12 of the Cheapest Fast-Food Chains + Get Coupons and DealsEating tasty food on-the-go or with your family doesn't have to break the bank. Here are 12 of the cheapest fast-food chains to enjoy right now.
With almost 200,000 different fast-food chain restaurants in the U.S. today, the industry has reached a worth of $278 billion. When you consider that McDonald's sells about 75 burgers every second, it's not hard to believe that this powerhouse industry gained its success by offering some of the cheapest fast food.
You may now be wondering—what are these cheap fast food chains that are doing so well? Well, you're in luck, as our team of experts has compiled a list of the best and cheapest fast food around, whether you're looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just anytime dining.
Here are 12 of the cheapest fast-food chains that often offer some of the best family meal deals under $20.
1. Taco Bell
Taco Bell is one of the largest fast-food chains in the world, and features a twist on Mexican favorites such as their Cheesy Gordita Crunch, Crunchwrap Supreme, and their Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes. This fast-food chain is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc., which also owns other well-known chains like KFC and Pizza Hut. In 2020, Yum! Brands reported total revenues of approximately $5.67 billion.
2. Del Taco
Del Taco is another popular fast-food restaurant chain specializing in Mexican and American cuisine. With more than 600 locations nationwide, their total revenues in 2020 were about $540 million, and for good reason. Some of their menu items, like the Crispy Chicken Taco, are a little under $2 each. If you're looking for fast food chains with deals, Del Taco is one not to miss.
3. White Castle
Everyone knows White Castle, the restaurant chain famous for its small, square-shaped hamburgers, often referred to as "sliders." They have over 360 locations in various states, and also offer menu items such as spicy buffalo chicken rings, sloppy joe sliders, and a chicken and waffle slider.
One of the largest and most recognizable fast food chains for coffee and breakfast items, Starbucks holds a net revenue of more than 23.5 billion as of 2020. For those who like deals on elevated coffees and artisanal breakfast sandwiches and pastries, Starbucks offers some of the cheapest fast food and breakfast around.
Of course, one of the best and cheapest fast food chains is America's own beloved McDonald's. In 2022, this iconic restaurant made $23 billion in annual revenue, and that figure has already grown past $24 billion in 2023. With most single items coming in under $10 and an average meal costing less than $12, it's easy to see why McDonald's is one of the best and cheapest fast food chains.
6. IKEA Swedish Restaurant and Bistro
The IKEA Swedish Restaurant and Bistro may not be one of the first things you think of when searching for fast food chains, but it's not to be overlooked. The IKEA restaurants are particularly popular for serving a variety of Swedish and international dishes, including the famous Swedish meatballs. However, for less than $10, diners can also get deals on salmon fillet dinners, chicken tender plates, and a delicious assortment of desserts.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is a well-known fast-casual restaurant chain known for its Mexican-inspired bowls. In fact, even if you don't visit Chipotle often, the odds are good that you have a friend who goes every week. With menu prices ranging from as low as $4-$5 to $13 for a full bowl, it's no wonder this restaurant rakes in nearly $6 billion per year in revenue.
8. Costco Cafeteria
Another unlikely suspect for some of the best and cheapest fast food, the cafeteria at Costco stores offers some pretty great deals, whether you're alone or shopping with your family. From an all-beef hot dog for just $1.50 to a whole pizza for just $9.95, the Costco restaurant is one of the best hidden fast food chains around.
Wendy's is another all-American chain with some of the cheapest fast-food menu options. With a yearly net revenue of more than $2 billion, Wendy's menu is one of the most popular among fast food chains, featuring their signature burgers, spicy chicken sandwiches, and savory breakfast items. If deals on restaurants are what you're after, Wendy's has you covered.
10. Burger King
If you're searching for 'the best cheap fast food chains near me,' Burger King is likely a strong contender. Founded in 1954, Burger King has become one of the world's largest fast food chains, made famous by its signature flame-grilled hamburgers. Whether you're a party of one or a family of four, Burger King's extensive menu delivers without breaking the bank.
11. Jack in the Box
Beginning in San Diego in 1951, the Jack in the Box fast food chains have been wildly popular for their diverse menus. From tacos and breakfast items to traditional American fare like burgers and popcorn chicken, Jack in the Box not only offers some of the cheapest fast food but good quality, too.
Checker's, also known as Rally's in some locations, lands on this list of the cheapest fast food chains with its combo meals averaging between $5 and $7. Plus, with items like chicken sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, and even loaded fries, Checker's is a restaurant the whole family will love.Average item price: The average price for a single item at Checker's is around $5.00.
Checker's Coupons, Deals, and Promo Codes
Cheapest Fast-Food: FAQ’sWhat is the cheapest fast-food restaurant in the USA?
The cost of a meal at a fast food restaurant can vary depending on the location, the specific items ordered, and any ongoing promotions or value menus. However, the Dollar Menu at McDonald's, the Taco Bell value menu, and the value items at Burger King rank as some of the cheapest fast food options available.
Is Burger King cheaper than McDonald's?
The pricing of menu items at Burger King and McDonald's can vary depending on location and specific menu items, so it's not always possible to definitively say whether one is universally cheaper than the other. Both Burger King and McDonald's offer value menus and promotions that aim to provide budget-friendly options for customers. The affordability of these items can also depend on local market conditions and regional pricing variations.
Is McDonald's or Taco Bell cheaper?
Both McDonald's and Taco Bell offer value menus and budget-friendly options, but the specific prices can differ between the two chains and even among individual restaurant locations. However, with the average item price at Taco Bell being almost $0.25 cheaper, Taco Bell may be slightly cheaper than McDonald's.
Is Chick-fil-A expensive?
Chick-fil-A is often perceived as being somewhat more expensive than some other fast-food chains, particularly those on this list, due to its focus on quality ingredients and customer service. However, whether Chick-fil-A is considered expensive can vary depending on individual preferences, location, and budget.
While this list covers fast-food dine-in options, using DoorDash is another great way to get some of the best and cheapest fast-food. With the DoorDash delivery app, you get exclusive coupons and promotions that making getting the cheapest fast-food even cheaper.
For more tasty deals and steals, be sure to check our Food & Drink Coupons page or our updated guide on the Big List of 110 Restaurants to Get Free Food. To catch all the latest promotions, be sure to sign up for our daily newsletter.