12 Surprising Facts About Your Favorite Fast Food Brands

Brightly colored, ever available, satisfyingly greasy. The comfort of a familiar, friendly fast food joint is uncontested. 

Most Americans know the famed yellow arches of a McDonald’s or the vivid green color of a Starbucks kiosk. And while a palm-sized cup of fresh french fries might not alter your perceptions of well-known fast food brands, these surprising facts just might.

1. The First Big Mac Sold for Just 45 Cents

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It might seem outrageous for a burger to sell so cheaply, but in 1968, 45 cents was all it took to purchase McDonald’s newest creation. 

Not a Bad Deal

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Adjusted for inflation, a Big Mac would now cost just $3.94 today, compared to its current average cost of $5.58.

2. Dunkin’ Is Selling Faster Than You Can Blink

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The franchise has been open for business since the 1940s, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. In 2017, Dunkin’, then called Dunkin’ Donuts, sold about two billion coffees. That’s 60 cups of coffee each second!

Good Coffee Good Donuts

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The achievement is notable for a donut shop that has been in action for over 75 years. Formerly known as Open Kettle, the original Dunkin’ store in Quincy, Massachusetts, is still in business today. 

3. The Name’ Five Guys’ Came From Family Roots

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With almost 2,000 restaurants, it’s surprising that Five Guys originated from humble beginnings. It was 1986 when Jerry and his wife Janie Murrell turned to their four sons and told them to “start a business or go to college.”

Four Became Five

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The boys used their college tuition to attend to the former suggestion. A fifth son was born, and they became the “five guys.” And, as they say, the rest is history. 

4. Chick-fil-A is Always Closed on Sunday

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Having one day of rest is an important value for Chick-fil-A restaurants, so they close their doors on Sundays. According to the official website, employees need time to be with their loved ones and worship if they wish. Choosing principles over profit!

5. Starbucks Didn’t Sell Hot Coffee…for 12 Years!

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Primarily known for its wide selection of freshly made drinks, it seems absurd that Starbucks’ offering could differ from what we know it to be.

Yet in 1971, the brand opened its first store selling only bulk coffee beans, tea leaves, spices, and other household items.

A Gut Instinct to Do Things Differently

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Fresh coffee wasn’t in the picture until, in 1983, new hire Howard Schultz attended a buying trip in Milan, Italy. Inspired by the European culture of cafes, Shultz returned to America with a new concept in mind. 

6. Subway Sold Over 300 Sandwiches on Day One

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17-year-old Fred DeLuca and his family friend Dr. Peter Buck created the world-famous business. Their first store, ‘Pete’s Super Submarines,’ opened in 1965 in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and its success was clear from the start.

Sandwiches Galore

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Each sandwich cost between 49 and 69 cents, and they were a hit. In fact, on the first day of their operations alone, they sold 312.

7. 1 in 8 Americans Worked in McDonalds

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McDonalds has hired a significant number of workers over the years. Interestingly, 1 in 8 Americans have worked at a McDonald’s at one point or another. The number of restaurants globally has also continued to rise, with more than 40,000 restaurants in over 120 countries.

8. KFC started as a Petrol Station

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Harland Sanders – later known as Colonel Sanders – owned a small petrol station near Corbin, Kentucky, in the 1930s. Sanders began to serve his trademark fried chicken to customers to boost business. 

Finger-Lickin’ Good

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Demand grew for the chicken, and eventually, Sanders scrapped the whole petrol station, transforming it into a 142-seat restaurant called ‘Sanders’ Court & Cafe.’ Twenty years later, KFC was franchised, and it continued to grow into one of the world’s largest takeaway venues.

9. Most Franchisees Started Their Career With Dominos as Hourly Workers

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Dominos boasts over 700 independent franchises, impressively contributing to the average of three million pizzas sold daily. 

Learning the Trade Early

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Of their franchisees, Dominos says that 95 percent were initially delivery drivers, pizza makers, or workers on an hourly wage. How’s that for a step up?!

10. The Royals Have Ties to McDonald’s

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The Crown Estate manages properties on the land owned by the British Crown. This estate owns the McDonalds in a Banbury Gateway Shopping Park in the U.K. Though the royals have little involvement in these privately-owned properties, it was once considered a part of Queen Elizabeth II’s empire and now belongs to King Charles. We guess McDonald’s is fit for a king!

11. Taco Bell Was Originally About the ‘Experience’

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In a Restaurant Spaces video, Taco Bell Vice President of Development and Design Deborah Brand described the original Californian Taco Bell store, painting a very colorful picture.

Refusing to Follow the Trend

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“There was a whole theatre around presenting the brand in this irreverent way,” she said, explaining that there would be mariachi bands and live chickens running loose on weekends. 

12. Burger King Was Forced to Change Its Name in Australia

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Though the Burger King brand was established in the United States in 1953, it was many years before it grew enough to franchise across the ocean into southern soil.

The Name Was Already Taken

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In 1971, franchisee Jack Cowin set about introducing his new store in Perth. He chose to name his restaurant ‘Hungry Jacks,’ as the name Burger King had already been trademarked by another brand in Australia.

Hungry Jacks Becomes Popular

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Though Burger King USA eventually bought the Australian trademark for Burger King, Hungry Jacks had already made its mark. This made it impossible for Burger King Australia to ever truly get off the ground.


Author: Caitriona Maria

Title: Freelance Writer

Expertise: Education, teaching language, online learning, travel


Caitriona Maria is an education writer and founder of TPR Teaching, crafting inspiring pieces that promote the importance of developing new skills. For 7 years, she has been committed to providing students with the best learning opportunities possible, both domestically and abroad. Dedicated to unlocking students' potential, Caitriona has taught English in several countries and continues to explore new cultures through her travels.