New Study Claiming Chick-fil-A Is Most Popular Fast Food Chain Might Not Be Everything You Think It Is

A new study attempting to determine the most popular fast food restaurant in each state concluded that Chik-Fil-A is the preferred spot for Americans. However, the internet pointed out that this may not be accurate.

Business Insider shared a map of the most popular fast food restaurants and there were some noticeably suspicious results. For example, Raising Cane's was more popular in California than in its home state of Louisiana. Also, Chik-Fil-A won in Pennsylvania over Wawa.

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The first problem with the study was that it was based on Foursquare data. While the app may be a popular social network, it still only has about 50 to 60 million users, according to Uproxx. Using this app to a degree also means that the data was derived from a "self-selected" population meaning that these people not only downloaded Foursquare but also used it to "check in" locations.

"For the study, we looked at which chains received the most visits on average in every state based on the total number of visits to each chain divided by the number of locations in that state," Business Insider reported.

Not only is the test sample incomplete, but it's also front-loaded in several ways. For example, Chik-Fil-A has about 2,000 restaurants in the states, while there are over 14,000 McDonald's locations in the US alone.

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One of the examples that best illustrates the point is that in Texas, there are nearly 700 Whataburgers and 35 In-N-Outs. Because of the way the study was calculated, it was reported that In-N-Out was more popular. However, this is clearly not the case, considering the demand for Whataburger in Texas.


In summary, Chik-Fil-A is not necessarily the most popular fast food spot in the US. Rather it is a place that people are willing to tell their friends that they have gone there on their social networking apps.

Check out some of the internet reactions to learning what fast food restaurant was reported to be the most popular in their state below: