Murrel told their five sons they either had to go to school, or start a business, the five dudes out of Arlington County, Virginia chose a business. With over 1,500 restaurants across the country, it’s safe to say the kids made a good decision.



Starbucks is fairly new compared to a lot of the restaurants on this list. Being conceived in 1971, the Seattle-based company started off as a small coffee shop that prided itself on selling coffee with the “highest quality beans.” In 1982, CEO Howard Schultz jumped in, turning it into a coffee bar/cafe-style restaurant. Now it has taken over the world, and every corner in your city.

Fast Food Now Trending Restaurants The Katchup

FOOD FIGHT: Five Guys Vs In-N-Out [The Katchup Podcast]

Last week, Five Guys caused quite a stir when the Harris Poll ranked it ahead of In-N-Out to give it the title of America’s top burger brand. While Five Guys is a more nationally recognized brand, the West Coast was in an uproar over its beloved burger chain not taking the top spot.

After having done our research with both chains, we decided that it was time to pit them in a head-to-head food fight to determine whose burger cuisine truly reigns supreme.

To do that, Foodbeast Editor-In-Chief Elie Ayrouth sat down with BroBible co-founder Brandon Wenerd to chow down on meals from both In-N-Out and Five Guys while discussing both chains on a special episode of Foodbeast’s podcast, The Katchup, and all on Facebook Live. Wenerd is an East Coast transplant that grew up with Five Guys but also loves In-N-Out burgers, so he’s got some legit opinions and memories from both burger chains.

A poll was also put up on the Facebook Live video for viewers to vote for their pick of the superior burger chain. Between the poll and discussions of everything from Animal-style Double Doubles, bags of Cajun-style fries, and shakes, we eventually came to a final decision.

Who’s got the better burger? Do Five Guys’ Fries trump In-N-Out’s? These tough calls were made throughout the podcast, so you’ll have to listen to hear our final word on whether Five Guys is truly superior to In-N-Out or not.

Fast Food Video

How To Make In-N-Out & Five Guys At Home [WATCH]

The topic of whether Five Guys Burgers is better than In-N-Out has been a point of extreme contention here at the Foodbeast office for weeks now. A recent study by EquiTrend declared that Five Guys was the superior burger chain… triggering many fans of the California-based In-N-Out chain.

Hellthy JunkFood decided to hold a friendly competition, hosted by our buddy Daym Drops, to see who could make the better burger between the two chains.

Check out the video to see how to make both In-N-Out’s Double Double Cheeseburger and Five Guys’ Bacon Cheeseburger straight from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Since it’s a collaboration, peep Daym’s video to see which of the two chefs’ burgers won the coveted prize of bragging rights.

Spoiler alert: It was In-N-Out.

Fast Food News Now Trending Restaurants

How Five Guys Became The Top-Ranked Burger Chain It Is Today

Just what Monday called for… (🍔: @piff_bill) #FiveGuys #Fries #Burger #Cheeseburger #Cheese #Monday

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This past week, Five Guys made national headlines when it eclipsed In-N-Out to become the United States’ most beloved burger joint. Many people have voiced either their support or shock at Five Guys claiming the stop spot, especially here at the Foodbeast office (where I’m basically the sole supporter of Five Guys).

While Five Guys has been growing fast and has now earned this esteemed honor, not everybody knows who the Five Guys are or where they came from, so I felt it best to tell y’all how this rapidly spreading burger chain began.

In 1986, Jerry and Janie Murrell, along with their four sons, opened up the first Five Guys in Arlington, Virginia as a simple carry-out burger shack. Their fresh burgers and fries swiftly became a cult phenomenon in the greater Washington, D.C. area, eventually being voted the #1 burger in the metropolitan district of D.C. During that time period, a fifth son was born, completing the “Five Guys,” or sons, that still run the business today.

😍 (🍔: Virginia_Delish/Twitter) #FiveGuys #Fries #Burger #Cheeseburger #Cheese #Food

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Over the next 15 years, the popularity of Five Guys continued to grow, leading the family to change their model from carryout to sit-down restaurant and open up four more stores in the area. However, that wasn’t enough to satisfy the growing crowd of fans, so Five Guys began franchising in 2003 to rapidly expand their business.

As their national image grew, so did the number of stores. Five Guys franchises totaled around 300 by the end of their first year experimenting with the franchising model. By 2012, over 1,000 locations had sprung up in the United States and Canada, with other continents getting their first taste of Five Guys the following year with the 2013 opening of a London Five Guys.

Today, more than 1,500 Five Guys restaurants exist, with another 1,500 still in development, meaning the chain still has plenty of room for growth. What’s been the secret to their success? Staying true to the original burger mantra that made them famous: fresh, made-to-order, and large amounts of peanut oil-cooked fries.

Five Guys is also known for having tons of peanuts on deck at each location and for the wicked amount of customization you can do to your burgers, which many fans have grown to love over the years. Between that and their commitments to quality, it’s no wonder that Five Guys has become such a beloved and top-ranked restaurant.

Culture Fast Food Restaurants

Five Guys Leapfrogs In-N-Out, Is Crowned America’s Top Burger Chain

On Saturdays we eat burgers 🍔🍟 (🍔: KvasirYYC/Twitter) #FiveGuys #Saturday #Burgers

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The battle of the United States’ iconic burger chains just got a new king of the hill.

In the annual EquiTrend study conducted by the Harris Poll, Five Guys topped In-N-Out for the first time to claim the title of America’s top burger brand, according to AOL. The study had respondents rate each brand on familiarity, quality, and likeliness to purchase, placing Five Guys in the number one spot with In-N-Out dropping to second.

One of the big reasons Five Guys was able to rank higher than In-N-Out was that familiarity category, with the percentage of consumers familiar with Five Guys jumping up 20 percentage points over the past four years. As the chain has expanded to currently include over 1,500 locations nationwide, it’s no wonder more people are now familiar with it.

While Five Guys and In-N-Out both serve simple burgers-and-fries menus, what differentiates Five Guys is the ability to customize with a wide variety of toppings and their overloading on the fries orders (and their fries are pretty bomb, to be honest). Maybe that also gave Five Guys an edge over the iconic In-N-Out.

Still, both are amazing burger joints, regardless of ranking. Comparing Five Guys to In-N-Out is like comparing the Warriors and Spurs for the best basketball team in the country: it’s really hard to pick a clear winner.

Culture Fast Food Video

Irish People Try Five Guys Burgers For The First Time [WATCH]

While our hearts incomparably belong to In-N-Out, there have been times our eyes shamefully wandered off to Five Guys Burgers.

The international burger chain is known for their giant greasy burgers and mounds of french fries, and boasts more than 1,000 locations across the United States and Canada.

Over at Facts, a panel of Irish men and women got together to try some of the top menu items that Five Guys had to offer. These items include the Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich, the Hot Dog, and a Vanilla Milkshake with salted caramel and bacon.

Realistically, they should have been full after the first item.

Check out the video above and feel your salivary glands swell with desire as these Irish folks taste and react to the glorious and greasy dishes placed in front of them. In the meantime, we’re going to take a long hard look at what’s for lunch.

Adventures Fast Food Hit-Or-Miss Opinion

What Happened When An East Coast Native Tried In-N-Out For The First Time

I come from a family of burger fanatics. Whether it was a lamb burger made by mom or a greasy heap of cow from whatever beef-slinging joint was closest in proximity, we didn’t discriminate. There is just something about a juicy hunk of ground meat that really gets the Trimber clan going.

Growing up in the DC-area, I’ve been inundated by East Coast favorites such as Five Guys, Shake Shack, and, one of my personal favorites, Spike Mendelsohn’s Good Stuff Eatery. I began to acclimate to Good Stuff’s milkshakes that are so thick you practically need a spoon, Shake Shack’s classic crinkle-cuts, and Five Guys’ legendary Cajun fries which are so greasy you have to hold the paper bag out in front of you like a child with a stinky diaper so as to avoid from your entire wardrobe becoming oil-stained for all of eternity. This was my normal.

That is, until I came to the West Coast., a.k.a. In-N-Out territory.

Despite several trips across the country to visit family in various parts of California, I had never eaten at In-N-Out. It was kind of embarrassing. It was like I needed an In-N-Out stamp on my passport for people to believe I actually traveled beyond the coast I’ve always called home.

After an embarrassing amount of times on the West Coast with no gastronomic In-N-Out experiences to speak of, I decided it was finally time to see what the hype was all about.

This is my story:

10:30am: It’s Sunday morning. Rather than go to a bougie bottomless brunch in WeHo, I decide it’s the perfect day to pop my In ‘N Out cherry. On the Lord’s day, I’d like to believe God was proud. The place literally just opened for the day, so I decide to play it cool and pace around my apartment for at least five more minutes before heading out. I’m not ready to be the first person at In-N-Out. There is more strength in numbers.

10:35am: I hop on the 2 Freeway with my best friend in tow, mentally and physically preparing for the experience that lies ahead of me. It’s kind of surreal, like that feeling when the lights dim before you finally get to see your favorite band in concert for the first time.

10:45am: I pull into parking lot and see the classic red and yellow sign. I have butterflies in my stomach – partly from hunger, partly from excitement, but butterflies nonetheless.


10:46am: I get out of my car and immediately take a picture of the In-N-Out sign. Alas, I finally have proof that I have indeed traveled to California. Throngs of In-N-Out devotees begin to flood the entrance – the church rush, I’m assuming – each staring at me like the tourist I am as they walk past. My friend is embarrassed, mostly for me, but also for herself.

10:48am: I walk through the front doors and am met with the most pristine fast food restaurant I have ever laid eyes on. The white walls, generic tile, and shocking cleanliness of the place make me feel like I just walked into a hospital. I can’t decide whether this is comforting or not.

10:49am: I walk up to the counter with false bravado, ready to pretend I know what I’m doing. I tell the kind, vaguely Mormon-looking cashier that I would like a “Double Double Animal Style.” I let the sentence linger for a few seconds, gauging whether my online studying paid off and I seemed legit, or if the cashier calls my bluff. He can definitely tell I’m a newbie, but is nice about it. My friend orders the same, and we complete our order with Animal Style fries, regular fries, and a chocolate shake.

10:50am: After paying, I leave the cash register and immediately throw away my receipt. I gravitate towards a table close enough to the register so that I hear an employee calling out numbers for respective orders. I realize my number is on the receipt I just threw away. Such a noob.

10:51am: I walk back to the counter, clearly embarrassed and blushing, and ask the cashier what my number is. He tells me, and I walk back to my table with defeat.

11:00am: They call number “29,” and I jump out of my seat so quickly I nearly trip over myself. I regain my balance, look around to make sure no one sees what just happened – they all do – and walk to the register to claim my meal. I clasp the red tray and slowly lift it up to eye-level, taking in the beauty and smelling all the smells, knowing this is a moment I will never forget.


11:02am: After staring at my food for an entire two minutes, I grab the Double Double and sink my teeth in. The lettuce is crisp. The burger is juicy. The sauce is creamy. I lose myself in the burger for a few moments. I’m brought back to the present as my friend asks, “How is it?” I wait an inappropriately long time to respond, partly because I’m still chewing, but mainly because I’m in awe of how good this burger tastes. At this moment, I believe the hype is real.

11:03am: It’s time to go in for the kill on the fries. Visually, they are one of the more perfect orders of fries I’ve laid eyes on. Each fry is uniform and all appear to be cooked perfectly and evenly. I take the first bite and my stomach drops. They’re terrible. Crunchy. Flavorless. Unsubstantial. Possibly the three worst words that could ever be associated with a French fry. My friend and I meet each other’s gaze, both recognizing the look of disappointment in the other. We were doing so well.

11:04am: I take another bite of my burger, desperate for any other taste in my mouth other than the French fries. As I chew, I decide maybe I just got a bad couple of fries. Yes, that has to be it. I go in on them again, because everything deserves a second chance. Still bad. I put even more salt on them. Barely tolerable. I try extra Animal sauce. Still weirdly crunchy considering the sauce-to-fry ratio. The consistency of these fries are so wack they’re basically invincible to all of my attempts. It feels like I’m eating stale potato chips instead of fries. I am perplexed.


11:06am: As I continue to think about my current situation, I go from perplexed to distraught. In-N-Out is supposed to be good. What is happening? Is my entire life a lie?

11:07am: The only thing left to taste is the chocolate shake, although I really don’t want to based on my friend’s face. See, she is the type of person that is almost always smiling, especially when it involves good food. But after one sip of this milkshake, she looks like she’s sucking on a lemon rather than sipping a chocolate shake. She says the poor quality of the ice cream is obvious and the milk to ice cream ratio is just off. Damn it.

11:08am: I silently eat the rest of my burger, clinging onto the only good tasting thing from the meal for dear life. There is an entire order of French fries left untouched, the only time this has ever happened in my life. My friend looks at me forlornly and says, “I feel bad wasting food, but they’re just not even worth the calories.”

11:10am: We silently gather the remaining sad fries and chocolate shake and head towards the garbage. I feel extremely guilty. I throw the fries in the trash and stare at them for a few seconds, consumed by a feeling of betrayal.

Even though the burger had me seeing angels, the crunchy French fries, and the unfortunate taste they left in my mouth tainted my entire In-N-Out experience. As soon as I got back in my car, I found myself daydreaming about my beloved fries from Five Guys, tempted to Google the nearest location and drive there, ready and willing to travel any distance.

Fast Food

In Fight for Best Burger, Five Guys Is Tied With… Burger King?


As far as watercooler talk goes, Five Guys is often in the conversation for best fast food burger, but in a surprising plot twist, Burger King is right there with the Guys.

According to Forbes, 1,157 Americans were polled by YouGov, and both Five Guys and Burger King had the highest ranked burgers, each with 15 percent of the votes. Right behind them was Wendy’s with a 14 percent vote, In-N-Out with 9 percent, and McDonald’s rounded out the top five with 7 percent of the vote.

Burger King is probably ecstatic to hear this as it has had its highs and lows this year. The return of its Chicken Fries was a huge hit, but they also had to pull the plug on their semi-healthy Satisfries that no one liked.

Five Guys hasn’t gone through much change, but has the reputation of offering delicious burgers, so much so that people claim there are addictive drugs in them.

As far as the best fries among the major fast food chains, McDonald’s blew away the competition earning 34 percent of the vote of those surveyed.

It’s still mind-boggling that Burger King would be preferred over an In-N-Out Double Double. I smell some East Coast bias in this survey.

H/T + PicThx Forbes