These are the Most Popular Fast Food Places in Each State. Notice Anything?

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Business Insider has published an interesting study on the most popular fast food restaurants in each of the 50 states based on social media check ins. The results are surprising. The list focuses on 2016 and includes many of the usual suspects, but some surprising ones as well. You’re out there in the real world, with your boots on the proverbial ground. Do these results ring true? And what do the choices say about us?


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Those on the west coast likely know the joys of an In-N-Out Burger. Those are good burgers, Walter:

  • California
  • Utah
  • Arizona
  • Nevada


McDonald’s has a firm grip on the north east. This isn’t surprising, as McDonald’s is, by far, the most established in this list.


Here are the states where the golden arches dominate:

  • Delaware
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Michigan
  • New York
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Maine
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Idaho
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Alaska
  • Kansas


Chick-Fil-A has grown in popularity and now has a massive hold on the south (and some not-so-southern, very cattle-ranch heavy areas, too).


And they are closed on Sunday. They’re killing it with only 6 business days a week:

  • Colorado
  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Oklahoma
  • Texas
  • Iowa
  • Missouri
  • Maryland
  • West Virginia
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • South Carolina
  • North Carolina
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia


While most of the country goes for the predictability offered by a known commodity, there is hope for the mom-and-pops and the start-ups that don’t look to global domination as a business strategy.


Washington — Dick’s Drive-In


Oregon — Burgerville

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New Mexico — Sonic (This is likely due to Sonic’s willingness to invest in rural development and small towns. There aren’t many massive population centers in the state.)


Wisconsin — Culver’s


New Jersey — Wendy’s (This is an odd appearance for Wendy’s, which is struggling for market share. What does it say about the Garden State?)


Hawaii — Zippy’s Makiki


These choices are very interesting. In-N-Out is known for their great food and great employment practices. McDonald’s is the innovator of the franchise model. Chick-Fil-A has a very strong religious identity.


Though 2016 looks like a year when America has dominated the news cycle, a global perspective on fast food might be even more informative. What would the most popular restaurants be on a country-by-country basis?