New Study Reveals California’s Favorite Fast Food Restaurant

Fast food has long been a staple of the American diet, and a new study by price-tracking website PriceListo has revealed the most popular fast-food chains in California.

The study analyzed regional Google search data for the last 12 months and considered the highest-earning fast-food restaurants across America.

Here’s a closer look at California’s top choices.


In California, Starbucks takes the crown as the most searched-for fast-food restaurant. With 13,693,050 monthly searches, Californians can’t seem to get enough of their coffee fix.

Most people don’t associate Starbucks with fast food. But with a growing menu of food items, drive-throughs and numerous locations, Starbucks is giving “traditional” fast food chains a run for their money, especially in California.

Starbucks has a staggering 15,966 stores across the country (there are more Starbucks in California than high schools) serving up an assortment of refreshing drinks and scrumptious snacks. The coffee shop is also known for its iconic Frappuccinos, which regularly trend on social media.


Though McDonald’s is the most popular fast-food chain in the country overall, it comes in second place in California. With 14,879,233 monthly searches across America, this iconic fast-food restaurant is a go-to choice for 22 states.

The golden arches can be seen at 13,515 locations across the country, where everything from cheeseburgers to apple pies is available at a moment’s notice.

Pizza Chains

California is also a fan of pizza, with Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Papa John’s all making the list. Domino’s comes in third place in the Golden State, with an average of 11,638,991 searches per month nationwide. The pizzeria has 6,708 locations around the country and offers a wide variety of pizza options for everyone.

Pizza Hut and Papa John’s are also popular choices in California, with 9,110,850 monthly searches and 5,446,094 monthly searches respectively. Both pizzerias offer a range of delicious toppings and specialty pizzas, ensuring there’s something for everyone.


Though not quite as popular in California as some other states, Chick-Fil-A still makes the list. With 11,239,300 monthly searches across the country, Chick-Fil-A is a favorite for its fried chicken burgers, waffles, fries, and more. The chain has 2,909 restaurants across America, offering a menu filled with tempting tasty treats.


California’s fast-food preferences reflect the diverse tastes and preferences of its residents. From coffee lovers seeking their next caffeine fix at Starbucks to pizza enthusiasts enjoying a slice at Domino’s, Pizza Hut, or Papa John’s, the Golden State has a little something for everyone.

As the fast-food industry continues to grow, estimated to be worth $366.9 billion in 2023, it’s clear that Californians will continue to enjoy their favorite chains for years to come.

Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith is a food and travel photographer and writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His photographic work routinely appears in publications including Food and Wine, Conde Nast Traveler, and the New York Times and his writing appears in IEEE Spectrum, SFGate, the Bold Italic and more. Smith holds a degree in Cognitive Science (Neuroscience) and Anthropology from the Johns Hopkins University.

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