Saturday 30 September 2023

The Most Successful U.S. Fast-food In Costa Rica

The 'soda' is the Costa Rican version of the fast-food restaurant

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QSR Magazine just released its annual ranking of the top fast-food chains in the US, ranked by US systemwide sales in 2016.

Of the top 50 ranked by QSR, 12 have operations in Costa Rica.

Papa John’s

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Papa John’s arrived in Costa Rica in 2000 and currently operates 22 restaurants, the majority in the Central Valley.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $3.01 billion
Why it’s hot: The pizza chain promises the best and freshest ingredients in every pie.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Popeyes has stores in Curridabat, San José, Escazú, Heredia and Alajuela and in the food courts of Mall San Pedro and Lincoln Plaza.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $3.1 billion
Why it’s hot: The chicken chain is willing to think outside the box, introducing fried chicken tenders coated in a shortbread cookie breading to the menu in June.

Little Caesars

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One location in Costa Rica, in Paseo de las Flores Mall, Heredia

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $3.5 billion
Why it’s hot: The dough is made fresh every day, while the cheese is grated fresh and never frozen! Pizza sauce is world famous and contains a secret blend of condiments that customers love.

Dairy Queen

Three locations in Costa Rica: Paseo de las Flores, in Heredia; Curridabat; and Multiplaza, Escazu.

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2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $3.6 billion
Why it’s hot: The chain is famous for its Blizzards, a soft-serve treat with mix-ins like Oreos and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that is served upside down to highlight the thickness of the ice cream.

Carl’s Jr.

With 8 restaurants in the country, Carl’s Jr. offers an alternative to the clown and king.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $3.8 billion
Why it’s hot: Carl’s Jr. achieved advertising fame – and infamy – with its racy ads starring scantily clad women. In 2016, Hayden Panettiere starred in a series of the chains’ commercials, seductively eating a burger.


Landing in Costa Rica in 1969, KFC is tops when it comes to fried chicken. KFC locations in Costa Rica are everywhere.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $4.5 billion
Why it’s hot: KFC has made a comeback over the past two years with the return of Colonel Sanders in marketing, and it launched an effort to improve its food quality. In Costa Rica, it offers a homegrown taste


Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut, in 1972, opened its first store in Costa Rica and Central America, located in downtown San Jose, across from the Banco de Costa Rica. In 1988, the Red Roof appears on Paseo Colon. Last December, the chain opened its 60th restaurant in the country, in Multiplaza Escazu. The menu of Pizza Hut has a lot of delicious pizzas that people love a lot

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $5.8 billion
Why it’s hot: Pizza Hut’s sales have been slipping in the US recently, but its parent company, Yum Brands, is planning a massive $130 million investment to upgrade restaurant equipment and technology and boost advertising through 2018.

Taco Bell

In Costa Rica, there are currently 13 Taco Bell stores. Thought the chain is big in the US, in Costa Rica it continues to struggle for a share of the market.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $9.4 billion
Why it’s hot: Taco Bell is always coming up with new ways to target millennials.

Burger King

With a tranished crown for more than a year due to squabbles betwen US corporate and the local franchisee, Burger King in Costa Rica, under a new franchisee is looking to make a comeback. Currently there are only nine locations in the kingdom: Parque de la Paz, Novacentro, Liberia, EPA Tibás, Terrazas Lindora, Multiplaza Escazú, Plaza América, Tibás and San José Centro on  Avenida Segunda. We can expect more soon.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $9.7 billion
Why it’s hot: Burger King has been on a tear with limited-time menu items lately, and it’s seeing massive success rolling out bizarre treats like Chicken Fries and Mac N’ Cheetos.


There is Subway pretty much wherever there area people. Though the majority are located in the Central Valley, a Subway can be found in places like Liberia, Tamarindo, Jaco and Limon. The first Subway was served in Costa Rica in 1995, in Los Yoses, in San Pedro.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $11.3 billion
Why it’s hot: Subway is the biggest fast-food chain in the world by locations. It’s continuously expanding across the globe and has started making its menu healthier in recent years, which is helping to attract customers.


Starbucks locations in Costa Rica is now at ten.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $14.8 billion
Why it’s hot: Starbucks has been investing in high-end roasteries to fix its “basic” image problem, and it’s generating tons of buzz with limited-time drinks like the Unicorn Frappuccino


McDonald’s in Costa Rica is part of Arcos Dorados, the McDonald’s largest restaurant operator in Latin America and the Caribbean and its largest franchisee in the world.

2016 U.S. systemwide sales: $36.4 billion
Why it’s hot: McDonald’s has been winning over customers by overhauling its menu and adding all-day breakfast, as well as new versions of the Big Mac and a fancy line of “Signature Crafted” sandwiches.


Have your say…

How may times a week or month (or day?) do you eat at U.S. fast-food joint? And which do you consider the best? Post your comments below or to our official Facebook page.

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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