November 16th

National Fast Food Day -

Updated on by

On November 16th every year, we celebrate National Fast Food Day – a day dedicated to paying tribute to one of the most beloved dining customs worldwide, fast food. This day is a tribute to the convenience, unique flavors, and creative nature of fast food establishments.

No matter if you love a mouthwatering burger, a serving of crunchy fries, or a refreshing salad, National Fast Food Day is the time to enjoy these quick-service delights. It’s a day to recognize the significant role this industry plays in shaping global culinary habits and lifestyles.

History of National Fast Food Day

Each year, on November 16th, the United States celebrates National Fast Food Day. This occasion is a tribute to the comfort and convenience provided by various national fast food establishments. While its origins remain unclear, this day is highly popular and acknowledged by many leading fast food chains, who often celebrate with exciting offers and discounts.

To understand the history of National Fast Food Day, we need to delve into the broader history of fast food in America. Fast food, though it has existed in different forms for centuries, began to evolve into its current form in the 20th century.

White Castle, established in 1921, was the pioneer of the modern fast food industry. However, it was in the 1950s when the industry really took off, with brands like McDonald’s and KFC expanding rapidly and acquiring global fame. The introduction of the drive-thru by In-N-Out Burger in 1948 further enhanced the accessibility of fast food.

In American culture, fast food has had considerable influence, from redefining highway scenery to altering eating habits and even becoming embedded in popular culture as a symbol of the American way of life.

National Fast Food Day, therefore, is more than just an acknowledgement of convenient meals. It’s also a recognition of the role these establishments have played in shaping American society as a whole. Across the country, fast food enthusiasts seize this day to indulge in their favorite quick meals, while restaurants often respond to the fervor with exclusive deals and promos.

National Fast Food Day Timeline

Inception of the Modern Fast Food

The first American fast food restaurant, White Castle, is opened in Wichita, Kansas, starting the fast food culture to spread all over America.

Opening of the First McDonald's

Ray Kroc opens the first McDonald's franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois. This later becomes one of the largest fast food chains in the world.

Subway Founded

Fast food takes a healthy turn with the founding of Subway, offering customized sandwiches.

Chipotle Founded

Fast food takes another healthy turn with the founding of Chipotle, offering 'gourmet' fast food.

Rise of the Fast Casual Restaurants

The 2000s see the rise of fast-casual dining experiences like Chipotle and Panera Bread, combining fast food convenience with higher quality food.

National Fast Food Day

People across the nation continue to enjoy various types of fast food, maintaining the industry's relevance in American culture.

Ideas to Celebrate National Fast Food Day

1 faq icon

Fast Food Marathon

Plan a day out with friends where you visit a variety of your favorite fast food joints. Start your day with doughnuts, then go for burgers at lunch, and end with tacos in the evening. It's a fun way to sample various declicacies and support your beloved fast food eateries.

2 faq icon

Create Your Own Fast Food Menu

Invite friends over, each bringing their own homemade version of a fast food dish. You'll end up with a buffet of DIY fast food, hopefully healthier and just as tasty as the originals.

3 faq icon

Fast Food Deal Hunting

To honor National Fast Food Day, many restaurants offer special deals, promotions or freebies. Search and make a list of all the deals you can enjoy in a day.

4 faq icon

Fast Food Movie Marathon

Throw a movie night featuring documentaries or movies about the fast food industry like 'Super Size Me', 'Fast Food Nation' or 'The Founder'. Don’t forget to order fast food for the movie marathon.

5 faq icon

Order From a New Place

In the spirit of National Fast Food Day, try ordering from a fast food restaurant you’ve never tried before. You might discover a new favorite.

6 faq icon

Fast Food Social Media Appreciation

Take some time on social media to highlight your favorite fast-food spots, the best things to order from them, or why you love their food so much, using the hashtag #NationalFastFoodDay.

7 Interesting Facts About Fast Food


The Speedy Service System

The first fast food restaurants in America, White Castle, were founded in 1921. However, it was McDonald's who revolutionized the industry with its 'Speedy Service System' in 1948, focusing on simple burgers made quickly.


An Origin At The Fair

The iconic hamburger, as we know it, reportedly made its debut at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. A vendor named Fletcher Davis is believed to have served the first burger on buns at his stall.


Milkshake Machines and McDonald's

Ray Kroc, who purchased the first McDonald's from Richard and Maurice McDonald and grew it into a massive franchise, originally sold Multi-mixer milkshake machines. He first met the McDonald brothers when they ordered eight of his machines for their San Bernardino location.


Fast Food, Big Numbers

Fast food is big business. As of 2021, the U.S. fast food market is worth approximately $322 billion, with McDonald’s being the highest-grossing chain, followed by Starbucks and Subway.


Chicken McNuggets Craze

When McDonald's first introduced Chicken McNuggets in 1981, they had to ration them due to high demand. There wasn't enough chicken available to meet the demand of all the restaurants.


The Hotdog Controversy

Hot dogs are often associated with America, but they are believed to have been invented in Germany. The term hot dog is credited to sports cartoonist Tad Dorgan, who drew a dachshund dog in a bun during a baseball game. Unable to spell 'dachshund', he wrote 'hot dog' instead and the name stuck.


Subway’s Abundant Stores

Though McDonald's might be synonymous with fast food globally, Subway actually has more restaurants worldwide. Subway boasts over 40,000 locations to McDonald's 37,000.

National Fast Food Day FAQs

Next National Fast Food Day Dates

Year Date Day
2023 November 16th Thursday
2024 November 16th Saturday
2025 November 16th Sunday
2026 November 16th Monday
2027 November 16th Tuesday
What is the pattern? Every November 16th

National Fast Food Day Word Search

  • Burger
  • Pizza
  • Tacos
  • Fries
  • Nuggets
  • Donuts