The Fast Food Restaurant 27% People Would Eat If They Could Only Choose One

Fast food is a staple for many of us: whether it's what you grab on the go during a busy day, comfort food you treat yourself with, or what you turn to when you're hungover and craving something greasy and cheesy. Regardless of why you eat it, there's no denying that Americans as a whole hit the drive-thru pretty regularly. In a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the agency reported that over 1/3 of adults in the U.S. (36.6 percent, to be exact) consume fast food on any given day.

But which of the many fast food restaurants scattered across the U.S. is the most popular? To find out, Mashed polled 555 United States residents, asking them to name the fast food restaurant they would choose if they could only eat at one for the rest of their lives. Respondents chose from among some of the top chains, including McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, and more. Surprisingly, the Golden Arches didn't take the top spot — instead, a chain that's famous for its chicken reigned supreme.

Everyone wants to "eat mor chikin"

The fast food restaurant that has stolen the hearts (and stomachs!) of over 1/4 of Americans is Chick-fil-A. When polled, 27.39 percent of people chose the popular chain as the place they would eat if they could only eat at one fast food joint for the rest of their lives (McDonald's was the next closest in second place, with 15.5 percent of the votes). The "Home of the Original Chicken Sandwich" is beloved by many for its tasty menu: crispy chicken nuggets, one-of-a-kind signature dipping sauce, waffle fries, fresh lemonade, and more (via Chick-fil-A).

It isn't just the food that has made Chick-fil-A such a hit among consumers, it's also the Atlanta-based chain's reputation for their stellar customer service. Year after year, Chick-fil-A has ranked number one on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, which reports how satisfied people are with their experiences at restaurants. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, 2020 is the sixth year in a row that Chick-fil-A has scored higher than any other fast food joint. 

Not all of the top picks were what you'd expect

Chick-fil-A may have been number one, but how did other fast food restaurants rank? While it may not be shocking that McDonald's came in second with 15.5 percent of the votes, you may be surprised to find out it wasn't Burger King (with 6.13 percent) or Taco Bell (with 7.39 percent) that came in third — it was Subway. 13.87 percent of respondents chose the popular sandwich shop as the one place they'd eat at for the rest of their lives. Subway was followed by Wendy's, which was the favorite among 12.25 percent.

Mashed also offered respondents the choice to fill in their own fast food chain if their top pick wasn't on the list, and 10.99 percent chose to do so. Some of the restaurants listed in the "other" category included Arby's (with multiple votes), Chipotle, In-N-Out Burger, Popeyes, and Jack in the Box. There were also a few people who said they never eat fast food, with one person saying they "despise all this crap."