The Most Popular Fast Food Chain in Every U.S. State: A Clear Winner Emerges

fast food chain

A study by Foursquare and Business Insider was recently conducted to find out which fast food chain was the most popular in each American state. The results were surprising, to say the least, and a validation of new trends in consumer habits.

Chick-fil-A dominated the study, which was based on the average amount of traffic across total locations for a particular chain in that state. A huge and unmistakable majority of the data pointed to the Atlanta, Georgia-based chicken sandwich maker as the leader in this space.

Why is Chick-fil-A so popular across America?

For one, Chick-fil-A retains ownership of every one of its restaurants despite offering a franchise model. It selects the location and builds it, and the franchise fee for an operator is only $10,000. And across the board, you’ll see that trend in the best-performing companies. Just look at Chipotle Mexican Grill. Before the food safety panic, CMG was averaging in excess of $2 million per restaurant every year. That’s because it had a lot more invested in its stores than if it had operated under a franchise model. in 2016, Chick-fil-A made an average of $4.8 million per restaurant.

Look at In-N-Out Burger as another perfect example of this. They own their stores, too. It does slow down store growth at times, but the company can better focus on quality initiatives and other efforts to keep the level of engagement high. And it shows.

But not franchising in a traditional way (read: the McDonald’s way) is just one of the reasons for Chick-fil-A’s success. The other major component is how the company positions its fare. And that positioning is very important.

McDonald’s also makes items that have meat between two pieces of bread, but the sandwich is generally seen as a much healthier option. Even within the chicken segment, Chick-fil-A is seen as a healthier option than KFC. It might be a question of perception, but in the consumer market, perception can make all the difference between a growing top line and a stagnant or declining one.

These and other factors have helped Chick-fil-A make it to the top of the list, at least in this study. There are a lot of things that other fast food chain restaurants can learn from this, among which are the fact that size and scale is not the most important thing – at least, not to a customer. That’s what $4.8 million per restaurant per year means.

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Primary source: Business Insider