Greatest Fast-Food Franchise Mascots of All-Time

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-TIme

A Look at the Beloved Characters from Your Favorite QSR Chains

When you think of fast-food franchises, burgers, fries and chicken nuggets may come to mind. But what about fast-food mascots? From the Taco Bell chihuahua and Colonel Sanders to Ronald McDonald, many of your favorite fast-food franchises have iconic, memorable mascots that are just as part of the brand as its food and drinks. In addition to humanizing a business, mascots can elicit positive reactions from customers and increase brand awareness. 

Below, we profile the greatest fast-food mascots of all-time to see why they’re so famous and beloved. 

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Blimpie Bear, Blimpie

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1986
Claim to fame: Blimpie Bear’s face could be seen in print ads dating back to 1986, according to Daily Meal. He started as a cartoon character and became a live mascot that wore a white shirt and green or striped shorts. 
Why we love him: Who doesn’t love an animal mascot and sandwiches? 

The King, Burger King

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1955
Claim to fame: The King lets kids know that Burger King is “Where Kids are King” and has been the face of the fast-food chain since 1955. Featured in commercials in the 1960s, Burger King tapped Fred Barton to be the “Marvelous Magical Burger King’‘ a decade later to keep up with McDonald’s characters, according to dailymeal.com.  
Why we love him: Despite comments about The King’s creepiness and the fact he was shelved in 2011 for a healthier ad campaign, The King is seemingly never going to be dethroned. He has made appearances in commercials in recent years and will likely remain a fixture at Burger King. 

Happy Star, Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1963
Claim to fame: The mascot saves people from a boring, monotonous breakfast, lunch and dinner. 
Why we love him: According to his LinkedIn page, Happy Star is fun to hang out with.  

Fudgie the Whale, Carvel  

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1977
Claim to fame: After first appearing as a whale-shaped cake for Father’s Day, Fudgie the Whale became larger than life as the brand’s mascot.
Why we love him: He’s relatable, funny and has even tried to take Mr. Mets’ job! 

Cows, Chick-fil-A 

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1995
Claim to fame: Chick-fil-A once had a mascot called Doodles, but then Holstein cows moo-ved into the top spot in the 1990s. The lovable cattle tell us to Eat Mor Chikin!”
Why we love them: While the cows are meant to be funny and sell chicken sandwiches, they actually spread a deeper message. In his inspirational book Eat Mor Chikin: Inspire More People, founder S. Truett Cathy states that the lesson from the cows is to take advantage of life’s opportunities. 

Chuck E. Cheese, Chuck E. Cheese 

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1977
Claim to fame: Chuck E. Cheese is a friendly, anthropomorphic mouse that looks to entertain the whole family. 
Why we love him: The lovable character makes children’s birthday parties fun with singing, pizza, and arcade games. 

Churchie the Chicken, Church’s Chicken

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1950s
Claim to fame: While the original Churchie was a human chef, it wasn’t until three decades later that Churchie became a giant chicken. According to mashed.com, this transformation seems to coincide with the release of the brand’s Church’s Big Sandwich in the 1980s.
Why we love him: He is a fun-loving chicken that makes people happy!

Curly Top, Dairy Queen

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1972
Claim to fame: While Dairy Queen has had several mascots over the years (Curly the Clown, Little Miss Dairy Queen, and Eskimo Girl), Curly Top was created to be an in-person mascot that looks like the ice cream franchise’s signature cone. 
Why we love him: We all scream for ice cream! 

The Noid, Domino’s Pizza

Year launched: 1986
Claim to fame: You can say that The Noid is an anti-mascot: he schemes to prevent Domino’s from delivering its pizza in 30 minutes or less!
Why we love him: The Noid is a nostalgic reminder of the ’80s and fast delivery times.

Fred the Baker, Dunkin’

Year launched: 1982
Claim to fame: Played by Michael Vale, the Fred the Baker character had the famous catchphrase “time to make the donuts.”
Why we love him: Dunkin’ customers trusted that Fred was working tirelessly to ensure they’d be able to get fresh, delicious donuts. 

Jack, Jack in the Box

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1994
Claim to fame: His large head and tendency to wear suits make him memorable and stand out from other fast-food mascots. 
Why we love him: Jack has an interesting backstory: He has a wife named Cricket, a job title (founder and CEO), a background in politics, and a rogue gene responsible for his large head!

Colonel Harland Sanders, KFC

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1950s
Claim to fame: While he didn’t serve in the military, KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders was given an honorary Kentucky Colonel status in 1936, and he dressed the part from then on. His signature white suit, black bow tie and shoes, and white hair and goatee made him the perfect living mascot for KFC. 
Why we love him: Sanders is a fun-loving, chicken eating guy who has attracted millions to KFC over the years. He made cameos in movies like “Blast Off Girls” and “Hell’s Bloody Devils,” making him a cultural icon. 

Little Caesar, Little Caesars 

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1959
Claim to fame: The lovable cartoon character has an iconic catchphrase: “Pizza, Pizza!” 
Why we love him: The toga wearing fast-food mascot elicits a sense of nostalgia and craving for pizza! 

Chef Marco, Marco’s Pizza

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: A trademark filing for the Chef Marco logo goes back to 1983.
Claim to fame: Founder Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco’s likeness was caricatured into this iconic logo that eventually became a live mascot. 
Why we love him: The iconic mascot is always smiling and in a good mood! 

Grimace, McDonald’s

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1972 
Claim to fame: The lovable purple blob originally started off as Evil Grimace who stole milkshakes. After scaring children, marketers changed his look and made him Ronald McDonald’s buddy.
Why we love him: Grimace is comical and child-like, delighting McDonald’s fans around the world. 

Ronald McDonald, McDonald’s

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1963
Claim to fame: Ronald McDonald was introduced in a commercial in 1963 as a fun-loving clown. Since then, he has become a fixture of the Golden Arches and was the first major McDonald’s character before the introduction of members of McDonaldland.  
Why we love him: Not only is he a major piece of nostalgia, but Ronald McDonald is the face of a charitable organization that helps sick children. At Ronald McDonald House Charities, children and their families are provided with support, resources and housing while traveling for medical treatment.

The Hamburglar, McDonald’s 

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1971
Claim to fame: The Hamburglar is one of McDonald’s most famous mascots and is known for stealing tasty hamburgers! His striped prison attire, fedora, red gloves and black mask also make him easily recognizable.  
Why we love him: He is a fun villain in the McDonald’s universe and makes a great Halloween costume. 

Frankie Man/Frankster, Nathan’s Famous

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1972
Claim to fame: First mentions of Frankie Man came in 1972 in the Daily News. Frankster made a comeback in 1992 when he was featured in the hot dog franchise’s signage and kid meals.
Why we love him: Frankster is a staple at the Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest and makes sure everyone has fun! 

Spongmonkeys, Quiznos

Year launched: 2004
Claim to fame: The rodent-like creatures debuted in an online video called “We Like the Moon,” which caught the attention of Quiznos’ marketers. 
Why we love them: Love them or hate them, they’re memorable! 

Chihuahua (Gidget), Taco Bell

Year launched: 1997
Claim to fame: The iconic dog has an incredibly simple yet catchy catchphrase: “Yo quiero Taco Bell.”
Why do we love her: Who doesn’t love dogs and fast-food?? A truly fun combination. 

Melinda Lou, Wendy’s 

Alt. text: Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1970s
Claim to fame: Melinda Lou is the daughter of Wendy’s founder, Dave Thomas. 
Why we love her: This mascot captures our hearts because it’s based on a father’s love for his daughter. While she dressed the part of Wendy with pigtails and a blue and white dress, Wendy has primarily lived as a drawing. The imagery has stayed the same for five decades, but Wendy’s red locks went gray in Canada after a female journalist lost her job for not dying her hair. She even went emo in London! 

Whataguy, Whatburger

Greatest Fast-Food Mascots of All-Time

Year launched: 1999
Claim to fame: When first introduced, Whataguy was on kids’ meal bags and a games site. 
Why we love him: Since he’s the ambassador for Whataburger Feeding Student Success, he adds fun to sporting and restaurant events.

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Haley Cafarella is a passionate journalist and writer for IFPG. In her role as content and marketing specialist, she creates original articles for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine. Her specialties include educational articles about buying a franchise and franchise consulting. She also reports on franchise professionals who were recently promoted or hired through FranchiseWire’s popular HireWire series.

Haley has contributed to a variety of regional publications, including Quo Vadis, New Brunswick Today, and the Trenton Monitor. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers University.
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