Food Politics + Justice

Published on October 8th, 2013 | by Jennifer Kaplan


The Two Best Fast Food Chains In America

best fast food

In-N-Out Burger and Moo Cluck Moo are two of the best fast food chains in America because they use high quality ingredients and they are doing the right thing by their employees.

Quality ingredients may be the most important thing you look for in a fast food joint. But what else makes a company qualify as a best fast food chain? Worker wages and benefits for one. Fast food chains are notorious for their unreasonable wages. But, not all of them.

Best Fast Food Chain: In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger, which operates in Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and Texas, has honest to goodness groupies. When we moved to California three years ago it was one of the first things people started talking out. Reasonable prices, high quality ingredients, the not-so-secret menu. According to their website, their burgers are made from 100% high-quality beef chucks that are “free of additives, fillers and preservatives of any kind.”  All their ingredients are delivered directly because the stores don’t have microwaves, heat lamps, or freezers. And In-N-Out french fries are individually cut in the stores, then cooked in 100% pure vegetable oil. Their shakes are made with real ice cream.

What is less known is that In-N-Out starts all their new Associates at a minimum of $10.50 an hour (well above the minimum wage in all the states  in which they operate). And their commitment to a higher starting wage is just one of the ways in which In-N-Out treats their employees well. They also offer excellent part-time and full-time benefits like flexible schedules to accommodate school and other activities, paid vacations, free meals, comprehensive training, and a 401k plan.

Best Fast Food Chain: Moo Cluck Moo

Moo Cluck Moo made national news when it raised its starting wage to $15.oo an hour on October 1st. The owners argue that its not only possible but its “the right thing to do.”

But treating workers well is not the only thing Moo Cluck Moo appears to be doing right. Their menu is filled with all natural (in the way that all natural is really meant to be used!) sustainably sourced goodies like fresh (never frozen) beef sourced from “cattle [that] are raised humanely and fed a 100% vegetarian diet and never given any form of antibiotics or growth hormones”; ​100% fresh chicken breasts “with no tenders, rib meat or fillers used…All chickens are processed without antibiotics or hormones and fed a 100% vegetarian, grain based diet”; buttermilk (for fried chicken), ice cream and milk that are are sourced from a local dairy farm that feed their cows “a high quality, home grown forage and grain diet without any bovine growth hormones (BGH) and with lots of tender loving care added.” They also serve cheese made from milk free of hormones, antibiotics, animal by-products, fillers, additives or binders. Their veggies are pesticide free and local when available in-season. They use Berkshire Bacon that is acorn fed, 100% Berkshire heirloom pork and comes from a co-op of 30 Midwest farm families committed to practicing humane, ecological and sustainable farming practices (Pigs are raised in open, unconfined spaces, fed a 100% vegetarian diet and are never given antibiotics or hormones for growth.) Even their mustard, ketchup and mayonaise are made naturally without preservatives.

Although they Moo Cluck Moo currently operates only one store in Southfield, Michigan they are planning on expanding to other parts of the country soon.

Moo Cluck Moo chicken sandwich photo by Kate Manley Photography

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About the Author

is a former marketing consultant who decided, at the age of fifty, to turn her hand to creative non-fiction. Jennifer continues to write about sustainable food and wine, the intersection of food and marketing and food politics for and is the author of Greening Your Small Business (November 2009, Penguin Group (USA)). She was named one of The 16 Women You Must Follow on Twitter for Green Business. She has four kids, a dog, a hamster and an MBA - follow her on and .

5 Responses to The Two Best Fast Food Chains In America

  1. Jo Borrás says:

    In-n-Out is overrated. Whataburger. That’s where it’s at.

  2. I don’t know what the vegan options are at these places, but I love, love, love that they are treating their workers well. I’m not crazy about fast food, but I AM crazy about a living wage for all workers!

  3. Pingback: Lastest Diet Foods Recipe News |

  4. Mark Knight says:

    It’s strange. Living outside of the US, I haven’t heard of either of these two fast food outlets. One of the fastest growing in the UK is Subway. How do they do in America?


  5. Pingback: Eat Drink Better | Healthy recipes, good food: sustainable eats for a healthy lifestyle!

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