Taco Bell is one of the best-known fast food chains in the United States. Unlike McDonald’s and Burger King, which are strongly associated with burgers and fries, it offers a range of Mexican-inspired foods, including its namesake tacos, as well as burritos, quesadillas, and nachos, and various hybrids with proprietary names. It has more than 7,500 outlets across the country. (For something more authentic, consider the best hidden gem Mexican restaurant in every state.)
To determine which states have the most Taco Bells, both total and per capita, 24/7 Tempo reviewed data collected by NiceRx, a patient assistance program and medication access company, using numbers for total fast-food restaurants taken from the U.S. Census Bureau and tracking the nation’s ten most popular chains as determined by ScrapeHero.com. (Population figures are five-year estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey.) We then ranked the states by their per capita Taco Bell population per 100,000 residents, lowest to highest. Ties were broken using the total number of Taco Bell restaurants in the state.
Five states tied for the title of Taco Bell capital of America in terms of per capita number of units: Tennessee, West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, and Arkansas. Like McDonald’s and Burger King, the chain obviously has a strong presence in the South. And while West Virginia may be an outlier in terms of geography, it seems to attract fast food chains of every brand. (These are the most successful restaurant chains in America.)
Vermont, on the other hand, has the fewest Taco Bells, both per capita (with just 0.8 per 100,000 people) and in total. It’s not very hospitable to big corporations, and the state capital of Montpelier boasts about not being home to any fast food chains. Massachusetts and New York come next on the list, with just one Taco Bell per 100,000 people. A trend is evident in our rankings for this and other chains — big in the South, not so big in the Northeast.
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