Fast Food Australia and UK Compared

Last week I wrote an article called Winter in the UK and Summer in Australia Compared in which I mentioned we’d had a couple of very hot weekends lately. To cool down, we headed to the coast to catch some seabreeze.

It worked, we cooled down, but here’s another trick that works for us here when it gets very hot, I mean sticky hot. The irony of this trick is that I used to use it much more when I lived in the UK, but when the weather was cold and raining and there was nothing much else to do. It’s…

Going to a shopping mall

Westfield_KotaraAh, the air conditioning is just wonderful. The trick is to stick to the task of window shopping only, you are here to cool down, not spend money.

Yes, shopping malls in Australia or a great place to cool down.

We lived close to a couple of massive shopping malls in the UK, Lakeside and Bluewater, both indoors to protect from the rain and with some pretty good central heating for those cold winter days.

Yes, shopping malls in the UK, great place to warm up.

We’ve got some quite large shopping malls here in Brisbane as well, but I’m not going to talk about the actual shops today. If that disappoints, you can always get your shopping kicks from my post Ten Popular Retail Shops In Australia, but today I’m talking about…

Fast food

It’s been almost impossible to find a definitive top 10 fast food restaurants in Australia list and I had similar difficulty trying to pin one down for the UK.

Most lists appear to be worldwide, and all the names you would expect come to the fore:

  • McDonald’s
  • Subway
  • Starbucks
  • KFC
  • Pizza Hut
  • Burger King
  • Taco Bell
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Wendy’s
  • Greggs
  • Pret a Manger
  • Dunkin Donuts
  • Dairy Queen
  • Papa John’s

It’s a bit of a mishmash of a list, being both UK and worldwide at the same time. But what do we have here in Australia?

Fast food in Australia

Not all of the above fast food chains are here in Australia. Some tried and didn’t quite make it, a couple don’t appear to have tried at all:

  • Starbucks – they came, opened lots of stores, nobody liked their coffee, so they closed all their stores and went back home again.
  • Taco Bell – they gave it a try as well, but a legal battle prevented them from using their name, food didn’t go down that well either, so they also packed it in.
  • Wendy’s – same thing I think, gave Australia a try, didn’t work out. We do have a Wendy’s here, not the same company though, it’s hotdogs and ice cream, not burgers.
  • Greggs and Pret a Manger – not seen either here, ever. We do have sandwich bars in our food courts, but sandwiches here are usually made fresh to order, not prepacked in a see-through plastic triangle. You can get those from some petrol stations.
  • Dairy Queen – never seen one.
  • Papa John’s – we do have some, but not many, our main pizza stores are Pizza Hut, Eagle Boys, Domino’s and Pizza Capers.

What are Australia’s top 10 fast foods?

I found an interesting article on roymorganonlinestore which has now unfortunately been removed, but this is what they said.

According to research, they say that Australia’s top 10 most popular fast food restaurants are:

  1. Macdonald’s
  2. Fish and Chips
  3. KFC
  4. Asian
  5. Subway
  6. Hungry Jacks
  7. Domino’s Pizza
  8. Red Rooster
  9. Pizza Hut
  10. Eagle Boys Pizza

Hungry Jacks, for those who don’t know, is actually the Australian trade name for Burger King. Red Rooster, you won’t be surprised to hear, sells chicken.

What is so different about our list though is that “Fish and Chips” and “Asian”, neither of which are brand names or chains, have found themselves in second and fourth place.

Fish and chips need no explanation but I do want to give a special mention to our Asian food, simply because it is quite spectacular. For fast food, I really don’t think it can be beaten.

Here are four fast food Asian restaurants that both myself and Mrs Bob love here in Australia:

First up is Shiki. I’ve only ever seen one of these, it’s in the fast food court in Chermside, Brisbane. Who knows, maybe that’s the only place they have? But it’s food, it’s fast, it’s cheap and the extra spicy pad Thai I had from them the other week was top class…

ShikiFantAsia, on the other hand, definitely have more than one store. They have four. It’s a family run business and they opened their first restaurant in 2010 in Brisbane city centre and have since opened three more elsewhere around this city.

FantasiaNext, Hanaichi. They don’t have many outlets in Australia, 13 according to their website, but it’s Japanese fine food at fast food prices. This is Mrs Bob’s longtime favourite…

HanaichiFinally, Kofoo. Short for Korean food, again, I’ve only ever seen one Kofoo fast food restaurant, but according to their website they have four. Two in Brisbane and two in Sydney. I had some kind of hot chilli prawns in fresh vegetables with rice dish, it could have been food bought in a fancy restaurant.


KofooEach of the above Asian fast food restaurants sell a decent size plate of food for between $6.90 and $8.90.

What’s the point?

You may well ask “What’s the point? Why tell us about these places when there are so few of them?”

That’s just it though, there aren’t so few of them, there are thousands of them all with different names. That’s why the generic list I mentioned earlier put Asian food fourth on the list. Wherever you go, I’m sure you’ll find a fast food Asian outlet in the food court and I’ll bet the food is just great!

What’s your favourite fast food chain?

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{ 32 comments… add one }
  • John Russel June 27, 2019, 8:32 pm |

    No wonder people in the UK are so much less obese than us Australians, i mean since 1971 we have built 920( still operating) McDonald’s restaurants.

    • BobinOz July 2, 2019, 7:45 pm |

      Interesting fact though, the McCafe was invented here in Australia, it’s an add-on to McDonald’s restaurants and it’s like a coffee shop, and you can get toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches, that sort of thing. Read about it here…

      So maybe that’s why we have so many McDonald’s compared to say, the UK, which according to a quick Google only has 1200 restaurants even though it has three times the population of Australia.

      Not that much difference between the UK and Australia though, Australia is 27th in the obese table and the UK 33rd (out of 191 countries) and the difference is 29% versus 27.8%. The US take the biscuit though, if you’ll excuse the pun, they are in 12th position with 36.2% according to…

  • Param December 22, 2017, 11:00 pm |

    Nice Blog, I am Indian and Indian spicy and tasty foods are my favorite meal. You have shared very useful information on your blog. Thanks for sharing with us. If you love Indian spicy and tasty food then check out this

    • BobinOz December 24, 2017, 5:29 pm |

      I feel hungry all of a sudden 🙂

  • ifeetugga June 7, 2016, 12:01 am |

    Not surprised to see that Starbucks didn’t do well in Australia. In Canada, we prefer Timmy’s (that’s Tim Horton’s) rather than Starbucks. But of course, Starbucks still survives here..barely! Why this preference for Timmy’s? Well, I guess it’s not just the costs, but because it’s truly Canadian!
    I wonder how Timmy’s would do in Oz???

    • BobinOz June 7, 2016, 11:42 pm |

      Well, I think Starbucks were surprised they didn’t do well here as well 🙂

      I don’t know how Timmy’s would do either, but I bet they don’t risk it after what happened to Starbucks.

  • djmcbell September 25, 2015, 8:20 pm |

    I have found that, in Australia, the sizes of the portions of chips you get tend to be rather large. My parents, when they can’t be bothered cooking, just get a portion and dole them out.

    I was over there earlier this year (with wife and son) and went to Sorrento. Found a chippy and ordered two burgers (one each for me and my wife), two portions of chips and a portion of chips / chicken nuggets for my son. The portions were so huge that, whilst we finished the burgers, we probably only needed the chips / chicken nuggets between us.

    Definitely go back there again – absolute bargain!

    • BobinOz September 27, 2015, 8:46 pm |

      Yes, I agree, the chip portions are too big really. I never finish mine.

  • phil June 25, 2015, 3:55 pm |

    yes…sounds good …here in usa its mc donalds…

  • Lilly June 25, 2015, 4:20 am |

    There’s nothing like Fresh Fish & Chips in a small country town . They are the best

    • Lilly June 25, 2015, 4:21 am |

      In Australia , I forgot to add

  • phil August 19, 2014, 2:14 pm |

    ha ha…yes..yes yes….exactly you hit the nail on the head….

    right to one of the main points….of how we people want to live…….

    given the choice i choose warm…here in Arizona the high temperature will be
    40.5556 Celsius…..I would rather be here than Alaska….but Canada and Alaska are green …and that is nice

  • phil August 18, 2014, 10:13 am |

    Yes. Australia sounds great…Canada too….If i cant more there my boys might later.

    thanks bob…have a good one

    • BobinOz August 18, 2014, 9:28 pm |

      Yes, both very good countries, but one hot and one cold 🙂

  • V Sharma August 18, 2014, 8:32 am |

    I read ur blog on almost keeping in touch basis as I might move in next few years. I find It a great site with very useful information. Do appreciate ur effort and dedication. Well done and thanks.

    • BobinOz August 18, 2014, 9:27 pm |

      Thanks V Sharma, glad you like my website and I appreciate you taking the time to let me know you appreciate it. Good luck, I hope your possible move works out well for you.

  • Adrian February 25, 2014, 8:13 am |

    Bob, next time you could open a post about Fast food prices in Australia vs UK using the regular values and also according to the hard yakka!

    At least not all the fast food chains but the main ones, it would be interesting 🙂

  • djmcbell February 25, 2014, 12:24 am |

    I would kill (okay, probably not) for the American Wendy’s to come back to the UK. Absolutely love their frosties. Dominoes here in the UK I would actually use if their pizzas weren’t about £10 for a small cheese and tomato (they don’t actually tell you the size, just the amount of slices – so who knows how big a “medium 12-slice” pizza is).

    • BobinOz February 25, 2014, 3:41 pm |

      Wendy’s showed up in the UK and failed there too? Looks like you’ll have to go to the US for those frosties. That’s an expensive Domino’s pizza, I think you can get them here for $8 to about a maximum of $15 for a decent sized pizza.

      • djmcbell February 25, 2014, 10:11 pm |

        Just having a look at Domino’s website – cheese & tomato, personal £3.99, small £7.99, medium £9.99, large £11.99. There’s different people with different answers as to how big that actually is, but it seems the medium is about 12 inches.

        There’s a lot of other places that do pizza, but they’re mostly the places that also do curry, kebabs, burgers and subs in the same place – hence they mostly taste all exactly the same, and that’s not really that good.

        • BobinOz February 26, 2014, 2:38 pm |

          I saw a news clip on the TV just the other week, it was talking about pizzas and apparently when they first came out in Australia back in the 80s or 90s or something, they were regarded as a bit of a fancy meal and therefore cost $20 a pop.

          How times have changed.

          Yes, I think a medium is very close to 12 inches.

          • phil grieves March 1, 2014, 5:00 pm |

            Wow, I guess MacDonald’s is everywhere

            • BobinOz March 1, 2014, 11:33 pm |

              Pretty much.

            • djmcbell September 25, 2015, 8:16 pm |

              I was in Dubai a few years ago and noticed a McDonalds which had another McDonalds right next door to it.

              (and no, it wasn’t the same store, they were separated by a what looked like an alleyway – a gap of probably a few metres between the two)

              • BobinOz September 27, 2015, 8:44 pm |

                Too confusing, I’d go for a hot dog somewhere else instead 🙂

  • emily February 25, 2014, 12:11 am |

    Sorry I have to have a rant about KFC in Oz or anywhere. They take old battery chickens that are not even healthy enough for the supermarket. Sell them cheap to KFC: then coat them and sell them cheap: as in a bucket for 2 , 4, 6, 12.You get what you pay for.
    Why do you think it is cheap ? Because its crap.
    Eat chicken but not non organic chicken. In a way know the chook you eat.
    Know the people that have the chooks and eggs.
    End of rant.

    • BobinOz February 25, 2014, 2:59 pm |

      Not a big KFC fan then Emily? 🙂 Sushi is good here, another Mrs Bob fav.

    • djmcbell September 25, 2015, 8:14 pm |

      Well, I replied to your previous post so I’ll reply here.

      As I said, I do like KFC food. However, I am aware that the chicken is not the best quality (and that’s putting it mildly) and have seen animal rights activists protesting outside KFC before, which does make me uneasy. Not the activists’ fault, of course, more sort of me trying to think through decisions to eat there.

      • BobinOz September 27, 2015, 8:42 pm |

        Funnily enough I used to eat the zinger tower burgers in the UK, but I’ve not eaten a KFC for about five or six years now. I’ve heard too many things I don’t like the sound of, and as they say, there’s no smoke without fire.

        I now have a no KFC, no Burger King (called Happy Jacks here or something) and no Maccas. Kebabs, anything Asian, Chinese or Indian and Nandos get my nod.

  • emily February 24, 2014, 11:59 pm |

    Wow ! No Taste or Judgment here but : in the order of Crap its probably Maccas, followed by KFC then all the others. The noodle, suucchi being possibly the best. xx

    • djmcbell September 25, 2015, 8:12 pm |

      Strangely, I love KFC – at least here in the UK. The fries are rubbish, but I love zinger tower burgers (for those who don’t know, it’s a nice chicken burger with a hash brown and spicy sauce).

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