Fast food in Europe: franchise trends

Fastfood in Europa: franchisetrends

Structured in chains of several outlets spread across major urban centers, but also in smaller locations, fast-food restaurants in Europe are generally characterized by fairly high profitability and a certain practicality in the service offered to customers.

There are thousands of fast-food restaurants in Europe, and unsurprisingly the most famous is Mc Donald’s. But beyond the famous yellow “M”, fast food comes in all sorts of specialities through franchises that have in common the ability to develop rapidly and integrate new culinary trends with flexibility and extreme speed.

According to Statista, the total number of fast-food businesses in Europe in 2024 is estimated at 74,940.

London has the highest number of fast-food franchises in Europe, with a market share of 4% (2,973 fast-food companies). Bucharest comes second with 2,409 fast-food businesses (3%), followed by Manchester, which also has a large number of fast-food franchises: 1,151. These three provinces combined have a 9% market share of the European fast-food industry as a whole. With a market share of 5%, Paris is already a long way behind…

Europe’s largest Fast Food franchise is Mc Donald’s: to date, the famous brand has more than 1,000 restaurants in Germany and the UK, over 900 in France, over 300 in Italy and Spain, and over 200 in the Netherlands. Every day, 48 million people eat at McDonald’s, including 800,000 in France alone. Its “Big Mac”, fries and Happy Meal menus are famous the world over, but Mc Donald’s main characteristic is to aim for decentralization, while respecting local traditions.

But let’s also find out which are the biggest European franchises out there, and which stand out for their location, sales and reputation.

Quick (Belgium, France, Luxembourg)

This fast-food chain was founded in Belgium in 1971. Five decades later, over 400 restaurants have been opened. The menu is similar to that of a typical hamburger restaurant, but there are a few notable differences. Belgian-style fries are never too salty, as customers salt their orders themselves. The menu changes frequently and is known for offering specialties such as fried cheese nuggets and doughnuts.

Wimpy (United Kingdom)

Inspired by the Popeye character of the same name, Wimpy offers typical fast-food dishes, but with an English twist. Customers can order a traditional English breakfast (beans, tomatoes, eggs, bacon, sausage and toast) or a Big N Mighty, which includes a hamburger, hot dog, bacon and onion rings in the bun. Vegetarians and vegans can also find plenty of burger options.

Nordsee (Continental Europe)

This German-based seafood restaurant chain has over 400 franchises across Europe. Most Nordsee establishments are located in transport hubs and city centers. Customers can buy small bites like fish sandwiches, wraps and salads, or larger meals like fish and chips or sushi menus. They also sell fresh raw seafood. They often offer seasonal products such as shrimp with spinach risotto, salmon bagel and spargel in spring.

Telepizza (Spain, Poland and Portugal)

Founded in Madrid, the chain has over 1,400 pizzerias in nine countries. Renowned for the freshness of its dough and ingredients, Telepizza offers classic dishes, but is best known for its unique and original pizzas.

YO! Sushi (United Kingdom, Ireland)

If you can’t make it to Japan for sushi, stop by YO! Sushi on your next visit to the UK or Ireland. Chefs prepare fresh sushi and other tasty dishes in an open kitchen, then place them on a conveyor belt. Diners then pick up their favorite dishes as they pass their table or seat. Known for its fresh sushi and mouth-watering curries, YO! Sushi also offers furikake fries, succulent gyoza and chocolate mochi for dessert.

Supermac’s (Ireland)

With its stacked burgers and crispy fries, there’s something for everyone. Don’t miss out on their specialty fries, topped with curry and garlic, cheese and garlic or taco meat. Planning an impromptu informal dinner? Supermac’s also offers buckets of chicken and cocktail sausages.

Overview of new market trends

The foodservice sector has always been one of the most profitable, especially in France where culinary tradition is already well established, and is subject to constant innovation and trends. One of the most revolutionary trends, now firmly entrenched in global eating habits, is fast food.

From classic American-style fast food, with low-cost “junk food”, fast food has evolved considerably to arrive at today’s healthier formats, attentive to the origin and quality of raw materials, taking into account the health and dietary needs of all.

Entering the fast-food sector successfully is only possible if you intercept market trends correctly, anticipate them and offer customers the perfect combination of innovation, tasty and healthy food, convenient prices, speed of service and attractive environments.

France and Europe, and the franchising segment in particular, have also been among the promoters of new trends in the fast-food sector. So let’s take a look at some of today’s most innovative, original and successful fast-food niches.

Hamburgers 2.0

Hamburgers? Yes, but with meat from direct, controlled rearing and top-quality raw materials, with an emphasis on provenance, short distribution channels, organic produce and local excellence. The new fast-food outlets have reinvented the very concept of the sandwich, focusing on top-quality ingredients and excellent meat, all at moderate prices and with very fast service, worthy of the “fast-food” appellation.


Although they’re not new, sushi stores have become established and consolidated in the eating habits of Europeans, thanks to their quality proposals, controlled and extremely fresh ingredients, original and innovative recipes, but also traditional and healthy, as the Japanese tradition teaches us.

Typical country and regional dishes

Without realizing it, before the fast food craze arrived in Europe, fast food was already here. And it’s precisely from these typically local locations that new and original fast food franchise formats have sprung up, ready to spread nationwide and, why not, internationally.

In 2024, fast food built around local cuisine or even regional culinary traditions is still a constant and innovative trend. World cuisine, Asian, Thai, Mexican and Japanese dishes are increasingly reshaping the fast-food landscape in Europe.

Discover our franchises