McDonald's: Where the Nation Feels Welcome

McDonald's takes a lot of heat for the quality of the food, but most Americans still associate the fast food giant's restaurants, and others like it, with family, community, and good times.

1 minute read

July 4, 2019, 7:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Fast Food Restaurant

MilesbeforeIsleep / Shutterstock

The central role of fast food restaurants in American culture and community is sometime underappreciated—even though most Americans prove their appreciation for fast food most regularly.

"According to Gallup, some 80 percent of Americans eat fast food on at least a monthly basis, and 96 percent of Americans annually. No other institution, not libraries or gyms or the collective houses of worship, is that popular. Not even the internet comes close to garnering that much loyalty or participation as fast food," writes Adam Chandler.

"The United States is and remains a fast-food nation. And this isn’t simply because quick-service restaurants are purveyors of deliciously narcotic and obesogenic foodstuffs. It’s because it’s easy to build rituals in places where everyone is welcome," adds Chandler.

While the article speaks broadly about fast food, the vast majority of specific references are to the most visible signifier of the country's role in bringing the fast food franchise to the global market: McDonald's. And this isn't the first time that an article has been written about the role of McDonald's in maintaining a third place for Americans, outside of the home and the office, for Americans to gather and linger in public.

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