Fast food can be a quick, easy and cost effective way to feed the whole family. Due to recent bad publicity over nutritional value, most modern fast food chains offer a selection of healthy choices with their menu. Fast food is usually based on traditional dishes, cooked using production line techniques to reduce preparation time and cost.
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American Style Fast Food
American fast food has defined the genre across the globe. Brands such as McDonalds, Subway and Burger King have set the standard for streamlined service at low prices. Food is served mostly in burger variants, most notably the "Whopper" from Burger King and the McDonalds "Big Mac." Both feature a beef quarter pounder with cheese, onions and pickles and are usually served with fries. The Subway franchise differentiates itself from other fast foods by mainly serving sandwiches and offering a production line style service where the customer chooses how the sandwich is made.
The biggest name in Italian style fast food comes from Pizza Hut. The brand is famous for its 'all you can eat' buffet lunches which feature not only pizza, but pasta and salads. Pizza Hut offers a large variety of different pizzas, pastas and salads to suit most tastes. The Pizza Hut brand is part of Yum!Brands, the largest restaurant chain in the world. The Olive Garden serves up a similar blend of traditional Italian fare and boasts a menu developed at its Culinary Institute of Tuscany where it trains its chefs.
Taco Bell is another Yum!Brands enterprise that delivers Mexican style food. Taco Bell has more than 5,800 restaurants in the U.S., serving tacos, burritos, enchiladas and fajitas. The Chipotle Mexican Grill serves a similar menu with a focus on naturally sourced ingredients and use of small, local farm suppliers. Health.com recently listed Chipotle at no. 6 in its list of the healthiest fast food restaurants. However, the average burrito contains 1,000 calories, twice that of a McDonalds Big Mac. The listing was due to Chipotle's commitment to organic and chemical-free foods.
Asian fast food is one of the least healthy choices as most menu options will be fried in oil rather. Asian fast food also frequently contains MSG. Panda Express is the largest chain of Chinese restaurants in America with more than 1,000 sites across the country. They serve meals such as Orange Chicken, Beijing Beef and Kung Pao Chicken. Panda Express aims to pay its employees $1 to $2 per hour more than neighboring restaurants, which they claim ensures greater care and attention to quality and service.