Fast food
Overview
 
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

 or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away
Take-out
Take-out or takeout , carry-out , take-away , parcel , or tapau , is food purchased at a...

. The term "fast food" was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.

Outlets may be stands or kiosk
Kiosk
Kiosk is a small, separated garden pavilion open on some or all sides. Kiosks were common in Persia, India, Pakistan, and in the Ottoman Empire from the 13th century onward...

s, which may provide no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurant
Fast food restaurant
A fast food restaurant, also known as a Quick Service Restaurant or QSR within the industry itself, is a specific type of restaurant characterized both by its fast food cuisine and by minimal table service...

s (also known as quick service restaurants).
Encyclopedia
Fast food is the term given to food that can be prepared and served very quickly. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered to be fast food, typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant
Restaurant
A restaurant is an establishment which prepares and serves food and drink to customers in return for money. Meals are generally served and eaten on premises, but many restaurants also offer take-out and food delivery services...

 or store with preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away
Take-out
Take-out or takeout , carry-out , take-away , parcel , or tapau , is food purchased at a...

. The term "fast food" was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951.

Outlets may be stands or kiosk
Kiosk
Kiosk is a small, separated garden pavilion open on some or all sides. Kiosks were common in Persia, India, Pakistan, and in the Ottoman Empire from the 13th century onward...

s, which may provide no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurant
Fast food restaurant
A fast food restaurant, also known as a Quick Service Restaurant or QSR within the industry itself, is a specific type of restaurant characterized both by its fast food cuisine and by minimal table service...

s (also known as quick service restaurants). Franchise
Franchising
Franchising is the practice of using another firm's successful business model. The word 'franchise' is of anglo-French derivation - from franc- meaning free, and is used both as a noun and as a verb....

 operations which are part of restaurant chains
Chain store
Chain stores are retail outlets that share a brand and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. These characteristics also apply to chain restaurants and some service-oriented chain businesses. In retail, dining and many service categories, chain businesses...

 have standardized foodstuffs shipped to each restaurant from central locations.

History


The concept of ready-cooked food for sale is closely connected with urban development. In Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 cities had street stands that sold bread and wine.

Pre-modern Europe

In the cities of Roman antiquity, much of the urban population living in insulae
Insulae
In Roman architecture, an insula was a kind of apartment building that housed most of the urban citizen population of ancient Rome, including ordinary people of lower- or middle-class status and all but the wealthiest from the upper-middle class...

, multi-storey apartment blocks, depended on food vendors for much of their meals. In the mornings, bread soaked in wine was eaten as a quick snack and cooked vegetables and stews later in the day at a popina
Popina
The popina was an ancient Roman wine bar, where a limited menu of simple foods and selection of wines of varying quality were available...

, a simple type of eating establishment. In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, large towns and major urban areas such as London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 supported numerous vendors that sold dishes such as pie
Pie
A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry dough casing that covers or completely contains a filling of various sweet or savoury ingredients....

s, pastie
Pastie
A pastie is a large to medium sized round battered pie common to Northern Ireland. It is a peculiarity of Northern Irish cuisine and is rarely if ever seen outside the area...

s, flans
Custard tart
Custard tarts or flans pâtissier are a pastry consisting of an outer pastry crust filled with egg custard and baked.-History:The development of custard is so intimately connected with the custard tart or pie that the word itself comes from the old French croustade, meaning a kind of pie...

, waffle
Waffle
A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used....

s, wafers, pancake
Pancake
A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake prepared from a batter, and cooked on a hot griddle or frying pan. Most pancakes are quick breads; some use a yeast-raised or fermented batter. Most pancakes are cooked one side on a griddle and flipped partway through to cook the other side...

s and cooked meats. As in Roman cities during antiquity, many of these establishments catered to those who did not have means to cook their own food, particularly single households. Unlike richer town dwellers, many often could not afford housing with kitchen facilities and thus relied on fast food. Travellers, as well, such as pilgrim
Pilgrim
A pilgrim is a traveler who is on a journey to a holy place. Typically, this is a physical journeying to some place of special significance to the adherent of a particular religious belief system...

s en route to a holy site
Shrine
A shrine is a holy or sacred place, which is dedicated to a specific deity, ancestor, hero, martyr, saint, daemon or similar figure of awe and respect, at which they are venerated or worshipped. Shrines often contain idols, relics, or other such objects associated with the figure being venerated....

, were among the customers.

United Kingdom

In areas which had access to coast
Coast
A coastline or seashore is the area where land meets the sea or ocean. A precise line that can be called a coastline cannot be determined due to the dynamic nature of tides. The term "coastal zone" can be used instead, which is a spatial zone where interaction of the sea and land processes occurs...

al or tidal waters, 'fast food' would frequently include local shellfish
Shellfish
Shellfish is a culinary and fisheries term for exoskeleton-bearing aquatic invertebrates used as food, including various species of molluscs, crustaceans, and echinoderms. Although most kinds of shellfish are harvested from saltwater environments, some kinds are found only in freshwater...

 or seafood
Seafood
Seafood is any form of marine life regarded as food by humans. Seafoods include fish, molluscs , crustaceans , echinoderms . Edible sea plants, such as some seaweeds and microalgae, are also seafood, and are widely eaten around the world, especially in Asia...

, such as oyster
Oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

s or, as in London, eel
Eel
Eels are an order of fish, which consists of four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera and approximately 800 species. Most eels are predators...

s. Often this seafood would be cooked directly on the quay or close by. The development of trawler fishing in the mid nineteenth century would lead to the development of a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 favourite fish and chips
Fish and chips
Fish and chips is a popular take-away food in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Canada...

, and the first shop in 1860. A blue plaque at Oldham
Oldham
Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies amid the Pennines on elevated ground between the rivers Irk and Medlock, south-southeast of Rochdale, and northeast of the city of Manchester...

's Tommyfield Market marks the origin of the fish and chip shop and fast food industries in Britain.

British fast food had considerable regional variation. Sometimes the regionality of dish became part of the culture of its respective area.

The content of fast food pies has varied, with poultry
Poultry
Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for the purpose of producing eggs, meat, and/or feathers. These most typically are members of the superorder Galloanserae , especially the order Galliformes and the family Anatidae , commonly known as "waterfowl"...

 (such as chicken
Chicken
The chicken is a domesticated fowl, a subspecies of the Red Junglefowl. As one of the most common and widespread domestic animals, and with a population of more than 24 billion in 2003, there are more chickens in the world than any other species of bird...

s) or wildfowl
Anatidae
Anatidae is the biological family of birds that includes ducks, geese and swans. The family has a cosmopolitan distribution, occurring on all the world's continents except Antarctica and on most of the world's islands and island groups...

 commonly being used. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, turkey
Turkey (bird)
A turkey is a large bird in the genus Meleagris. One species, Meleagris gallopavo, commonly known as the Wild Turkey, is native to the forests of North America. The domestic turkey is a descendant of this species...

 has been used more frequently in fast food.
As well as its native cuisine, the UK has adopted fast food from other cultures, such as pizza
Pizza
Pizza is an oven-baked, flat, disc-shaped bread typically topped with a tomato sauce, cheese and various toppings.Originating in Italy, from the Neapolitan cuisine, the dish has become popular in many parts of the world. An establishment that makes and sells pizzas is called a "pizzeria"...

, Chinese noodles
Chinese noodles
Noodles are an essential ingredient and staple in Chinese cuisine. There is a great variety of Chinese noodles, which vary according to their region of production, ingredients, shape or width, and manner of preparation...

, kebab
Kebab
Kebab is a wide variety of meat dishes originating in Middle East and later on adopted by the Middle East, and Asia Minor, and now found worldwide. In English, kebab with no qualification generally refers more specifically to shish kebab served on the skewer...

, and curry
Curry
Curry is a generic description used throughout Western culture to describe a variety of dishes from Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Thai or other Southeast Asian cuisines...

. More recently healthier alternatives to conventional fast food have also emerged.

United States

As automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

s became popular and more affordable following the First World War, drive-in restaurants
Drive-through
A drive-through, or drive-thru, is a type of service provided by a business that allows customers to purchase products without leaving their cars. The format was first pioneered in the United States in the 1930s but has since spread to other countries. The first recorded use of a bank using a drive...

 were introduced. The American company White Castle
White Castle (restaurant)
White Castle is an American regional fast food hamburger restaurant chain in the Midwestern United States and in the New York metropolitan area, and the first of its kind in the US. It is known for its small, square hamburgers. Sometimes referred to as "sliders", the burgers were priced at five...

, founded by Billy Ingram and Walter Anderson in Wichita
Wichita, Kansas
Wichita is the largest city in the U.S. state of Kansas.As of the 2010 census, the city population was 382,368. Located in south-central Kansas on the Arkansas River, Wichita is the county seat of Sedgwick County and the principal city of the Wichita metropolitan area...

, Kansas
Kansas
Kansas is a US state located in the Midwestern United States. It is named after the Kansas River which flows through it, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native American tribe, which inhabited the area. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the wind" or "people of the south...

 in 1921, is generally credited with opening the second fast food outlet and first hamburger
Hamburger
A hamburger is a sandwich consisting of a cooked patty of ground meat usually placed inside a sliced bread roll...

 chain, selling hamburgers for five cents each. Walter Anderson had built the first White Castle restaurant in Wichita in 1916, introducing the limited menu
Menu
In a restaurant, a menu is a presentation of food and beverage offerings. A menu may be a la carte – which guests use to choose from a list of options – or table d'hôte, in which case a pre-established sequence of courses is served....

, high volume, low cost, high speed hamburger restaurant. Among its innovations, the company allowed customers to see the food being prepared. White Castle was successful from its inception and spawned numerous competitors.

Franchising was introduced in 1921 by A&W Root Beer
A&W Root Beer
A&W Root Beer is a brand of root beer, primarily available in the United States and Canada, that was started in 1919 by Roy Allen. In 1922, Allen partnered with Frank Wright. They combined their initials to create the brand "A&W" and inspired a restaurant chain which was founded 1922. The first A&W...

, which franchised its distinctive syrup. Howard Johnson's
Howard Johnson's
Howard Johnson's is a chain of hotels and restaurants, located primarily throughout the United States and Canada. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Howard Johnson's was the largest restaurant chain in the United States, with over 1,000 restaurants...

 first franchised the restaurant concept in the mid-1930s, formally standardizing menus, signage
Signage
Signage is any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience. This is typically manifested in the form of wayfinding information in places such as streets or inside/outside of buildings.-History:...

 and advertising.

Curb service was introduced in the late 1920s and was mobilized in the 1940s when carhop
Carhop
A carhop is a waiter or waitress who brings food to people in their cars at drive-in restaurants. Usually car hops work on foot but sometimes use rollerskates. The popularity of movies such as American Graffiti and shows like Happy Days created a misconception of carhops as exclusively roller...

s strapped on roller skates
Roller skates
Roller skates are devices worn on the feet to enable the wearer to roll along on wheels. A first basic type of roller skate consists of a boot with four wheels with ball bearings, arranged in the same configuration as the wheels of a typical car.-History:...

.

The United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 has the largest fast food industry in the world, and American fast food restaurants are located in over 100 countries. Approximately 2 million U.S. workers are employed in the areas of food preparation and food servicing including fast food in the USA.

On the go

Fast food outlets are take-away or take-out providers, often with a "drive-through" service which allows customers to order and pick up food from their cars; but most also have a seating area in which customers can eat the food on the premises.

Nearly from its inception, fast food has been designed to be eaten "on the go", often does not require traditional cutlery
Cutlery
Cutlery refers to any hand implement used in preparing, serving, and especially eating food in the Western world. It is more usually known as silverware or flatware in the United States, where cutlery can have the more specific meaning of knives and other cutting instruments. This is probably the...

, and is eaten as a finger food
Finger food
Finger food is food meant to be eaten directly using the hands, in contrast to food eaten with a knife and fork, chopsticks, or other utensils. In some cultures, food is almost always eaten with the hands; for example, Ethiopian cuisine is eaten by rolling various dishes up in injera bread. In the...

. Common menu items at fast food outlets include fish and chips, sandwiches, pita
Pita
Pita or pitta is a round pocket bread widely consumed in many Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and Balkan cuisines. It is prevalent in Greece, the Balkans the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula and Turkey. The "pocket" in pita bread is created by steam, which puffs up the dough...

s, hamburgers, fried chicken
Fried chicken
Fried chicken is a dish consisting of chicken pieces usually from broiler chickens which have been floured or battered and then pan fried, deep fried, or pressure fried. The breading adds a crisp coating or crust to the exterior...

, french fries,chicken nugget
Chicken nugget
A chicken nugget is a molded piece of chicken product, breaded or battered, then fried or baked. Fast food restaurants typically deep fry their nuggets in vegetable oil, such as coconut oil....

s, taco
Taco
A taco is a traditional Mexican dish composed of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, chicken, seafood, vegetables and cheese, allowing for great versatility and variety...

s, pizza, hot dogs, and ice cream
Ice cream
Ice cream is a frozen dessert usually made from dairy products, such as milk and cream, and often combined with fruits or other ingredients and flavours. Most varieties contain sugar, although some are made with other sweeteners...

, although many fast food restaurants offer "slower" foods like chili
Chili con carne
Chili con carne is a spicy stew. The name of the dish derives from the Spanish chile con carne, "chili pepper with meat". Traditional versions are made, minimally, from chili peppers, garlic, onions, and cumin, along with chopped or ground beef. Beans and tomatoes are frequently included...

, mashed potato
Mashed potato
Mashed potato is made by mashing freshly boiled potatoes with a ricer, fork, potato masher, food mill, or whipping them with a hand beater. Dehydrated and frozen mashed potatoes are available in many places...

es, and salad
Salad
Salad is any of a wide variety of dishes, including vegetable salads; salads of pasta, legumes, eggs, or grains; mixed salads incorporating meat, poultry, or seafood; and fruit salads. They may include a mixture of cold and hot, often including raw vegetables or fruits.Green salads include leaf...

s.

Filling stations

Many petrol/gas stations
Filling station
A filling station, also known as a fueling station, garage, gasbar , gas station , petrol bunk , petrol pump , petrol garage, petrol kiosk , petrol station "'servo"' in Australia or service station, is a facility which sells fuel and lubricants...

 have convenience store
Convenience store
A convenience store, corner store, corner shop, commonly called a bodega in Spanish-speaking areas of the United States, is a small store or shop in a built up area that stocks a range of everyday items such as groceries, toiletries, alcoholic and soft drinks, and may also offer money order and...

s which sell pre-packaged sandwiches, doughnut
Doughnut
A doughnut or donut is a fried dough food and is popular in many countries and prepared in various forms as a sweet snack that can be homemade or purchased in bakeries, supermarkets, food stalls, and franchised specialty outlets...

s, and hot food. Many gas stations in the United States and Europe also sell frozen food
Frozen food
Freezing food preserves it from the time it is prepared to the time it is eaten. Since early times, farmers, fishermen, and trappers have preserved their game and produce in unheated buildings during the winter season. Freezing food slows down decomposition by turning water to ice, making it...

s and have microwaves
Microwave oven
A microwave oven is a kitchen appliance that heats food by dielectric heating, using microwave radiation to heat polarized molecules within the food...

 on the premises in which to prepare them.

Street vendors and concessions

Traditional street food is available around the world, usually from small operators and independent vendors
Hawker (trade)
A hawker is a vendor of merchandise that can be easily transported; the term is roughly synonymous with peddler or costermonger. In most places where the term is used, a hawker sells items or food that are native to the area...

 operating from a cart, table, portable grill or motor vehicle. Common examples include Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

ese noodle vendors, Middle Eastern falafel stands, New York City hot dog cart
Hot dog cart
A hot dog cart is a specialized mobile food stand for preparing and selling street food, specifically hot dogs, to passersby. A cart operator must meet stringent health regulations designed to protect the public from food poisoning or food borne illnesses. Hot dog carts are quick and easy food...

s, and taco trucks
Food truck
A food truck, mobile kitchen, mobile canteen, or catering truck is a mobile venue that sells food. Some, including ice cream trucks, sell mostly frozen or prepackaged food; others are more like restaurants-on-wheels...

. Turo-Turo vendors (Tagalog
Tagalog language
Tagalog is an Austronesian language spoken as a first language by a third of the population of the Philippines and as a second language by most of the rest. It is the first language of the Philippine region IV and of Metro Manila...

 for point point) are a feature of Philippine
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

 life. Commonly, street vendors provide a colorful and varying range of options designed to quickly captivate passers-by and attract as much attention as possible.

Depending on the locale, multiple street vendors may specialize in specific types of food characteristic of a given cultural or ethnic tradition. In some cultures, it is typical for street vendors to call out prices, sing or chant sales-pitches, play music, or engage in other forms of "street theatrics
Street theatre
Street theatre is a form of theatrical performance and presentation in outdoor public spaces without a specific paying audience. These spaces can be anywhere, including shopping centres, car parks, recreational reserves and street corners. They are especially seen in outdoor spaces where there are...

" in order to engage prospective customers. In some cases, this can garner more attention than the food itself; some vendors represent another form of tourist attraction
Tourist attraction
A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, or amusement opportunities....

.

Cuisine

Modern commercial fast food is often highly processed and prepared in an industrial fashion, i.e., on a large scale with standard ingredients and standardized cooking and production methods. It is usually rapidly served in cartons or bags or in a plastic wrapping, in a fashion which minimizes cost. In most fast food operations, menu items are generally made from processed ingredients
Food processing
Food processing is the set of methods and techniques used to transform raw ingredients into food or to transform food into other forms for consumption by humans or animals either in the home or by the food processing industry...

 prepared at a central supply facility and then shipped to individual outlets where they are reheated, cooked (usually by microwave or deep frying
Deep frying
Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in hot oil or fat. This is normally performed with a deep fryer or chip pan; industrially, a pressure fryer or vacuum fryer may be used....

) or assembled in a short amount of time. This process ensures a consistent level of product quality, and is key to being able to deliver the order quickly to the customer and eliminate labor and equipment costs in the individual stores.

Because of commercial emphasis on speed, uniformity and low cost, fast food products are often made with ingredients formulated to achieve a certain flavor or consistency and to preserve freshness.

Variants

Although fast food often brings to mind traditional American fast food such as hamburgers and fries, there are many other forms of fast food that enjoy widespread popularity in the West
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

.

Chinese takeaways/takeout restaurants are particularly popular. They normally offer a wide variety of Asian food
Asian cuisine
Asian cuisine styles can be broken down into several tiny regional styles that have roots in the peoples and cultures of those regions. The major types can be roughly defined as East Asian with its origins in Imperial China and now encompassing modern Japan and the Korean peninsula; Southeast Asian...

 (not always Chinese), which has normally been fried. Most options are some form of noodles, rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, or meat
Meat
Meat is animal flesh that is used as food. Most often, this means the skeletal muscle and associated fat and other tissues, but it may also describe other edible tissues such as organs and offal...

. In some cases, the food is presented as a smörgåsbord
Smörgåsbord
Smörgåsbord is a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet-style with multiple dishes of various foods on a table, originating in Sweden. In Norway it is called koldtbord, in Denmark it is called det kolde bord, in Finland seisova pöytä and in Estonia rootsi laud...

, sometimes self service. The customer chooses the size of the container they wish to buy, and then is free to fill it with their choice of food. It is common to combine several options in one container, and some outlets charge by weight rather than by item. Many of these restaurants offer free delivery for purchases over a minimum amount.
Sushi
Sushi
is a Japanese food consisting of cooked vinegared rice combined with other ingredients . Neta and forms of sushi presentation vary, but the ingredient which all sushi have in common is shari...

 has seen rapidly rising popularity in recent times . A form of fast food created in Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

 (where bentō
Bento
is a single-portion takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware...

 is the Japanese equivalent of fast food), sushi is normally cold sticky rice flavored with a sweet rice vinegar
Rice vinegar
Rice vinegar is a vinegar made from fermented rice or rice wine in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.-Chinese:Chinese rice vinegars are stronger than Japanese ones, and range in colour from clear to various shades of red and brown...

 and served with some topping (often fish
Fish (food)
Fish is a food consumed by many species, including humans. The word "fish" refers to both the animal and to the food prepared from it. Fish has been an important source of protein for humans throughout recorded history.-Terminology:...

), or, as in the most popular kind in the West, rolled in nori
Nori
is the Japanese name for various edible seaweed species of the red alga Porphyra including most notably P. yezoensis and P. tenera, sometimes called laver. Finished products are made by a shredding and rack-drying process that resembles papermaking...

 (dried laver
Laver (seaweed)
Laver is an edible algae often considered to be a seaweed that has a high mineral salt content, particularly iodine and iron. It is used for making laverbread, a traditional Welsh dish. Laver is common around the west coast of Britain and east coast of Ireland along the Irish Sea.It is smooth and...

) with filling. The filling often includes fish, chicken or cucumber
Cucumber
The cucumber is a widely cultivated plant in the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, which includes squash, and in the same genus as the muskmelon. The plant is a creeping vine which bears cylindrical edible fruit when ripe. There are three main varieties of cucumber: "slicing", "pickling", and...

.

Pizza is a common fast food category in the United States, with chains such as Papa John's, Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza
Domino's Pizza, Inc. is an international pizza delivery corporation headquartered in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States of America. Founded in 1960, Domino's is the second-largest pizza chain in the United States and has over 9,000 corporate and franchised stores in 60 countries and all 50 U.S....

, Sbarro
Sbarro
Sbarro is a bankrupt chain of pizza restaurants that specializes in traditional Italian cuisine, including its most popular menu item "pizza by the slice." Its headquarters is located in Melville, Huntington, New York.- History :...

 and Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut
Pizza Hut is an American restaurant chain and international franchise that offers different styles of pizza along with side dishes including pasta, buffalo wings, breadsticks, and garlic bread....

. Menus are more limited and standardized than in traditional pizzerias, and pizza delivery
Pizza delivery
Pizza delivery is a service in which a pizzeria delivers a pizza to a customer. Delivery is normally made with an automobile, motor scooter, or bicycle.- Ordering :...

, often with a time commitment, is offered.

Kebab houses are a form of fast food restaurant from the Middle East, especially Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

. Meat is shaven from a rotisserie
Rotisserie
Rotisserie is a style of roasting where meat is skewered on a spit - a long solid rod used to hold food while it is being cooked over a fire in a fireplace or over a campfire, or roasted in an oven. This method is generally used for cooking large joints of meat or entire animals, such as pigs,...

, and is served on a warmed flatbread with salad and a choice of sauce and dressing. These doner kebabs
Döner kebab
Doner kebab is a dish made of roasted meat cooked on a vertical spit. It is also known regionally as gyro , shawarma, and al pastor . It consists of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or mixed meats roasted on a spit. Less common alternatives include fish and sausage...

 or shawarma
Shawarma
Shawarma is a Levantine Arab sandwich-like wrap of shaved lamb, goat, chicken, turkey, beef, or mixed meats. The meat is placed on a spit, and may be grilled for as long as a day. It is eaten with pita bread, tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus,...

s are distinct from shish kebabs served on sticks. Kebab shops are also found throughout the world, especially Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 and Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 but they generally are less common in the US.
Fish and chip shops are a form of fast food popular in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. Fish is battered and then deep fried.

The Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 have their own types of fast food. A Dutch fast food meal often consists of a portion of french fries (called friet or patat) with a sauce and a meat product. The most common sauce to accompany french fries is mayonnaise
Mayonnaise
Mayonnaise, , often abbreviated as mayo, is a sauce. It is a stable emulsion of oil, egg yolk and either vinegar or lemon juice, with many options for embellishment with other herbs and spices. Lecithin in the egg yolk is the emulsifier. Mayonnaise varies in color but is often white, cream, or pale...

, while others can be ketchup
Ketchup
Ketchup is a sweet-and-tangy condiment typically made from tomatoes, vinegar, sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and an assortment of...

 or spiced ketchup, peanut sauce
Peanut sauce
Peanut sauce, satay sauce, bumbu kacang, or sambal kacang is a sauce widely used in the cuisines of Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, China and Africa. It is also used, to a lesser extent, in European and Middle Eastern cuisine.-Ingredients:The main ingredient is ground roasted peanuts, for...

 or piccalilli
Piccalilli
Piccalilli is a British relish of chopped pickled vegetables and spices; regional recipes vary considerably. A more finely chopped variety "sandwich piccalilli" is also available from major British supermarkets.-Etymology:...

. Sometimes the fries are served with combinations of sauces, most famously speciaal (special): mayonnaise, with (spiced) ketchup and chopped onion
Onion
The onion , also known as the bulb onion, common onion and garden onion, is the most widely cultivated species of the genus Allium. The genus Allium also contains a number of other species variously referred to as onions and cultivated for food, such as the Japanese bunching onion The onion...

s; and oorlog (literally "war"): mayonnaise and peanut sauce (sometimes also with ketchup and chopped onions). The meat product is usually a deep fried snack; this includes the frikandel
Frikandel
A frikandel is a Dutch snack, a sort of minced-meat hot dog,developed either in 1954 or in 1958/1959 in the Netherlands, depending on the source.-Overview:...

 (a deep fried skinless minced meat
Ground meat
Ground meat is meat finely chopped by a meat grinder or a chopping knife. It is called minced meat or more usually mince outside North America....

 sausage
Sausage
A sausage is a food usually made from ground meat , mixed with salt, herbs, and other spices, although vegetarian sausages are available. The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted.Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made...

), and the kroket
Croquette
A croquette is a small fried food roll containing, usually as main ingredients, mashed potatoes, and/or ground meat , shellfish, fish, vegetables, and soaked white bread, egg, onion, spices and herbs, wine, milk, beer or any of the combination thereof, sometimes with a filling, often encased in...

 (deep fried meat ragout
Ragout
-Etymology:The term comes from the French ragoûter, to revive the taste. The etymologically related Italian ragù is a sauce such as Bolognese used typically to dress pasta.-Preparation:...

 covered in breadcrumb
Breadcrumb
Breadcrumbs or bread crumbs are small particles of dry bread, which are used for breading or crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening stews, and adding inexpensive bulk to meatloaves and similar foods. They are documented in cookbooks as early as 1716...

s).

In Portugal, there are some varieties of local fast-food and restaurants specialized in this type of local cuisine. Some of the most popular foods include frango assado (Piri-piri grilled chicken previously marinated), francesinha
Francesinha
Francesinha is a Portuguese sandwich originally from Porto, made with bread, wet-cured ham, linguiça, fresh sausage like chipolata, steak or roast meat and covered with molten cheese and a hot thick tomato and beer sauce served with french fries.- History :It is said that the Francesinha was an...

, francesinha poveira
Francesinha poveira
Francesinha poveira, or simply francesinha, is a fast food from Póvoa de Varzim in Portugal. It resembles a hot dog only in shape, but the sandwish is made up with linguiça , fiambre , cheese and mustard in Pão Cacete or Pão de Francesinha, a bread that could be described as midway between a...

, espetada
Espetada
The Espetada is a typical Portuguese dish made usually of large chunks of beef rubbed in garlic and salt, skewered onto a bay leaf stick with vegetables such as onions and bell peppers and left to grill over smouldering wood chips...

 (turkey or pork meat on two sticks) and bifanas (pork cutlets in a specific sauce served as a sandwich). This type of food is also often served with french fries (called batatas fritas), some international chains started appearing specialized in some of the typical Portuguese fast food such as Nando's
Nando's
Nando's is a casual dining restaurant group originating from South Africa with a Portuguese/Mozambican theme. Founded in 1987, Nando's operates in thirty countries on five continents....

.

A fixture of East Asia
East Asia
East Asia or Eastern Asia is a subregion of Asia that can be defined in either geographical or cultural terms...

n cities is the noodle
Noodle
The noodle is a type of food, made from any of a variety of doughs, formed into long thin ribbons, strips, curly-cues, waves, helices, pipes, tubes, strings, or other various shapes, sometimes folded. They are usually cooked in a mixture of boiling water and/or oil. Depending upon the type, noodles...

 shop. Flatbread
Flatbread
A flatbread is a simple bread made with flour, water, and salt and then thoroughly rolled into flattened dough. Many flatbreads are unleavened: made without yeast or sourdough culture: although some flatbread is made with yeast, such as pita bread....

 and falafel
Falafel
Falafel is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans. Falafel is usually served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa. The falafel balls are topped with salads, pickled vegetables, hot sauce, and drizzled with tahini-based sauces...

 are today ubiquitous in the Middle East
Middle East
The Middle East is a region that encompasses Western Asia and Northern Africa. It is often used as a synonym for Near East, in opposition to Far East...

. Popular India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

n fast food dishes include vada pav
Vada pav
Vada pav , sometimes spelled wada pav, is a popular vegetarian fast food dish native to the Indian state of Maharashtra. It consists of a batata vada sandwiched between 2 slices of a pav. The compound word batata vada refers in Marathi to a vada made out of batata, the latter referring to a potato...

, panipuri
Panipuri
The golgappa also known as panipuri पानीपूरी, , pani ke pataashe, pāṇīpurī, pāṇī purī, term used in Western India, phuchka , or gup chup is a popular street snack in India. It is a round, hollow puri, fried crisp and filled with a mixture of water, tamarind, chili, chaat masala, potato, onion...

 and dahi vada
Dahi vada
Dahi vada is an Indian chaat, prepared by soaking vadas in thick yogurt ....

. In the French-speaking nations of West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

, roadside stands
Street food
Street food is ready-to-eat food or drink sold in a street or other public place, such as a market or fair, by a hawker or vendor, often from a portable stall. While some street foods are regional, many are not, having spread beyond their region of origin. Most street food are both finger and fast...

 in and around the larger cities continue to sell—as they have done for generations—a range of ready-to-eat, char-grilled meat sticks known locally as brochette
Brochette
In cooking, en brochette refers to food cooked, and sometimes served, on brochettes, or skewers. The French term generally applies to French cuisine, while other terms like shish kebab, satay, or souvlaki describe the same technique in other cuisines...

s
(not to be confused with the bread snack
Snack food
A snack is a portion of food oftentimes smaller than that of a regular meal, that is generally eaten between meals. Snacks come in a variety of forms including packaged and processed foods and items made from fresh ingredients at home....

 of the same name found in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

).

Business

In the United States alone, consumers spent about US$110 billion on fast food in 2000 (which increased from US$6 billion in 1970). The National Restaurant Association
National Restaurant Association
thumb|National Restaurant Association logoThe National Restaurant Association is a restaurant industry business association in the United States, representing more than 380,000 restaurant locations. It also operates the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation...

 forecasted that fast food restaurants in the U.S. would reach US$142 billion in sales in 2006, a 5% increase over 2005. In comparison, the full-service restaurant segment of the food industry is expected to generate $173 billion in sales. Fast food has been losing market share
Market share
Market share is the percentage of a market accounted for by a specific entity. In a survey of nearly 200 senior marketing managers, 67 percent responded that they found the "dollar market share" metric very useful, while 61% found "unit market share" very useful.Marketers need to be able to...

 to fast casual dining restaurants, which offer more robust and expensive cuisine
Cuisine
Cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific culture. Cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from...

s.

Employment

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 2.7 million U.S. workers are employed in food preparation and serving (including fast food) as of 2008. The BLS's projected job outlook expects average growth and excellent opportunity as a result of high turnover. However, in April 2011, McDonald's hired approximately 62,000 new workers and received a million applications for these positions—an acceptance rate of only 6.2%.

Some analysts, such as Martin Ford, author of The Lights in the Tunnel: Automation, Accelerating Technology and the Economy of the Future, argue that the fast food industry will be succeptible to increased automation, and that this will reduce employment and/or job creation in the industry.

Globalization

In 2006, the global fast food market grew by 4.8% and reached a value of 102.4 billion and a volume of 80.3 billion transactions. In India alone the fast food industry is growing by 41% a year.

McDonald's
McDonald's
McDonald's Corporation is the world's largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940 as a barbecue restaurant operated by the eponymous Richard and Maurice McDonald; in 1948...

 is located in 126 countries and on 6 continents and operates over 31,000 restaurants worldwide. On January 31, 1990 McDonald’s opened a restaurant in Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, and broke opening day records for customers served. The Moscow restaurant is the busiest in the world. The largest McDonald’s in the world is located in Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

, USA

There are numerous other fast food restaurants located all over the world. Burger King
Burger King
Burger King, often abbreviated as BK, is a global chain of hamburger fast food restaurants headquartered in unincorporated Miami-Dade County, Florida, United States. The company began in 1953 as Insta-Burger King, a Jacksonville, Florida-based restaurant chain...

 has more than 11,100 restaurants in more than 65 countries. KFC
KFC
KFC, founded and also known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, is a chain of fast food restaurants based in Louisville, Kentucky, in the United States. KFC has been a brand and operating segment, termed a concept of Yum! Brands since 1997 when that company was spun off from PepsiCo as Tricon Global...

 is located in 25 countries. Subway
Subway (restaurant)
Subway is an American restaurant franchise that primarily sells submarine sandwiches and salads. It is owned and operated by Doctor's Associates, Inc. . Subway is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with 35,519 restaurants in 98 countries and territories as of October 25th, 2011...

 is one of the fastest growing franchises in the world with approximately 39,129 restaurants in 90 countries as of May 2009, the first non-US location opening in December 1984 in Bahrain
Bahrain
' , officially the Kingdom of Bahrain , is a small island state near the western shores of the Persian Gulf. It is ruled by the Al Khalifa royal family. The population in 2010 stood at 1,214,705, including 235,108 non-nationals. Formerly an emirate, Bahrain was declared a kingdom in 2002.Bahrain is...

. Pizza Hut is located in 97 countries, with 100 locations in China. Taco Bell
Taco Bell
Taco Bell is an American chain of fast-food restaurants based in Irvine, California. A subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., which serves American-adapted Mexican food. Taco Bell serves tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, other specialty items, and a variety of "Value Menu" items...

 has 278 restaurants located in 14
countries besides the United States.

Criticism

Fast food chains have come under criticism over concerns ranging from claimed negative health effects, alleged animal cruelty, cases of worker exploitation, and claims of cultural degradation via shifts in people's eating patterns away from traditional foods.

See also

  • Food groups
    Food groups
    A food group is a collection of foods that share similar nutritional properties or biological classifications. Nutrition guides typically divide foods into food groups and recommend daily servings of each group for a healthy diet.-Common food groups:...

  • Fast Food Nation
    Fast Food Nation
    Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal is a book by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry....

  • Junk food
    Junk food
    Junk food is an informal term applied to some foods that are perceived to have little or no nutritional value ; to products with nutritional value, but which also have ingredients considered unhealthy when regularly eaten; or to those considered unhealthy to consume at all...

  • Panic Nation
    Panic Nation
    Panic Nation is a nonfiction book by Stanley Feldman and Vincent Marks. It was published by John Blake in 2006 . The tagline and theme of the book is "Exposing the myths we're told about food and health".-Overview:...

  • Super Size Me
    Super Size Me
    Super Size Me is a 2004 American documentary film directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker. Spurlock's film follows a 30-day period from February 1 to March 2, 2003 during which he eats only McDonald's food...

  • Western pattern diet
    Western pattern diet
    The Western pattern diet, also called Western dietary pattern or the meat-sweet diet, is a dietary habit chosen by many people in developed countries, and increasingly in developing countries. It is characterized by high intakes of red meat, sugary desserts, high-fat foods, and refined grains...

  • Chew on This
    Chew on This
    Chew On This: Everything You Don't Want to Know about Fast Food is an adaptation of Fast Food Nation for younger readers by Eric Schlosser and Charles Wilson.- Plot summary:...

  • List of fast food restaurants
  • Slow Food
    Slow Food
    Slow Food is an international movement founded by Carlo Petrini in 1986. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of...

  • Health food restaurant
    Health food restaurant
    Health food restaurants have been around for decades serving nutritional food to the public. Health food is defined by Dictionary.com as any natural food popularly believed to promote or sustain good health, as by containing vital nutrients, being grown without the use of pesticides, or having a...

    s


External links

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