They may not always admit it, but apparently almost everybody in this country eats fast food at least once in a while – and some consume it a lot more often than that. About a third of Americans (children included) eat fast food every day, industry sources say, and statistics suggest that a staggering 83% of American families eat fast food (in a restaurant or takeout) at least once a week.
The assembly-line fare these places serve, often made with ingredients of marginal quality and almost always overloaded with sodium and saturated fat, is hardly healthy. Regular consumption of burgers, fried chicken, tacos, and other staples of the genre has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and even depression. (These are the unhealthiest items at the most popular fast food chains.)
On the other hand, sometimes people just have a hard time resisting a Big Mac, a bucket of Kentucky Fried Wings, or a Crunchwrap Supreme, and it probably won’t do them much damage as long as it’s just an occasional thing.
As with just about anything else, however, the specifics of what kind of fast food people prefer varies from state to state.
To determine the most popular fast food chain in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed “Most Popular Fast Food by State,” published by Top Data, part of the international branding, marketing, and public relations firm Top Agency. Top Data analyzed consumer tracking data as an indicator of visits to each chain’s locations in June 2022. Alaska and Hawaii did not have data.
The chain that is most popular in the highest number of states turns out to be Chick-fil-A, which holds the No. 1 spot in 10 states. Close behind is Smashburger, the favorite in eight states. Not surprisingly, the Southern California-based cult favorite In-N-Out Burger rules in its home state and three other states in the West.
Perhaps less expected is that Whataburger, founded in Corpus Christi and headquartered in San Antonio, isn’t the favorite in Texas – A&W is. Florida, however, loves Whataburger best. (These are he best burgers you can get at a fast food restaurant.)
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