Watch out, McDonald’s.
A new generation of up-and-coming fast food chains are taking over the industry.
These brands have different takes on the classic burgers, pizzas, and tacos.
Chances are, you’ll be able to visit one soon.
1. The Habit Burger Grill
The Habit Burger Grill claimed Consumer Reports’ top spot for the best-tasting burger in the country, beating out competitors like In-N-Out Burger and Five Guys.
Habit Burger is primarily located in California, Arizona and Utah, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. The company now has about 100 locations and is expanding.
The chain promises 100% fresh ground beef cooked over an open flame. The signature burger is pretty classic and includes “mayonnaise, pickle, fresh tomato, lettuce and caramelised onions on a toasted bun.”
2. El Pollo Loco
The Mexican-inspired chicken chain has posted impressive sales gains since it went public, and shares are soaring.
El Pollo Loco’s expansion plans and fresh-food message have many wondering if it is the next Chipotle.
The poultry is brought fresh into restaurants daily. It is then marinated in a citrus-garlic blend for a couple hours before being grilled on low heat for over an hour.
Customers can buy different cuts of the bone-in chicken or have it chopped and added to tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and salads.
The company has about 400 locations is currently expanding on the West Coast and in the South West, most notably in Houston.
3. Blaze Pizza
Blaze Pizza, which counts LeBron James as an investor, opened 50 restaurants across the country in 2014. This year it plans to open 60 to 70 new locations.
Much like Chipotle or Subway, Blaze Pizza emphasises customisation.
Customers build pizzas choosing from seven cheeses, eight proteins, 20 vegetables, and three sauces, Jim Mizes, the president and chief operating officer, told Business Insider.
The pizzas are then placed in a stone hearth oven. They’re ready in about three minutes.
Blaze Pizza is based in Southern California.
4. Rubio’s Fresh Mexican Grill
Rubio’s, which is inspired by Baja California cuisine, has 190 locations and is predominantly found on the West Coast.
Rubio’s is best known for its fish tacos, which are hand-battered and covered in fresh salsa and a cabbage slaw. Other popular menu items include tacos, burritos, and enchiladas.
Rubio’s also offers churros for dessert.
Like Chipotle, Rubio’s emphasises fresh ingredients that are sustainably sourced.
5. Lyfe Kitchen
Lyfe Kitchen was started by two McDonald’s executives who wanted to make healthy fare like kale and quinoa mainstream.
The chain currently has about a dozen locations in California, Colorado, Illinois, and New York. The company has plans to open 250 more in the next five years.
Every dish on the menu is under 600 calories with less than 1,000 milligrams of sodium, and the average check size is $US4 to $US14, according to the company.
Butter, trans fats, white sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, and other food additives are barred from the menu, and locally sourced ingredients are used when available.
Hayley Peterson contributed to this story.
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