The fifteen most popular fast-food chains -- and why some don't matter

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Business Insider's recent list of the most popular fast-food chains in the U.S. -- put together by food industry research firm Technomic -- served up the fifteen biggest earners in the biz. I've definitely contributed dough to some of these establishments -- but eschewed others in favor of my health and emotional well-being.

Here's my take on the fifteen most popular fast-food chains, and what I've done -- or not done -- to contribute to them. It's like the fast-food version of "f*ck or pass."

15. Jack in the Box After discovering the Chocolate Overload cake and the fact that Jack's chocolate shakes are black & whites -- vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup added -- I've spent plenty of cash at Jack's, contributing to the chain making this list, even in last place. But last place is better than not making the list, right?

14. Arby's I have done absolutely nothing to contribute either financially or intellectually to Arby's, and no matter how deep I did into my fragile psyche, I cannot seem to muster up even the slightest vestige of care about it. Arby's food is so deplorable I would not eat it if hundred dollar bills were stapled to the wrappers on the sandwiches.

13. Panera Bread I've dropped a few golden clams on a few loaves of Panera Bread's Pecan Braid and Asiago Cheese Breads, but not too many lately. PB's seems quite expensive these days, now that even regular grocery stores have gotten into the artisan bread business. That may be why the company is at number thirteen on this list.

12. Domino's Pizza It's highly possible that Domino's making a gluten-free pizza crust that is actually as free from gluten as it can get while still tasting good is the reason for the company making this list at all. I have contributed only a bit to Domino's in recent history, because although the GF crust is decent and all, the rest of its food is still pretty substandard. 11. Sonic Two words: Cheddar Peppers. I love them so much I would eat them from between a camel's butt-cheeks. Thanks to Sonic serving them, I don't have to. And it's hard for other fast-food joints to beat Sonic's whatever-cream-pie shakes, because they really do taste more like real pies.

10. Chick-fil-a Bah, homo-humbug. I have purposely contributed nothing to Chick's booty bundle -- despite being fond of its waffle fries -- because I care about gay marriage. Chick's owners do, too, but their caring leans more toward the donating-sweaty-wads-of-bills-to-screw-gays-in-the-bad-way, and that dog won't hunt, Monsignor.

9. KFC I haven't really plunked down much green in KFC's general direction lately, but I'm thinking that could change with the advent of the new all-you-can-eat buffets on Mondays. While I'm not the biggest fan-gurl of KFC's actual fried chicken, the side dishes are aight -- and I try to encourage the chain to revisit its gravy-to-mashed-potato ratio every chance I get, like now.

8. Pizza Hut The Hut usually gets my money by default, since my lazy-making sometimes leaves me with few delivery options, and when the Hut screws something up, at least it is something I fully expect and mentally prepare for prior to ordering. 7. Dunkin' Donuts There aren't any DDs in Denver -- but they're coming. So I'll likely stop in at least once, if for no other reason than to determine whether or not the over-sweetened, over-flavored, badly-roasted signature coffee that Dunkin' foists onto the consumer public is as bad in the stores as it is to buy and brew at home.

6. Taco Bell I have contributed more capital -- financial and intellectual -- to Taco Bell than is probably reasonable and sane, and so long as the Bell keeps dangling the prospect of a Cool Ranch Doritos taco shell in front of me like a shining bauble, then I will continue to shower this chain with my expendable income and blind loyalty.

5. Burger King I bet BK execs are wondering why their company isn't higher on the popular list, and why they are consistently not invited to the cool kids' table. It's rough for them, constantly hovering between the B and C groups, and I've spent just enough money at BK to keep them in like-limbo, mostly because for every three or four new items they come out with, only one is worth ordering more than once.

4. Wendy's If it weren't for the Frostys, I would retain my bitterness at Wendy's for axing the salad and potato bars, and never set foot in any of the stores. But nobody else has Frostys, so I'll keep trudging back, under duress, to give Wendy's my hard-earned money in exchange for the Frostys, cursing all the while under my breath. 3. Starbucks I feel that I'm a major contributing factor in Buckies making the number three spot on the list. I spend more loose dollar bills at Starbucks than a virgin at a strip club, and ever since the company introduced its Bistro Box go-lunches, I've even been spending my change on food there as well.

2. Subway There is no better way to spend an extra five-dollar bill than by ordering a Pizza Sub with preggo-pickles at Subway -- except maybe at a strip club. I throw cash at Subway like a drunken sailor on shore leave, and I'll probably singlehandedly put Jared's kids through college. 1. McDonald's Of course McDoo is number one. I had a starring role in putting the company there, all because McDonald's breakfast is so f*cking irresistibly delicious. Other fast-food restaurants have breakfast, but so far none of them have managed to perma-tempt me away from Hotcakes & Sausage, Egg McMuffins, Sausage McMuffins with Egg, or those noogie little breakfast burritos that always seem to look/feel/taste exactly the same every time I order them by the bagful. Does McDonald's deserve the top spot for that? Sure, and although I'm well- aware that every greasy, salty sausage patty I eat there will result in my untimely knock-knock-knockin' on heaven's door, no other restaurant's breakfast items have the ability to make cognitive dissonance taste so good first thing in the morning.

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