20 Little-Known Facts About The Country’s Most Popular Chain Restaurants

You usually don’t have to think too hard about which restaurants are your favorites. They’re the ones with menus you’ve memorized by heart and meals that are prepared to perfection every time you visit. We might think we know everything there is to about our favorite places to grab a quick bite, but in truth, there are plenty of tidbits about those restaurants that even we haven’t heard before…

Here are just 20 facts you probably didn’t know about some of the most popular chain restaurants in the world. If you’re a fan of Starbucks or KFC, you’ll want to pay attention. How many of these secrets did you know already?

1. Even though Dunkin’ Donuts is known for oodles of doughnuts, it actually makes less than 10 percent of its profits off those iced rings of deliciousness. According to several franchises, roughly 65 percent of their sales is due to beverage purchases.

2. If you’ve been to Chipotle and ordered the guacamole, there’s a very good chance it could have come from singer Jason Mraz’s avocado farm. Every year, he sells 30,000 pounds of avocados to the chain restaurant!


3. Every time a customer orders a sizzling fajita dish at Chili’s, the kitchen automatically starts prepping more. The mere smell of the sizzling dish almost always means surrounding customers will order them. This is known as the “fajita effect.”

4. In 2003, Red Lobster offered a nationwide endless crab special at their restaurants thinking it would attract more customers. It certainly did… and they lost over a million dollars every month while the special was running. Some discounts do more harm than good!


5. In 1988, Denny’s, which is known to stay open 365 days a year, decided to close down for Christmas. However, because they had never closed before, 700 of their buildings needed to have locks installed because there weren’t any!

6. People might opt to get a salad when they go to McDonald’s thinking it’s a healthier alternative, but it actually isn’t. Mickey D’s kale salad has more calories, fat, and sodium than a Big Mac. It has less protein, too!

7. The popular chain restaurant Jack in the Box is known for its tacos, but you probably had no idea just how many it sells annually. That would be a whopping 554 million tacos every year, which breaks down to over a thousand tacos a minute!


8. Subway’s “BMT” is one of the most popular sandwiches it sells, but most people probably have no idea what the name stands for. It’s an acronym for the Brooklyn Manhattan Transit, which was a subway that operated in New York City from 1923 to 1940. The name has since been updated to mean “Bigger, Meatier, Tastier.”

9. It takes a lot of hard work to climb a corporate ladder. Julia Stewart, the current CEO of the popular breakfast restaurant IHOP, actually began her career as a server. Talk about working your way up the chain!

10. South Korea ran a Dunkin’ Donuts campaign where they sprayed a coffee-scented mist onto buses at the same time the Dunkin’ Donuts jingle played over the radio. Stores saw a 16 percent increase in visitors and a 29 percent increase in coffee sales.

11. On Halloween night in 2004, a customer ordered a burger with 100 beef patties and 100 slices of cheese from In-N-Out. The restaurant honored the zany request, but they’ve since created a rule so customers can only order a maximum of four patties and four cheese slices on one burger.

12. The mints you get at the end of a meal at Olive Garden closely resemble Andes Mints, but they’re actually different. Andes Mints have a layer of mint between two layers of chocolate, but Olive Garden’s mints have equal layers of both flavors.


13. The flavor of the Frosty at Wendy’s is actually an even mix of chocolate and vanilla. The founder of the restaurant, Dave Thomas, felt a full chocolate Frosty would have been too overwhelming when paired with burgers and fries.

14. The people behind the incredibly popular Taco Bell ad campaign involving the chihuahua never initially got paid for their idea. In 2003, however, they won a lawsuit for over $30 million, plus $12 million in interest!

15. KFC is known for having a super secret recipe of spices for its fried chicken. In order to keep the secret, the company actually divides the mixture between two different factories so neither one knows what the other one does for their half of the recipe.

16. Ever since it started, McDonald’s has employed a lot of people. In fact, it’s employed so many that one in eight Americans end up working at the chain restaurant at some point in their lives.

17. Even though Taco Bell prides itself on its delicious “Mexican” cuisine, there are actually no establishments south of the United States border. The restaurant made two attempts—one in 1992 and one in 2007—to enter the market, but both failed.


18. People know Shake Shack for its burgers, but Danny Meyer’s groundbreaking joint actually had a slew of other menu items it originally intended on selling before the burgers took over. These included doughnuts, custard floats, and espresso drinks.

19. Everyone needs their fill of coffee in the morning, and members of the CIA are no different. There is actually a Starbucks inside the CIA headquarters called “Store Number 1,” and employees aren’t allowed to write names on the patrons’ cups.


20. Most people know Chick-fil-A’s ads urge customers to “eat more chicken,” but certain locations in some southern states actually sell burgers as well. The original location in Hapeville, Georgia, also sells regional fare like sweet potatoes, fried okra, and collard greens.

Some of these facts are incredible. Imagine if Shake Shack’s burgers never took over, and the chain restaurant became a popular hub for doughnuts instead?

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