Southern California's car culture and the population's reliance on automobiles for transportation throughout California's vast cities, has widely contributed to the popularity of the classic drive-in and modern drive-thru restaurants. Restaurant chains such as McDonald's, Jack in the Box, In-N-Out Burger, Carl's Jr., Wienerschnitzel, Del Taco, Taco Bell, Panda Express, Original Tommy's, Fatburger, and Big Boy were all established in Southern California.
Regional fast food menus differ, generally depending on the ethnic composition of an area. In Southern California, smaller chains like The Hat feature hamburgers, Mexican food, chili fries, and pastrami.
While gastropubs are not unique in California, the concept of the gourmet burger is very popular.