Special Report

The Most Popular Fast Food Chain in Every State

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Almost everybody in the U.S. eats fast food at least once in a while, and some consume it a lot more often than that. According to industry estimates, at least 30% of Americans (children included) eat fast food daily – and a staggering 83% of families in this country eat it at least once a week, either in a restaurant or in takeout form. (It turns out that Americans are clueless about how many calories are actually in their fast food.)

As with just about any other food preference, however, the specifics vary from state to state. In some places, regional chains are preferred. Nebraska’s favorite is Runza, founded in the capital city of Lincoln and specializing in the Eastern European dough pockets of that name (also called bierocks), filled with various combinations of meat and other ingredients. In Texas, the state’s own Whataburger is held in the highest repute. Other states stay with the tried-and-true giants (you know their names).

To determine the most popular fast food chain in every state, 24/7 Tempo reviewed research conducted by the International Drivers Association, a Singapore-based source for international driving permits, based on Google search data the organization collected from Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs. Search numbers are rounded off.

Click here to see the most popular fast food chain in every state

Many state-by-state lists of most popular chains list only a handful of brands – big ones like McDonald’s, Dunkin’, and Chick-fil-A. Surprisingly, McDonald’s – like such other massive quick-service giants as KFC, Taco Bell, and Starbucks – appears only once on this list. Dunkin’ wins out with four mentions in all, followed by Chick-fil-A and Culver’s with three each, and In-N-Out Burger, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, and Bojangles’ with two apiece. All the rest can claim primacy in only one state. (See where these place on our list of the most successful restaurant chains in America.)

Alabama
> Chain: Church’s Chicken
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.4 million

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Source: Wolterk / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Alaska
> Chain: Sonic Drive-In
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 800,000

Arizona
> Chain: In-N-Out Burger
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.2 million

Arkansas
> Chain: Chick-fil-A
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1 million

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California
> Chain: Taco Bell
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 7 million

Colorado
> Chain: Culver’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.5 million

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Source: Manuel Milan / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Connecticut
> Chain: Five Guys
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.3 million

Source: jetcityimage / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Delaware
> Chain: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 600,000

Florida
> Chain: McDonald’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 8 million

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Source: SeanPavonePhoto / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Georgia
> Chain: Waffle House
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.5 million

Source: Cn0ra / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Hawaii
> Chain: Jolibee
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 900,000

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Idaho
> Chain: Jack in the Box
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 850,000

Illinois
> Chain: Portillo’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 3 million

Source: Wolterk / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Indiana
> Chain: Steak ‘n Shake
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.7 million

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Iowa
> Chain: Pizza Ranch
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.2 million

Source: krblokhin / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Kansas
> Chain: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1 million

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Source: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images News via Getty Images

Kentucky
> Chain: KFC
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.3 million

Louisiana
> Chain: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.1 million

Source: tupungato / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Maine
> Chain: Dunkin’
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 700,000

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Source: Wolterk / iStock EditWorial via Getty Images

Maryland
> Chain: Chick-fil-A
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.6 million

Source: New_Folder / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Massachusetts
> Chain: Dunkin’
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 3.2 million

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Source: jetcityimage / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Michigan
> Chain: Little Caesars
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.4 million

Source: sanfel / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Minnesota
> Chain: Dairy Queen
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2 million

Source: J. Michael Jones / Getty Images

Mississippi
> Chain: Zaxby’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 900,000

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Source: RiverNorthPhotography / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Missouri
> Chain: Panera Bread
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.8 million

Source: RiverNorthPhotography / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Montana
> Chain: Wendy’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 750,000

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Source: Courtesy of Runza Restaurants

Nebraska
> Chain: Runza
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 800,000

Source: MichaelGordon1 / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Nevada
> Chain: In-N-Out Burger
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.7 million

Source: LordRunar / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

New Hampshire
> Chain: Dunkin’
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 600,000

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New Jersey
> Chain: White Castle
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.1 million

New Mexico
> Chain: Blake’s Lotaburger
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 700,000

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Source: mizoula / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

New York
> Chain: Shake Shack
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 6.5 million

Source: J. Michael Jones / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

North Carolina
> Chain: Bojangles’
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.3 million

Source: Wolterk / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

North Dakota
> Chain: Taco John’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 400,000

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Ohio
> Chain: Skyline Chili
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2 million

Oklahoma
> Chain: Braum’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.5 million

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Source: Juanmonino / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Oregon
> Chain: Dutch Bros. Coffee
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.6 million

Source: Roman Tiraspolsky / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Pennsylvania
> Chain: Wawa
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 4 million

Source: alvarobueno / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Rhode Island
> Chain: Dunkin’
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 600,000

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Source: hapabapa / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

South Carolina
> Chain: Bojangles’
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.4 million

South Dakota
> Chain: Culver’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 500,000

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Source: PaulMcKinnon / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Tennessee
> Chain: Krystal
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.6 million

Source: typhoonski / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Texas
> Chain: Whataburger
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 7 million

Utah
> Chain: Cafe Rio
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1 million

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Source: EnchantedFairy / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Vermont
> Chain: Ben & Jerry’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 400,000

Virginia
> Chain: Chick-fil-A
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.1 million

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Source: martinrlee / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Washington
> Chain: Starbucks
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 3 million

Source: KathyDewar / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

West Virginia
> Chain: Krispy Kreme
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 1.2 million

Wisconsin
> Chain: Culver’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 2.5 million

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Source: RiverNorthPhotography / iStock Unreleased via Getty Images

Wyoming
> Chain: Arby’s
> Google searches (July 2022-June 2023): 450,000

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