Fast-food chains are the go-to spots for quick bites for most of us. If we ever find ourselves peckish while on the road, there’s a good chance that we’ll find ourselves on a drive-thru after a while instead of stopping and going inside a sit-down restaurant. The fact that they serve food quickly and that their prices are very friendly (source) also help.
However, sometimes you feel like you deserve more than quick, cheap, and easily available food. This is why more and more brands are promising to be better than the rest.
We’re not talking about fast-casual chains here, though. These fancier forms of fast food chains are nice and all but they’re not fast food. They serve it quickly but they can already be pricey and a bit intimidating for the regular Joe. What we want to shed the spotlight on are the actual chains that work hard to provide better nourishment to their patrons.
It might not seem like it but there are chains that are committed to giving their diners more than what regular chains have to offer. They still make sure to keep their nourishment affordable and quick while adding a bit of extra in the mix.
What are these brands, you might be wondering? Here are a few that you should take note of.
1. Ruby Tuesday
Some might argue that Ruby Tuesday isn’t exactly a chain but we beg to disagree. Sure, it has sit-down restaurant service, all-day happy hour promotions, fresh salad bar, and homey interiors but with the price per portion of their meals, they can be qualified as a chain.
With all of these said, it’s easy to see how Ruby Tuesday can offer an elevated experience to diners. It’s just that it doesn’t really feel like a chain when you step in any of their locations.
What to get: salads, hamburgers, chicken dishes
2. Panera Bread
Like Ruby Tuesday, Panera Bread is also not your regular chain for many reasons. Its homeyness is at the top of the list as it has this cafe/bakeshop vibe that wouldn’t make you feel rushed. It’s also not very casual so it has a very different feel to regular chains.
Panera Bread’s menu is also quite different from the most traditional and popular chains today, so it also helps in giving it a different feel altogether. The meal will still come to you in minutes so you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of time to grab a bite.
What to get: Steak sandwich, modern Greek salad with quinoa, Bacon and Tomato Grilled Cheese, Caprese
3. Raising Cane’s
How can a chicken tenders place offer an elevated fast-food dining experience when it offers the staple kid-friendly meals and not much else? You might be surprised that this chain is listed here but it certainly deserves a spot thanks to its great and high-quality meals.
Since Raising Cane’s is committed to providing the highest-quality chicken fingers today, they make sure to only use high-grade and fresh ingredients. They use 100% real chicken, so you can rest assured that you won’t be eating anything artificial here. Their chicken is also never frozen and fried fresh upon ordering so they’re generally better than what many other competitors offer.
The other sides and drinks available at Raising Cane’s are made fresh in stores daily. Not a lot of other fast food chains can say the same about their food, so this gives this chain a leg up in the competition.
What to get: Chicken Fingers, Crinkle-cut Fries, Sweet Tea
For lots of folks, Chipotle is the face of elevated dining experience since their food is well-known to be fresh. Eating healthy is also easy to do here without sacrificing the flavor that people love in Tex-Mex meals.
While it is technically considered as a fast-casual place, the fact that you have to line up for your meal makes it feel like your traditional chain. The lines are no joke, too, since they can get quite long during the lunch and dinner rush hours.
What to get: Crispy tacos, Carnitas burrito, Barbacoa burrito
This list wouldn’t be complete without In-N-Out. This chain has reigned supreme in the fast food game for its high-quality food without slacking off in the quick-service category.
What sets it apart and makes its food fantastic, is the fact that they’re the next thing to burgers made from scratch. The patties are never frozen and have gone through intense quality control. The add-ons are prepared fresh in stores daily. And aside from the mustard and ketchup, they don’t really serve anything pre-packaged. With these, their burgers are easy to compare to what many notable restaurants serve.
What to get: Double-double, fries, Animal-style burger of your choice
If you’ll look at them closely, the main thing in common about these places is their quality. They may be d chains but their meals aren’t made of foodstuff or artificial ingredients like what is common with some popular chains. We’re so used to eating processed foods for quick and cheap chow that chains that use real ingredients are already quite notable.