Other fast food outlets, primarily the hamburger outlets (Mc Donald's, Burger King, etc.) use mass-produced pre-prepared ingredients (bagged buns & condiments, frozen beef patties, prewashed/sliced vegetables, etc.) but take great pains to point out to the customer that the "meat and potatoes" (hamburgers and french fries) are always cooked fresh (or at least relatively recently) and assembled "to order" (like at a diner).Although a vast variety of food can be "cooked fast", "fast food" is a commercial term limited 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.Travelers such as pilgrims en route to a holy site, were among the customers.
In the cities of Roman antiquity, much of the urban population living in insulae, multi-story apartment blocks, depended on food vendors for much of their meal; the Forum itself served as a marketplace where Romans could purchase baked goods and cured meats.
During the Middle Ages, large towns and major urban areas such as London and Paris supported numerous vendors that sold dishes such as pies, pasties, flans, waffles, wafers, pancakes and cooked meats.
Often this seafood was cooked directly on the quay or close by.
Harry Ramsden's fast food restaurant chain opened its first fish and chip shop in Guiseley, West Yorkshire in 1928.
As in Roman cities during antiquity, many of these establishments catered to those who did not have means to cook their own food, particularly single households.
Unlike richer town dwellers, many often could not afford housing with kitchen facilities and thus relied on fast food.
Since the Second World War, turkey has been used more frequently in fast food.
As automobiles became popular and more affordable following World War I, drive-in restaurants were introduced.
The concept of ready-cooked food for sale is closely connected with urban developments.
Homes in emerging cities often lacked adequate space or proper food preparation accouterments.