The Oldest
Fast-Food Chains in America

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1965: Subway and Domino's

Due to inexpensive franchising and operating costs, Subway is omnipresent. Pete's Subway was created in 1965, but its success remained uncertain.

1964: Arby's

In 1964, the Raffel Brothers launched the first Arby's in Ohio. Arby's is a pun on the first two letters of "Raffel Brothers," not an acronym of roast beef.

1962: Taco Bell

Glen William Bell, Taco Bell's founder, has European heritage. Bell liked Mexican food, opening Taco Tia in the 1950s.

1959 – Little Caesars

Pizza! Mike Ilitch and Marian Bayoff met on a blind date and married months later. The first restaurant debuted in Garden City, Michigan, in 1959.

1958: Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut was founded in Wichita, Kansas, in 1958. The founders, brothers Dan and Frank Carney, could only fit eight letters on the restaurant's sign.

1953: Sonic and Burger King

Fast-food businesses were born in 1953. In 1988, Shawnee, Oklahoma opened the first Sonic Drive-In.

1951: Jack in the Box

Robert Peterson was a successful restaurateur when he founded the first Jack in the Box in 1951. It became one of America's largest fast-food chains.

1950: Whataburger

Harmon Dobson wanted to design a burger so enormous that customers would remark, "What a burger!" In Corpus Christie, Texas, the first Whataburger opened.

1948: Dunkin' Donuts and In-N-Out

Two successful chains started on opposing coastlines. In Quincy, Massachusetts, Dunkin' Donuts, then named Open Kettle, opened.

1946: Chick-fil-A

Chick-fil-A is one of America's most loved and reviled fast-food chains. Some can't obtain enough food, while others won't try it due to politics.

1940: McDonald's and Dairy Queen

McDonald's has more than 39,000 outlets worldwide, yet it's not the oldest fast-food chain. Richard and Maurice McDonald launched it in 1940.

1930: KFC

The Colonel, Harland Sanders, began selling fried chicken to hungry drivers in 1930. 

1921: White Castle

Harold and Kumar weren't the first to visit White Castle. This fast-food company was formed in 1921.

1919: A&W

Specific individuals may not realise A&W is a restaurant franchise due to its lack of presence in some places. A&W root beer is widely available canned or bottled.

1916: Nathan's Famous

Coney Island's hot dogs are famous. This store helped. Or 'dog'? Nathan Handwerker began Nathan's Famous as a hot dog cart in 1916.

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