Fast food is a mass -produced food that is typically prepared and served quicker than traditional foods. The food is typically less nutritionally valuable compared to other foods and dishes. While any meal with low preparation time can be considered fast food , typically the term refers to food sold in a restaurant or store with frozen, preheated or precooked ingredients, and served to the customer in a packaged form for take-out/take-away.
Fast food restaurants are traditionally distinguished by their ability to serve food via a drive-through. Outlets may be stands or kiosks, which may provide no shelter or seating, or fast food restaurants (also known as quick service restaurants). Franchise operations that are part of restaurant chains have standardized foodstuffs shipped to each restaurant from central locations.
Fast food began with the first fish and chip shops in Britain in the 1860s. Drive-through restaurants were first popularized in the 1950s in the United States . The term "fast food " was recognized in a dictionary by Merriam–Webster in 1951 .
Eating fast food has been linked to, among other things, colorectal cancer , obesity, high cholesterol, and depression.