It's no secret that America loves fast food, spending more than ever to dine out reaching a ridiculous $US680 billion per year. Apparently they're getting picky too, demanding more for their money, higher-quality and greater variety than what can be found at the food chains us Aussie's are used to.

So it comes to no surprise that the results of a 2014 Consumer Reports which ranked 65 national and regional fast food chains in the US failed to show giants like McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC in the Top 10. Who cares right? Well actually, if you're planning to travel in the States any time soon - you will

Since fast food chains in America are almost impossible to avoid, it's best you get to know who the cream of the crops are now. Here are the Top 10 ranked fast-food chains for 2014 below.

10. Culver's

Started in Wisconsin in the 1980s, Culver’s, which offers fresh frozen custard and burgers, is still predominantly in the Midwest but has also expanded into Texas. Culver’s also features its own brand of root beer. Politeness of its staffs and dining-area cleanliness were among its highlights. 

9. Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill

Rubio’s, which was founded in California in the 1980s, offers Mexican food using fresh sustainable seafood with an emphasis on tacos. The company operates 190 locations in California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. Noteworthy for Rubio’s: quality of the food, its staffs’ politeness, and cleanliness of dining areas. 

8. Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Another fast food chain that specialises in subs, Potbelly, which was founded in Chicago in 1977, has locations in 23 states. It often has local musicians performing live at a Potbelly Sandwich Shop – whose staffs’ politeness helped it earn this spot on the list. 

7. Firehouse Subs

Founded just 20 years ago in Jacksonville, Florida, by former firefighters, Firehouse Subs specialises in hot subs and also offers subs and salads under 500 calories. It has more than 700 restaurants in 36 states. It earned this spot on the list because of its staffs’ politeness and the cleanliness of its dining areas.

6. Chick-Fil-A

Chick-fil-A, which is headquartered in Atlanta and specialises in chicken sandwiches, made the news three years ago because of its opposition to same-sex marriage legislation – but it also made the Consumer Reports list of the best fast food restaurants in America for the quality of its food and of its service.

5. Jason's Deli

Founded in Texas in 1976, Jason’s Deli offers a deli-style menu with sandwiches, salads and soups. It boasts 240 locations across 28 states. In the last decade, the company has eliminated trans fats, high fructose corn syrup and MSG from all of its food. It rated highly for its food quality, politeness of its staff, and the cleanliness of its dining areas.

4. The Habit Burger Grill

The Habit Burger Grill was started in California in 1969 and like In-N-Out Burger, it has remained on the small side, with only 100 locations in California, Arizona and Utah. Food quality, politeness of staff, and cleanliness all rated high for this restaurant. 

3. Portillo's Hot Dogs

Portillo’s specialises in Chicago-style hot dogs and sandwiches. It has less than 50 locations, mostly in the Chicago area, as well as in Arizona and California, but you can order some items online. Like the other winners on this list, its food quality, politeness of staff, and cleanliness of its dining areas stood out.

2. Papa Murphy's Take N'Bake Pizza

Papa Murphy’s, which ranks as the best pizza fast food restaurant in the country in this list, is actually a take-and-bake pizzeria. Customers order their pizza in the store but take it home to bake, reducing the restaurant’s costs significantly. The company, which has more than 1,400 locations in the U.S., went public in May, and is noted for the quality of its food, politeness of its staff, and the speed of its service.  

1. In-N-Out Burger

One of the cruelest April Fool’s jokes to New Yorkers a few years ago was the announcement by an anonymous prankster that In-N-Out Burger was going to open a location in the Big Apple. The top burger chain in the country, however, actually wants to remain small and confines itself to the West Coast. The quality of its food helped it win this highly coveted spot. 

What's your favourite American fast-food pit-stop?

Image Source via: Wildfox Couture

WORDS BY:  Pauline Morrissey

Pauline is the Lead Editor for LOVE & LIST. She clocks off by daydreaming about future escapades & having D&M's with wine in hand. She takes pride in both her appetite for organisation and her Nintendo 64 skills. Pauline describes her fuel for writing much like The Wizard of Oz; in search for more brain, courage & heart.