In Europe I'm a big fan of Vapiano restaurants. If you haven't heard of them, their concept is to combine the high(er) quality food of a regular restaurant with the self-service model of a buffet. This gets you your food faster and you don't have to tip anyone, which is especially important for North America where tips are around 15-20%.
But how do I search for such upper scale self-service places? A search for "fast food" usually returns McDonalds and Burger King, while a search for "self service restaurant" usually returns buffets which are a different concept. Or perhaps there's a website listing down chains like Vapiano, so that you could at least search for those chains while traveling?