(Last Updated On: November 9, 2022)


On November 16th, food lovers get a dose of their favorite convenience food. Whether they use the drive-thru, dine-in, or get it to go, National Fast Food Day calls for us to grilled, fried, and broiled menu staples. 

First popularized in the United States in the 1950s, fast food is considered any meal with low preparation time and served to a customer in a packaged form. The meal makes for quick dine-in, take-out or take-away. Most fast-food restaurants offer drive-thru service.

Merriam-Webster dictionary first recognized the term “fast food” in 1951.

Following World War I, automobiles became popular and more affordable. At that time, restaurants introduced the drive-in.

Much like today’s food trucks, Walter Anderson first began selling hamburgers out of an old streetcar body at a Wichita intersection. Despite the limited menu, the hamburgers were a crowd-pleaser. When the popularity of his hamburgers grew, Anderson partnered with E.W. Ingram and opened the first White Castle in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. These enterprising restauranteurs opened the first fast-food business, selling hamburgers for 5¢ each.

The United States hosts the largest fast food industry in the world.  American fast-food restaurants are located in over 100 countries.

Fun fact: The first Happy Meal was served in June of 1979.

While fast food began as sandwiches and sides, the menus expanded over time. Today fast food includes fish, a variety of fried chicken, tacos, pizza, and a wide selection of sides. Sodas quench the thirst and desserts sweeten the menu. From ice cream and shakes to pies and cakes, fast food delivers.

As times changed, restaurants added breakfast items to the menu, too. Expanding their hours increased their workforce and their menu options, as well. However, not all fast-food chains offer breakfast.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalFastFoodDay

Invite a group out to your favorite fast-food restaurant. Share some rings and a shake. Do you prefer breakfast or lunch? No matter which one you prefer you can get it to go to make it faster, too! 

Give a shoutout to your favorite fast-food restaurant using #NationalFastFoodDay to post on social media.


National Day Calendar continues researching the origins of this speedilious food day.

Fast Food FAQ

Q. Which is faster, drive-thru or walking in?
A. Much of it depends on the time of day. During busy lunch and dinner hours, the line of cars might stretch to the street and it is probably quicker to go in to order at a fast-food restaurant. However, during slower times, the drive-thru will beat the lobby almost every time. Additionally, most restaurants have their drive-thru systems down to a science, shaving off the time it takes to complete an order and increasing the number of customers served through the drive-thru.

Q. What is the healthiest food to eat from a fast-food restaurant?
A. That’s a tough question since fast food is unquestionably unhealthy. But when our choices are limited to fast food for whatever reason, here are a few tips:

  • Choose grilled over fried. Grilled will be healthier almost every time.
  • Order a salad.
  • Swap out the fries for a salad.
  • Skip the soda. Drink water.
  • Order a kid’s meal. The smaller portions (and sometimes healthier options) will be a winner over a full-sized meal.
  • Check out their soups. If there are any that are broth-based, order that.
  • If you must have those fries, share them with someone.


November 16th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) History

The New York Evening Post published its first issue. Established by Alexander Hamilton as a way to provide a Federalist viewpoint, the Post is now the oldest continuously running newspaper in the United States.


Pitney Bowes introduces the first commercially available postage meter in the world, the Model M.


The Soviet Union launches Venera 3 space probe with a mission to land on the planet Venus. On March 1, 1966, the space probe impacted Venus, but due to communication system failure, no data was returned.


NASA launches Skylab’s third crewed mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. A three-person crew completed the 84-day space flight, the longest on record until 1995.

November 16th Celebrated (And Not So Celebrated) Birthdays

Mary Peabody Mann – 1806

She and her husband, Horace Mann, were proponents of free education for all. Together they studied educational methods and applied them in the schools they established. Even after her husband’s death, she continued the work and even published a book about Friedrich Froebel’s ideas about kindergarten.

David Kalakaua – 1836

In 1874, Kalakaua was elected king of Hawaii. However, his reign was marked by corruption and mismanagement. He died in 1891.

William C. Handy – 1873

The career of the self-proclaimed Father of the Blues spanned for more than 66 years. In that time, he encouraged other blues musicians and singers while continuing to write and perform.

Mary Margaret McBride – 1899

The radio commentator and journalist conducted over 1200 interviews during her career.

Amy Applegren – 1926

For nine years, the left-handed pitcher dominated the mound in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Lawrence Dawsey – 1967

Dawsey played eight seasons as a wide receiver in the NFL. In 2009, he became the Co-offensive Coordinator for the Florida Seminoles.

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