It is nice to treat yourself and your family every once in a while. Normally, that means going away for a day to, like a zoo or a park or maybe just shopping in town with the kids.
Inevitably, though, someone will get hungry at some point. Kids need a lot of food and energy to function and be healthy.
This is the time when you can throw all food preparation out the window and get yourself a fast food meal – maybe not the healthiest, but once in a while won’t hurt. When you are deciding where to go, though, you may start to hit a snag.
What fast food restaurants are the best ones to go to for families? What are the best family meals? In this article, we seek to find that out, so you can enjoy a meal meant for the whole family.
Sometimes the best places to eat with your family are those that don’t just offer dinner options.
Panera Bread (see also ‘7 Best Soups From Panera Bread‘) is one of those, being a bakery/café style fast food eatery that has over 2000 locations throughout the United States and Canada.
The restaurant is extremely popular as it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it offers a wide selection of different foods and drinks.
There is also a regular dine-in menu, that has flatbread, pizzas, grain bowls, panini, pastas, salads, soups, and sandwiches, along with a fresh bakery menu, that includes bagels, brownies, croissants, cookies, and muffins.
Panera Bread (see also ‘7 Best Soups From Panera Bread‘) includes a lot of Family Feast Value Meals, which are delicious and generally reasonably priced.
Two of our favorites are the Flatbread Pizza Family Feast, which allows families to choose between two or three flatbreads, some side salads, and a cinnamon roll for dessert, and the Premium Family Feast, which serves three to six people and includes a salad, one quart of soup, four half sandwiches, and a whole French baguette.
The lowest price for a family meal at Panera is $23, which is fairly reasonably priced for an – objectively – fairly healthy fast food meal. If you can feed a family of four to six for that price, you are doing quite well on the hunt for cheap food.
If you are spending a Friday evening at home with the kids, maybe with a movie that everyone can enjoy, then there is nothing better than having some pizza.
One pizza can feed between one to several people, and sometimes there’s nothing better than a slice or two with those you love.
If you are looking for a good chain pizza place that offers family meal bundles, then the obvious choice is that of Dominos.
It is one of the biggest – if not the biggest pizza chains – in the entire world, with over 15,000 stores worldwide, over 5000 in the US, and operating in over 83 countries.
One of the reasons for its success is the fact that it always has a deal on of some kind, and it has an app for easy ordering and delivery.
The perfect combo is currently $19.99 and this includes 2 medium-sized pizzas with one topping, 16 pieces of Parmesan bread bites, 8 pieces of cinnamon bread twists, and 2 liters of a soda of your choice.
Just under $20 and by the end of eating it your family will be stuffed.
Dominos also offers deals like the mix and match deal, where you can get any two items for $5.99 each. This includes medium pizzas and any breads, desserts, chicken, pasta, and salads.
Moving to a slightly smaller chain now, we have Boston Market.
This fast food chain is focused on rotisserie chicken and American home style cooking, with some of the items on their menu being cornbread, roasted turkey, meatloaf, and sweet fruit pies.
The company has had its ups and downs in recent years – having to pull out of Canada and Australia – but has stores in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Germany with over 346 locations that are still going incredibly strong.
Boston Market, known for its delectable American home-style cooking, also has its own regional specialties, just like the unique and flavorful Puerto Rican recipes that capture the essence of the island’s cuisine.
Its presence is particularly strong in the Northeast (centered around its native territory of Boston) and in the Midwest, though it also has a strong presence in the south as well.
The great thing about Boston Market is you can reasonably serve a family without getting the Family Meal, but should you choose to get the family meal, then it serves between two and six people and includes a choice between rotisserie chicken, roasted turkey, Meatloaf, and BBQ ribs (see also ‘The Best 20 Leftover Ribs Recipes‘).
It also comes with a wide selection of side dishes with the favorites being Mac and Cheese, sweet corn, mashed potatoes, and cilantro-lime rice.
No matter what you order in the family meal, though, it will always come with a plate of Boston Market’s signature – and delicious – cornbread.
When it comes to sharing food, nobody can beat the colonel. KFC is the second-largest restaurant chain in the world, with just over 22,000 locations in over 150 countries worldwide.
If you live in the western hemisphere and haven’t been to KFC at least once, then I’m not sure if I really believe you.
There are not many who even attempt to claim that their fried chicken is better than the colonels, and those that do are normally home cooks using their own family recipe. However, in terms of fried chicken restaurants, there aren’t any better.
KFC is primed for feeding a family, as the food is mostly in tubs or buckets, and they have multiple meal and side order options.
The Eight Piece Family Fill Up is the one we consider the best, and it includes eight pieces of crispy fried chicken, coleslaw, mashed potatoes and gravy, and four biscuits (American biscuits for our international readers).
If this is not enough for your family, then you can also go for a twelve or sixteen piece original recipe chicken bucket meal, which will normally come with at least one side.
Finally, you can go with the variety of other meals on offer that can be supped up to family sized meals, like the eight piece chicken tenders meal with biscuits, sides, and dipping sauces.
Chick-fil-A is the largest fast food chain specializing in chicken sandwiches, and in recent years it has become one of the largest fast food chains in the world.
Originally founded by the Cathy family and still owned by them, Chick-fil-A tries to hold on to its core values of quality food.
The chain has about 3000 locations throughout the United States and has even expanded to Canada in recent years.
While it has been around since 1946, in the last 20 years, Chick-fil-A has become a chicken juggernaut in the fast food business.
In 2017, the company began offering Family Style Meals in localized areas before expanding them due to their popularity.
These meals include an entrée, mini rolls, and two sides, which should be enough to feed a family of four.
The entrée’s that families can choose from are twelve chicken strips, four chicken sandwiches, four grilled chicken sandwiches, or thirty chicken nuggets.
The sides you can get are a variety of salads, mac and cheese, or a fruit cup. All in all, it is great for a family meal.
The first love of teenagers exploring a fast food scene, Taco Bell has been around since 1962 – so at least 60 years – and it offers Mexican-inspired foods at affordable prices.
These include tacos, quesadillas, burritos, nachos, and other either Mexican or specialty items.
The chain has around 7000 stores around the world and serves upwards of two billion customers every year, making it one of the most successful fast food brands around.
It does a great job of having food specific to certain areas that caters to the local people.
Taco Bell offers various packages for family meals. For just over 10 dollars, you can have the taco and burrito cravings pack that has four crunchy shelled tacos and four 5-layer beef burritos, which is a fantastic way to feed a family.
It is even good for vegetarians, as it offers multiple vegetarian options and even mixes and matches them for you.
Some of the most popular are the cheesy bean and rice burrito and the black bean chalupa supreme. If you are looking for a cheap family meal after a long day, then Taco Bell is the place to go (see also ‘16 Taco Bell Menu Items That Are Keto-Friendly‘).
Wendy’s might be one of the most recognizable brands in America, if only for its logo of the mascot Wendy.
It was started by Dave Thomas in 1969 in Columbus, Ohio and since that time it has grown to about 6700 locations, making it the world’s third-largest hamburger based fast food chain restaurant, after Burger King and McDonald’s (see also ‘11 Tasty Cook Out Menu Items‘).
Its image and its popularity have only grown since it adopted a sassy but lovable social media presence, with the brand recognizing the potential of social media platforms long before other restaurants and making good-natured jibes at its rivals.
Wendy’s has always been good value for its customers, and its Feed the Fam Deal is great for those with kids.
This deal includes two Spicy Chicken sandwiches, four small fries, and two Jr. Bacon Cheeseburgers. This is a great way to feed a family of four while out or on the cheap.
There are also options for smaller meals that are cheaper, if lacking in content.
The $5 Biggie Bag Meal Deal which gives you a bacon cheeseburger, a beverage, fries, and four pieces of chicken nuggets. While you may end up sharing, it is a great cheap way to have a snack.
From the third-largest hamburger restaurant in the world to the second-largest hamburger restaurant in the world.
Burger King is known as the home of the whopper and has been a staple of many households and for many families since 1953. Started in Jacksonville, Florida, it has since become a powerhouse with a whopping 17,000 restaurants worldwide.
Burger King offers meals for breakfast, lunches, and dinners, while also having regular menu items for people to choose from and even family meals for people to eat. Since their burgers are enormous for a fast food restaurant, this is a great deal.
The most popular family deal is the Family Bundle Classic, which includes two Whopper sandwiches, twenty chicken nuggets, two original chicken sandwiches, two medium-sized fries, and two Hershey’s Sundae Pies.
As you can imagine, this is more than enough to feed a family of four and could even feed a family of six.
Depending on where you live, the price of the bundle can go as high as 30 dollars, which is not the cheapest, but it is certainly one of the more filling options on the menu for any family.
Finally, we reach not only the largest hamburger fast food chain in the world, but the largest chain restaurant in the world (by a comfortable mile as well).
McDonald’s serves 69 million people daily, almost 25 billion a year, and it has over 37,000 restaurants spread over 100 countries. It is simply the largest restaurant that does and probably has ever existed.
It was founded in 1940 in San Bernardino and has consistently made new features to its restaurant that increased its revenue, like it was the restaurant that revolutionized drive throughs.
Furthermore, it has also remained competitive by keeping its prices low. It is perhaps one of the most cost-effective options on this list, with its menu including the regular quarter pounders, Big Macs, and McNuggets, but also having value options as well.
For families, they offer a happy meal for kids, which includes either a hamburger or chicken nuggets, apple slices or fries, and chocolate milk or apple juice.
For the adults and parents, 20 and 40 piece McNuggets meals could fill the stomachs of multiple people.
For our final family restaurant, we are going back to the southern United States to the Louisiana-style chicken restaurant of Popeyes.
Not as old or as big as some of the restaurants on this list, but still Popeyes is a beloved family favorite.
Founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Popeyes (see also ‘17 Best Things To Order At A Popeye’s‘) has grown from a one state franchise to one that encompasses 46 states and has over 3500 restaurants under its belt.
It offers a range of spices for your fried chicken – from mild to super spicy – as well as having a range of chicken sandwiches and even offering fried shrimp.
The fried chicken meals are 10, 12, or 16 pieces in size with biscuits and family meals include other sides as well.
The sides include Cajun fries, mashed potatoes with gravy, mac and cheese, and red beans with rice. A family meal will consist of either eight to sixteen piece chicken tender meals with a selection of sides or multiple different chicken sandwiches.
Either way, it is food that is good for the soul.
As you can see, there are many family meals on offer when you are looking to feed everyone you love, and fast food places offer a quick and cheap alternative to a lot of other establishments.
If you are struggling, consider the restaurants on this list when you are out looking for food next.