Fast food is food prepared and served quickly at a fast-food restaurant or shop at low cost. Fast food is a multi-billion dollar industry which is continuing to grow at a rapid pace in the early 21st century in many countries as fewer people cook at home.
Fast food is often highly processed and prepared in an industrial fashion, i.e., with standard ingredients and methodical cooking and production methods. It is served usually in cartons or bags in a rapid manner in order to minimize costs. Fast food outlets often provide take-away or take-out food in addition to a sit-down service. Drive-throughs allow food to be ordered and delivered without leaving the car to further speed service.
Fast food is usually finger food that can be eaten quickly and without cutlery. Fast food often consists of fish and chips, sandwiches, pitas, hamburgers, breaded chicken, french fries, chicken nuggets, pizza or ice cream although many fast food restaurants offer some other less easily consumed choices like chili, mashed potatoes, or salads. Chinese cuisine, although often served as take-away, is not always considered fast food.