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Fast-food restaurant
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Fast-food restaurant

A fast-food restaurant is a restaurant characterized by food which is supplied quickly after ordering and by minimal service. Food purchased may or may not be eaten quickly as well. Often this food is referred to fast food. In the past five years, the industry has been trying to move the public away from the term "fast food", and now prefers the term "quick service restaurant" (QSR for short).

The food in these restaurants is commonly cooked in bulk in advance and kept hot, or reheated to order. Many fast-food restaurants are part of restaurant chains or franchise operations, which ship standardized foodstuffs to the individual restaurants from central locations. There are also simpler fast-food outlets, such as stands or kiosks, which might or might not provide shelter or chairs for customers (for the UK, see also below).

Because the capital requirements to start a fast-food restaurant are relatively low, particularly in areas with non-existent or little enforced health codes, small individually owned fast food restaurants are common throughout the world.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 Modern fast-food restaurants
3 Fictional
4 Fast-food chains which have disappeared
5 Corporations
6 See also

Overview

Within the United States, fast food restaurants have been losing market share to so-called fast casual restaurants which offer somewhat better and more expensive foods. In 2002, the McDonald's Corporation posted its first quarterly loss.

Because of this reliance on monoculture, on foodstuffs purchased on global commodity markets and on its displacement of local eating habits, the fast-food industry is seen by many as destroying local styles of cuisine. It is often a focus of resistance (e.g., José Bové's bulldozing a McDonald's which made him a folk hero in France, or the "McShit" campaign in the UK).

For all these reasons, the Slow Food movement seeks to preserve local cuisines and ingredients, and directly opposes laws and habits that favor fast-food choices. Among other things, it strives to educate consumers' palates to prefer the richer and more varied local tastes of fresh ingredients harvested in season.

Although fast-food restaurants are often seen as a mark of modern technological culture, they are probably as old as cities themselves, with the style varying from culture to culture. Ancient Roman cities had bread-and-olive stands, East Asian cultures feature noodle shops, flat bread and falafel are characteristic of the Middle East.

In the United Kingdom, while fast-food restaurant chains are now common, the British tradition of take-away foods such as fish and chips and steak and kidney pie with mash (mashed potato) remain popular. Towards the end of the 20th century, these have been joined by take-away outlets selling ethnic or pseudo-ethnic foods such as italian, chinese and indian. For more on foods in the UK, see British cuisine.

Modern fast-food restaurants

Australia

Brazil

Canada

China

Denmark

Finland

France

The French generally do not go to fast-food restaurants for quick meals, but often buy take-away food from bakeries.

Germany

Greece

Hong Kong

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Japan

Spain

Sweden

United Kingdom

United States

Fictional

Fast-food chains which have disappeared

Corporations

See also