Many fast food chains pride themselves on offering quality food at affordable prices with instant service. With drive-through burger chains such as McDonald's and Burger King, pizza chains such as Papa John's, Domino's and Pizza Hut, and the many more options available, there are plenty of fast food chains claiming to offer the best deals to their consumers. But who truly reigns as king of fast food value? Here is a look at some of the most affordable fast food chains in the United States, along with a determination of which one really is the most reasonably priced.

McDonald's
The McDonald's logo is one of the most easily recognizable company symbols in North America and throughout the world. The highly popular food franchise has many menu items as they serve up specials for breakfast, lunch, dinner and plenty of snack options for anyone who is hungry in between. McDonald's is among the most affordable fast food chains due to its dollar menu; everything on this menu is available for $1. Additionally, McDonald's offers a value menu with many options that help keep dining costs low. Occasionally, McDonald's will run promotions offering soft drinks for $1, or 2 breakfast sandwiches for just $3. These deals keep luring hungry consumers toward the golden arches.

Little Caesars
Another fast food chain that keeps costs low while giving their customers top value is Little Caesars. The pizza chain offers "Hot-N-Ready" pizza for as low as $5 a pie, in comparison with its direct competition at Pizza Hut and Papa John's, which offer large pizzas at approximately $10 each. While the menu at Little Caesars may not offer as many options as its direct competitors, the cost factor certainly gives it an advantage.

Taco Bell
Taco Bell is an industry leader that offers rock-bottom pricing on many menu items, including its 89 cent nachos and tacos for less than $1 each. The value gets a little watered down, however, when you consider that most people will order more than just one taco. But in comparison with other fast food vendors that sell Mexican-inspired menu options, Taco Bell is definitely a good choice that won't overly impact your bottom line.

Wendy's
Another fast food chain that offers a value menu along with reasonably priced meals is Wendy's. Some of Wendy's lowest-priced menu options appearing on its "Everyday Value Menu" include a small-sized order of chicken nuggets, a baked potato with sour cream and chives and a small frosty. While Wendy's isn't necessarily known for any sandwich in particular, it are known for their low prices, and that, along with taste, is what keeps customers coming back for more.

Burger King
Is Burger King the king of fast food? The fast food giant is definitely up against some steep competition for the title. Similar to McDonald's and Wendy's, Burger King offers a BK Value Menu with a long list of items that are both filling and inexpensive. In addition to the value menu, Burger King also has a hearty menu of combo meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as many snack items and beverages. In comparison with many other fast food chains, Burger King's value lies in how filling many of its value menu options are. Consumers could easily satisfy a hearty appetite with just a few dollars.

The Bottom Line
While each of the fast food chains examined above have its own set of advantages, there is one clear champion of the drive-through in terms of cost and value. While many fast food restaurants offer value menus, none trump McDonald's in terms of value. The fast food giant has many menu items that sell for just $1 each, in addition to many combo meals and frequent promotions for discounted sandwiches, drinks and more. While Burger King and Wendy's are following right on the heels of McDonald's, they aren't as highly ranked because their promotions don't quite measure up to what McDonald's offers. Regardless of which fast food restaurant is your favorite, the five restaurants listed are among your best bets when looking for a deal on your next meal.

Related Articles
  1. Budgeting

    Traveling to Los Angeles on a Budget

    Understand why you do not have to break your budget to vacation in Los Angeles, despite the city's reputation as a playground for the rich and famous.
  2. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Chipotle Stock (CMG)

    Learn about some possible risks for Chipotle, one of America's most popular and fastest-growing food chains and leader of the "casual dining" experience.
  3. Economics

    What is a Complement?

    A good or service that’s used in conjunction with another good or service is a complement.
  4. Investing

    3 Small Steps to Maximize Your Investing Goals

    Instead of starting the New Year with ambitious resolutions, why not taking smaller manageable steps that can have a real impact.
  5. Investing

    7 Creative Ways to Save for an Early Retirement

    Take note of these out of the box steps you can take towards securing yourself an earlier, more comfortable retirement.
  6. Retirement

    Ipsy Review: Is It Worth It?

    Discover the history of ipsy, how much packages cost, options available for membership, major competition and what the future looks like for the company.
  7. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Johnson & Johnson Stock (JNJ)

    Learn the largest risks to investing in Johnson & Johnson through fundamental analysis and other potential risks. Also discover how JNJ compares to its peers.
  8. Budgeting

    Craft Coffee Review: Is It Worth It?

    Learn more about one of the first and most flexible specialty-grade coffee subscription services on the market, a perfect fit for any coffee lover.
  9. Budgeting

    Plated Review, Is It Worth It?

    Take a closer look at the ready-to-cook meal service, Plated, and learn how the company can help you take the hassle out of home cooking.
  10. Saving and Spending

    Saving $100 Now Is Better Than Saving $1,000 In 10 Years

    Learn why it is better to save $100 every year starting right now rather than $1,000 in 10 years, and find out the benefits of early saving and investing.
RELATED FAQS
  1. Who are Chipotle's (CMG) main competitors?

    Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (CMG), the market leader in the Mexican-style fast casual dining sector, faces direct competition ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How does a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) affect my salary?

    Some companies build salary adjustments into their compensation structures to offset the effects of inflation on their employees. ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. Where can you buy NetSpend reload packs?

    You can only purchase NetSpend reload packs at Giant Eagle, Albertsons, Roundy's and Pathmark supermarkets. NetSpend cards ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What does marginal utility tell us about consumer choice?

    In microeconomics, utility represents a way to relate the amount of goods consumed to the amount of happiness or satisfaction ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. How does the trust maker transfer funds into a revocable trust?

    Once a revocable trust is created, a trust maker transfers funds or property into the trust by including them in a list with ... Read Full Answer >>
Trading Center