Fast Food – What’s Most The Most Likely Visited Restaurant in a Zip Code?

Updated 5/31/2012

As a follow-up to the blog Fast Food – Who Eat’s Where? many were curious as to the most popular fast food restaurant by zip code.  Although restaurants like McDonalds are very popular nationwide, they aren’t necessarily the most popular on a local level.  In fact, there are only a handful of zip codes in the United States where McDonalds is the most popular.  Rather, many local or regional chains are the more likely choice with consumers.

Taco Bell, Subway, Wendy’s, and KFC – though popular nationwide like McDonald’s are similarly less likely to be the restaurant of choice on a local level.  In fact, none of these chains are most likely to be visited at least once in the last six months in more than 10 zip codes, so they were not included in this map.  Rather, chains such as Hardees are more likely to be visited on a local level, as displayed above.  Captain D’s is very popular in the Midwest towards the east.  Panera is very popular on the eastern seaboard and Carl’s Jr is popular in California.

Part of what is interesting about this, is some chains are very popular in areas where they don’t have many restaurants – or maybe even any restaurants.  This can mean a couple of things.  First, people travel to other areas to frequent them – or always make sure they visit the restaurant when they are in nearby cities that have locations.  One example is Captain D’s in the Omaha, NE Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA).  There are no Captain D’s in the CBSA, but there are in nearby Kansas City, MO and other towns relatively close by.  It may also mean that people who live in one area and are part of the same tapestry segment as another area are more likely to visit a given restaurant, if available.  Therefore, although the restaurant isn’t in their area – they are likely to visit it if they are in an area where it does exist.

Captain D’s Index by Zip Code in Omaha CBSA

As shown in the map above, there are many zip codes on the outer part of the Omaha CBSA where consumers are big fans of Captain D’s.  These areas have a minimum index of 150 for Captain D’s.  This means are 1.5 times more likely (or greater) to have visited a Captain D’s in the last 6 months than the average American.  This information informs the owners of Captain D’s that this may be an area of opportunity to expand their restaurant chain.  Further analysis of locations is required to determine an optimal location, but this analysis can give a first pass to find new potential locations.

More information about Esri’s data can be found at www.esri.com/data or to learn more about Esri in general, go to www.esri.com.

3 thoughts on “Fast Food – What’s Most The Most Likely Visited Restaurant in a Zip Code?

  1. I live out side of Portland, OR, and was surprised at how much Hardee’s appeared in the area (bright blue). So surprised, in fact, that I went and looked at the locations for Hardee’s in the area on their website. They claim they don’t have any west of the Rockies. I think this map is incorrect.

    • Thank you for your comment. The index shows the likelihood for someone to visit the restaurant. Therefore, although there aren’t locations for Hardees in that area, the people who live there are likely to frequent one of them. That chain is the one they are most likely to visit. It indicates potential opportunity for a chain as one of the demographics the restaurant attracts lives in that area.

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